Contact information: Info@SESDAstronomy.Club
Membership: The SouthEast South Dakota Astronomy Club (SESDAC) includes charter members from Bridgewater, Mitchell, and Sioux Falls. We are actively seeking new amateur astronomers from all over this quadrant of the state.
The name...by calling ourselves the SouthEast South Dakota Astronomy Club, we don’t pretend to be the only astronomy club in the southeast quadrant of the state. And we are not trying to compete with other clubs for members. The reasons for the name are mainly: to be inclusive of all areas of southeast South Dakota that are not currently reached by an astronomy club...rather than pick a more localized name that would pigeonhole us. The other reason is: for those who are in one of those other clubs, we want them to know they are welcome to “moonlight” (no pun intended) and join us for observing on nights when their club does not have an observing event. We aren’t yet fully organized yet, so we don’t have one set night when we observe each month. (i.e. Saturday nearest New Moon). But we do have organized observing sessions the weekend of new moon almost every month. Sometimes it is Friday and sometimes it is Saturday. Some of the more intrepid astronomers in the club go out and observe on above average transparency nights during the workweek on short notice. Some clubs hibernate during the winter. We do not. Some of our most dedicated members go out and observe during sub-zero temps in the winter!
Those Other Clubs we mentioned. We know of two other current active astronomy clubs in southeast South Dakota. There’s the Brookings Regional Astronomy Club, which we’d highly recommend if you live in east central South Dakota. https://www.facebook.com/BrookingsAstroClub/ And there is Tri-State Astronomical Society (based in Sioux Falls) http://www.tristateastro.org/news.php , which, the last time last we checked, does most of its observing in rural Garretson and has a heavy club emphasis of astro-imaging which doesn’t require skies that are as dark as observing does.
So what's different about our club? Our club is situated to observe from much farther outside of the Sioux Falls light cone, and the darker skies do make a difference out here. Most of the initial observing has happened near Bridgewater, and some near Epiphany, a village northeast of Mitchell. At our Bridgewater site, though, we still deal with Sioux Falls sky glow (except in late summer when the corn is tall!) And at the Epiphany site we deal with Mitchell sky glow. So...as a multi-site astronomy club, we are actively scouting new dark sky sites that are even further out from the Sioux Falls, Mitchell and Yankton light cones. If you are a landowner out here who would be interested in letting us use your property for this purpose, let us know.