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Madison Astronomical Society - News Flash!
May 2, 2014
Devils Lake

The Devils Lake Star Party tonight (Saturday, August 23) is called off because of clouds.

 

August 17, 2014
Pine Bluff

UW Space Place and UW Communications will offer an open house, including telescopes (36 and 16-inch reflectors), at UW's Pine Bluff Observatory for the evening of Sunday 17 August, 6:30pm until 10pm. We would like to invite MAS members to join us. (Sad to say, neither telescope is currently functional.) Picnics (sorry but we have no tables) are welcome and there will be star gazing after dark. You are also welcome to bring out a telescope for the star party.

To reach PBO, go west on Mineral Point Rd. to Pine Bluff. Turn right (north) onto Hwy P, then turn left after approx. 1/4 mile onto Observatory Rd. Follow Observatory Rd. less than 2 miles to the top of the ridge and watch for the observatory driveway on the left. Park where directed.

 

September 22, 2013
Future Meetings and Events

August 17: Pine Bluff Observatory open house

August 23: star party at Devils Lake

 

July 24, 2014
Space Shuttles

At the Friday, August 8th MAS general meeting, our own Jeff Shokler will give a talk on his recent treks to see the retired Space Shuttles.

His talk will be titled "271,104,826 Miles Traveled: Space Shuttles Endeavour and Discovery in LA and DC."

Join us at Space Place, 2300 S. Park St in Madison. Meeting begins with informal social and announcement time at 7:00 with the presentation starting at 7:30.

 

Space Place is located in the basement of the Villager Mall in Madison, at 2300 South Park Street, on the west side of the street, near the South Madison Public Library, between Hughes Place and Ridgewood Way, about three blocks north of the Beltline (Google Map).

Park in front near the center of the Mall, and enter at the Atrium Entrance. Once inside, walk down the hallway to the stairs and go downstairs. Space Place occupies the left-hand part of the basement just beyond the doors at the bottom of the stairs. There is also an elevator available.

 

May 3, 2013
Donald Park Canceled

Clouds - the Donald Park Star party has been canceled.

The event has been clouded out twice, on Friday, July 25th, and on Saturday, July 26th.

We'll be looking to reschedule with them for a September event.

 

June 20, 2014
July Meeting

On Friday, June 11th, 7:00 pm. at Space Place, the MAS general meeting will feature Rick Kohrs of the Space Science and Engineering Center at UW Madison. Rick will give a talk about his work creating global satellite composites. by combining geostationary and polar orbiting data. These composites have proven useful in research, operational forecasting, aviation, and educational outreach.

The presentation will describe the process used to create these composites and how they can be combined with other observational data to discriminate between cloudy and cloud free pixels. A three dimensional spherical display system will be used to show these composites and other datasets describing weather satellite orbit and scanning techniques

 

April 7, 2014
Open House and Picnic at YRS

Since it was rained out on June 21st, the picnic has been rescheduled for Saturday, June 28th.

Come out to see the DGRO roll-off-roof building. Members and guests alike are invited to join us at our observatory/dark sky site. If you've never visited, this is a great chance to see YRS in the daytime.

At 4 we'll gather for socializing. At 5 we'll light the grills and eat. Brats, burgers, and buns will be provided. Bring a pot-luck dish to pass.

Observing will follow the picnic, if skies are clear. (Last quarter Moon is the 19th.)

This day is a good time to get your site orientation and learn how to use some of the equipment. Observing members have full access to all the facilities of YRS once they have received their site orientation.

Come out and enjoy a great facility, a nice day, good food, and good company.

 

April 7, 2014
June Meeting

At the MAS general meeting on Friday, June 13th, 7:00 pm. at Space Place, our own Martin Mika will present a talk on Spectroscopy: Analyzing the Chemistry of the Stars.

Topics will include: the basic principles of spectroscopy; the physical processes responsible for spectral features; stellar classification and evolution; spectra of the brightest stars in the sky; how to classify stars based on their spectra; spectroscopy of planets and deep sky objects; equipment, techniques, and software; and projects accessible to the amateur astronomer.

