In exchange for dues payments and efforts to get involved, the benefits of belong to and participating in the TCAA are substantial:
Enjoy the camaraderie of like-minded individuals. Perhaps the greatest benefit of joining any club is getting to know people who share common interests. We have lots of active, outgoing members from whom you will benefit by association.
Use our private observatories. Active, well qualified individuals can gain access to the club's observatories. After a period of training, experienced, knowledgable, and accountable members can qualify for a key to our observatories.
Use our loaner telescopes. The club maintains a number of smallish (up to 10" aperture) telescopes for loan to its active, dues-paying members. If you would like to learn how to use a telescope, you may borrow one of these and work with it under the tutelage of an experienced visual observer at SGNC. You may also take the telescope home for additional practice and viewing if approved by the club's property manager.
Participate in star parties. While the club used to hold "members-only observing sessions", we no longer do because many of us are out observing nearly every clear night! Nonetheless, we sometimes hold star parties with nearby astronomy clubs during the warmer months.
Participate in field trips. TCAA members travel a fair amount - to dark sky observing sites, observatories, and planetariums statewide, as well as solar eclipse viewing sessions worldwide. We also like to attend state, regional, and national meetings of amateur astronomers.
Participate in conferences. Not only do TCAA members attend conferences hosted by other organizations, we do so ourselves. We have a joint observing mini conference for central Illinois amateur astronomers slated for August 23, 2014, to which you will be invited. We will also host a joint spring 2016 meeting for the North Central and Mid-States Regions of the Astronomical League.
Participate in education and public outreach. Several of our club members conduct a lot of education and public outreach. Public outreach consists of hosting displays or setting up a telescope on a public sidewalk. Others like to work with civic, social, and academic groups to provide more detailed information about astronomy.
Receive of our monthly electronic newsletter, The OBSERVER. You may examine over 50 years of prior copies through the club's OBSERVER Archive.
Receive the Astronomical League's newsletter Reflector. By virtue of your membership in the TCAA, you become a member of the Astronomical League and receive all the AL benefits of membership as well.
Gain access to our NASA Night Sky Network teaching materials. We have numerous kits for teaching various aspects of astronomy - from seasons to telescopes, from phases of the moon to meteorites.
Many of our club members benefit in ways not easy to catalog. Some of our members love to write articles for the newsletter, develop web pages, and so much more as outlets for their love of amateur astronomy. The benefits of tying your interests together with the TCAA are as limitless as the sky of night.