Thank you to all who participated in
ASTROFEST 2015 at the
Green River Conservation Area,
Oct. 16-18, 2015
True enough, the night sky and Milky Way really
sparkled at Green River Conservation area for all
Astrofesters.   Sharing an account by CAS past president
"Jedi" Dan Joyce: "Now making my 35th Astrofest in a row,
the only person to have been at all of them.  It's at
Green RIver Wildlife Refuge straight south of
President Reagan's boyhood home up on Illinois Highway 26.
Set up my 10 incher last night and quickly picked out
M11, M26, NGC 6712, Albireo, the Coathanger, M71 and the
Dumbbell before browsing that star strewn region known as
the Cygnus Star Cloud all the while at 40x on my
10 inch f/4.8, known by Darren as "the Lucas-scope".
Also -saw great view of M31 in John McDonald's 12.5 inch f/3.9
on a night with spectacular transparency.  And it was salivating 
time when Tony Harris showed up with Don Hamilton and his
23 incher, an f/4.7.   With that we had amazing views of M15
and M2 as well as every strand of the Veil and North America
nebulae.   Clouds rolled in for a while and we konked out but
were awake in time to see the striking alignment of
Venus, Mars and Jupiter joined low in the east by tiny but
brilliant Mercury (just like that guy in the Tribune said so).
Ken Plecki brought his 15 incher and
Jeff Benuzzi had a refractory in tow."
Mark Kuba and Audrey Fischer saw 2 awesome meteors
during their chat admiring the night sky.  These meteors
seemed to leave chalk marks across the sky.
Oh, what a night for stargazers!  Super clear skies!
The Astrofest2015 cheer at Green River Conservation Area was appropriately,
"Kudos to Pluto's New Horizon Mission!"   Congrats to Alan Stern and the entire
NHM team! (Delicious & gigantic about 30lb full-sheet smile emoticon Atomic Cake
by Naples Bakery... 3-layer banana, chocolate, and yellow cake with strawberries,
bananas, pudding and fudge fillings.)
Jeff Benuzzi's Snowflake says my daddy's solar scope is better than your daddy's. Dave LeHockey says "not so fast." Look at the solar prominences with this scope!
Thumbs down.  Jeff says "nope, my scope has a better detail on the solar surface."  
Some people just want to stay neutral.  
  John McDonald and his dad have a comfy setup, excellent equipment and super hospitality.
  No, "Jedi" Dan Joyce is NOT demonstrating ballerina positions.  He's demonstrating how the pros decide how many maple syrup tappers can be safely used on a particular tree.
Well-behaved kittens and doggies were welcomed at Astrofest2015.  However, with the super clear skies came super cold, 22-32 degree nights.  Too cold for tents, so Pluto and Galaxy snuggled inside the car with me hitting the heater every 3 hours or so. Pluto the kitten has been a regular participant at CAS events and outreach nearly his whole (young) life.  Considering Pluto is a bottle-fed "rescue kitten" and goes everywhere Audrey goes, he's been to the Dearborn Observatory of Northwestern University, the CAS meeting at the Adler Planetarium, Adler After Dark, the Total Eclipse at the Adler, an astronomy outreach at a boy scout camp-or-all with 150, he's attended his first Astrofest.

Jim Cuca and Greg Lambros both gave excellent presentations.

This picnic shelter had plenty of electrical outlets to run our projectors,
crockpots of chili, 2 coffee pots and toaster. We brought a generator,
but didn't need it. Camping fees were very reasonable, and on the honor system.
Skies were awesome both nights of Astrofest. Wow, we were so lucky.
Met new and old friends. Great times. Shared stories.