 

May 2, 2014
Devils Lake

On Friday, June 6, MAS will hold a Devils Lake Star Party.

The moon will be at 1st quarter with Mars very close by. Saturn and Jupiter will also be visible, but Jupiter will set early. Sunset is at 8:34 PM. Plan now to save that date and join us for public outreach at Devils Lake.

We could use at least 6 to 8 instruments (scopes and binoculars) for this event. If you want to help, please RSVP to Laurence Mohr soon.

 

April 7, 2014
May Meeting

The Friday, May 9th, MAS general meeting, 7:00 pm. at Space Place, will include our annual business meeting and officer elections.

The meeting will feature a presentation by Larry Sromovsky, senior scientist at the UW Space Science and Engineering Center.

His talk is entitled "Saturn's Superstorm and Methane on Uranus: two applications of hyper spectral imaging".

 

6:30 - a brief MAS board meeting. Members are welcome to attend.

7:00 - announcements and new member welcomes

7:20 - general assembly to do elections

7:30 - presentation

 

The following MAS members are candidates for election:

 

Also: Tuesday, May 6, 2014, 7:45 - 9:00, is the Jefferson Middle School star party.

And Saturday, May 10, 2014, is this year's first work day at YRS. Come out and help get our dark-sky site in fine shape. Bring work gloves, brush cutting tools, your own water and food, and your enthusiasm.

 

December 29, 2013
Spring Moon Over Monona Terrace

 

It's on! The Moon Over Monona public star party is a GO for tonight.

 

Moon Over Monona public star party on the roof of Madison's Monona Terrace Convention Center

Friday, April 11, 2014 from 7:30 until 9:30 pm.

Note that there is no rain/cloud date this year and no meeting at Space Place this night.

Please save this date and plan to attend MAS' greatest (semi)-annual observing event -- right in downtown Madison.

MAS members bring their telescopes, and the public is invited to observe the Moon and planets and other sights of the night sky.

MAS members can begin arriving after 6:30 pm and can park in the loading area on the east side of the building with your equipment.

Carts will be available to move telescopes up the elevator to the roof.

 

December 29, 2013
March Meeting

The Friday, March 14th, MAS general meeting, 7:00 pm. at Space Place, will feature a talk by Dr. Andrew Schectman-Rook (UW Madison) about his research into The Vertical Distribution of Starlight in Spiral Galaxies.

We know much about the distribution of stars in the Milky Way, but due to the effects of dust the detailed structure of other spiral galaxies is unclear. I have developed a novel approach to remove dust attenuation and reveal the intrinsic surface brightness profiles of nearby edge-on spiral galaxies. I will discuss this method as well as its application to a small sample of galaxies using near-infrared data from the WIYN 3.5m Telescope.

 

December 29, 2013
Devil's Lake Star Party

There is a winter observing event planned for Devils Lake State Park on Saturday March 8th.

 

December 19, 2013
MAS Annual Banquet

The MAS Spring Banquet will take place on Saturday, February 15, 2014 at

Note that the banquet replaces the February monthly meeting. There will be no meeting at Space Place on February 14.

 

Our own Jim Lattis will present Honey, I Shrunk the Galaxy! or How Wisconsin Astronomers Located the Sun among the Stars.

In the early 1930s, the size of the Milky Way galaxy, or even whether it was a galaxy, remained a puzzle. Washburn Observatory's astronomers showed the way to the modern solution and arrived at the accepted size of our galaxy. My talk will explain the problem and its resolution in the 1930s.

 

Each dinner includes the following:

 

Entree Selection (Choose One):

Beef Stroganoff (tenderloin sauteed in olive oil, onion, garlic and mushrooms finished with a red wine demi-glaze, served over noodles)

Jager Schnitzel (pan-fried pork cutlets with mushrooms and onions, finished with a red wine demi-glaze. Served with spaetzel and red cabbage)

Grilled Mediterranean Vegetable Platter (grilled eggplant, hummus, zucchini, goat cheese, roasted sweet peppers, dolmas, served with pita bread)

 

Cost is $23 per person regardless of selection. Includes tax and tip.

