NCRAL 2023 - Activities

Check in will be on Friday from 4:00 - 8:00 PM (2nd floor mezzanine off main lobby) and again on Saturday from 8:00 AM to 12:00 PM (near the entrance of the ballroom). At check-in you will confirm your registration and pick up your nametag and registration packet.
Complimentary drink tickets for the Friday evening reception are in your registration packet, so be sure to check in early.

Observing Sessions:
The TCAA will have several telescopes for viewing the heavens in the main parking lot on Friday - cloudless sky prevailing. In the afternoon (4-5 PM), we will have solar viewing with white-light and Hα telescopes. In the evening (9-10 PM), we will have celestial viewing.

Friday Evening Reception:
An informal reception will be held on the Mezzanine Level of the Resort (off the main lobby) on Friday evening from 7:00 - 9:00 PM. There will be hors d'oeuvres and two complimentary bar drinks (e.g. soda, beer, mixed drinks) per registrant. This will be a wonderful time to meet new people, renew old friendships, and socialize.

White Elephant Sale:
This unsupervised activity will take place during the Friday evening reception. It's an opportunity sell or swap unwanted items of astronomical interest. Each person will be responsible for supervising and selling his or her own items.

Give-Away Table:
Probably all of us have astronomical items of worth that we don't want to sell and would rather give away to whomever might be interested. This will be your opportunity to declutter by setting out items for others to take. Takes place during Friday evening reception.

Note: Should you or your club want to set up a display showing something of interest during the Friday evening reception, display space will be provided in the 2nd floor mezzanine.

The program will be available both in hard copy and electronically during the convention. It can be found on the program page.

Meals consist of a Saturday luncheon and banquet dinner. (Details to follow.) Meals are included in registrations completed online by the stated early bird and standard deadlines. Due to the need to prepare, meals will not be available for those who register after the regular deadline or on site. See the various deadlines in the registration section below.

Saturday Breaks:
All registrants are free to participate in Saturday morning and afternoon breaks. Breaks will be 30 minutes long and include food and drink as well as distribution of door prizes.

Solar Funnel Workshop:
There will be a fee free solar funnel workshop in which about one dozen participants will build solar viewers to be used with their telescopes. Supplies are limited, so registration will be on a first-come, first-serve basis. Be certain to indicate while registering if you want to participate in this complimentary workshop. You may still attend as an observer if supplies run out. Please download the powerpoint slide here

Astrophotography Contest:
We will hold an astrophotography contest with two divisions: solar system and deep sky. Attendees will select the winners of each division. Each first-place winner will receive public recognition and a prize. See rules on the Astrophotography Contest page.

Door Prizes:
As has been the tradition at NCRAL conventions, there will be a limited number of door prizes distributed during the two Saturday breaks and during the annual business meeting late Saturday afternoon. Ticket holders must be present to win.

Coffee Mugs & Convention Regalia:
Commemorative coffee mugs emblazoned with the TCAA logo and assorted items of clothing men's and women's polo shirts will be available for purchase with early bird registration. Additional polo shirts will not be available at the convention. Coffee mugs will be available at $7.50 each payable in cash, which includes taxes. Please have the exact amount available.

Business Meeting:
Our annual business meeting will be the last order of business on Saturday afternoon. We will hear reports, elect our Chair and Vice Chair for 2023-2025, vote on the proposed NCRAL Messier Marathon award, receive proposals for future conventions, and transact all other such manner of business that comes before it. Awards will be announced at the Saturday evening banquet.

Saturday Evening Banquet:
The closing banquet is NCRAL's opportunity to socialize, recognize awardees (NCRAL's Region and Newsletter Editor awards, and the Astronomical Leagues 2022 Mabel Sterns Newsletter Editor Award), announce mini grant award winners, and more. Our keynote speaker will be Dr. John Martin from the University of Illinois at Springfield who will speak about the scientific discoveries of the James Webb Space Telescope.