Astronomical League conventions provide an opportunity for amateur astronomers all over the country to gather together to learn and exchange ideas, techniques, and opnions on astronomy. All of our conventions provide professional astronomers to address the attendees about their field of expertise. This allows the amateur to learn about the latest discoveries in astronomy directly from the astronomers making the discoveries.
Our national conventions, called ALCons (Astronomical League CONventionS) usually take place over a four-day period starting on Wednesday and ending in an awards banquet on Saturday. There are lectures scheduled throughout the event for those interested in astronomy from the beginner to the advanced amateur. There are often parts of the schedule that are geared specifically for the general public. Please check the various convention pages for further information.
The ALCons often include tours to astronomical facilities located near the convention site. We frequently visit local observatories, university facilities, NASA centers, and many other astronomically-related sites. ALCon attendees have visted the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (Pasadena, CA), the Meteorite Lab at Washington University (St. Louis, MO), Mt. Evans Observatory (the highest in the world, Copper Mountain, CO), Dearborn Observatory (Evanston, IL), Kitt Peak (Tucson, AZ), Yerkes Observatory (Williams Bay, WI) , Linda Hall Library (antique astronomy books, including William Herschel's journal documenting the discovery of Uranus, Kansas City, MO) and many, many more. Most of these tours were specially designed for amateur astronomers.
Observing in the evening is usually available whether you bring your own telescope or use someone else's telescope. You can observe all night if you want, but you will probably sleep through the morning papers sessions!
We also try to schedule our ALCons where there will be activities for the non-astronomers in the family. There are frequently tours scheduled to attractions for the non-astronomer. With the ALCon staring on Wednesday, there is plenty of time to visit nearby places of interest before coming to the convention, or you can just relax and enjoy the local accomodations
We hope to see you at our next ALCon! It will be fun and informative!