 

Make your check payable to JOHN RUMMEL and send it, along with your menu selections, to

Checks must be received by Monday, February 10th.

If you have misplaced the announcement, here is a PDF copy of the postcard.

See you there!

 

December 10, 2013
CMB

The MAS meeting on Friday January 10th will be held at the MMSD Planetarium at Madison Memorial High School, 201 S Gammon Road.

The evening starts at 7:00 PM with a short informal gathering, followed by a presentation.

Amy Lowitz (UW Madison) will be our guest speaker on the topic:   The Cosmic Microwave Background.

The cosmic microwave background (CMB) is the oldest part of the observable Universe. Formed when the Universe was about 300,000 years old, it is a kind of "heat echo" from the Big Bang. Studying the CMB not only shows us how tiny fluctuations in the early Universe gave rise to the largest structures we observe today, but also provides clues about what happened in the Universe's earliest moments. I will outline the history of the field, give an overview of CMB science (how it formed, what is observable today, and why), and conclude with a discussion of current efforts in the field, particularly in the area of CMB polarization measurements as they relate to the search for inflation.

Amy Lowitz is a graduate student in the physics department at the University of Wisconsin - Madison, where she is working with Professor Peter Timbie on development of microwave kinetic inductance detectors (MKIDs) for use in telescopes designed to search for inflation signatures in the cosmic microwave background. Amy received her Bachelor of Science degree from Brown University in 2009 with an undergraduate thesis on photometric redshifts for galaxies in lensing surveys, and held an appointment as a radar engineer at MIT Lincoln Laboratory in 2009-2010. She is currently a NASA Space Technology Research Fellow.

Directions to the Planetarium can be found on their web site at http://planetariumweb.madison.k12.wi.us or from Google maps.

 

September 22, 2013
K/T Impact Models and Zuni Creation Tales

At the Friday, December 13th, MAS general meeting, 7:00 pm. at Space Place, Fred Mrozek will discuss Super-Computer Modeling of Large Impact Events on Earth.

Super-computer modeling by Drs. Dan Durda and Dave Kring of ejecta trajectories resulting from the K/T impact event reveal unexpected atmospheric effects lasting for days after the impact. These modeling results are compared to a selection of mythologies collectively suggestive that men experienced and preserved in their legends memories of at least one extremely energetic impact event.

The broader context of the impact hazard will be explained in the light of what we now know about the recent origin of the zodiacal dust cloud, stochastic modeling of the solar system's Centaur object population, the instability of Centaur object orbits, their prodigious size/mass range, and the power of mean-motion-resonances with Jupiter to focus debris from the break-up of comets into concentrated streams penetrating the inner solar system.

Fred Mrozek is a life-long amateur astronomer. Partner in lens-making start-up at Astro-Physics between 1981 and 1988. Seven years at the University of Chicago/Yerkes Observatory designing astronomical research instrumentation. Eleven years at Recon/Optical Inc. in Barrington, Illinois. I make custom optics in my shop in German Valley, Illinois, where I have recently finished a new, large polishing machine and a point-diffraction interferometer. I am presently doing contract work for a local machine-tool builder and contemplating construction of some medium and large aperture Houghton-type Newtonians or Cassegrains.

 

RASC Observers Handbooks have arrived. Jurgen will have them available at the December meeting. If you ordered one and are not able to make it to the meeting, please contact Jurgen and make alternative arrangements.

 

This meeting will be our annual Solstice/holiday party. Members are invited to bring an appropriate snack to share: finger foods like cookies, cakes, cheese and crackers, non-alcoholic beverages, etc. Join us at 7:00 pm at Space Place for mingling and snacking.

 

September 17, 2013
Video Astronomy

The Friday, November 8th, MAS general meeting, 7:00 pm. at Space Place, will feature a talk by Les Phelps on video astronomy.

"I'm going to present an overview of the equipment I am familiar with, followed by images that Laurence Mohr and I have captured using Mallincam Extreme video cameras and my security camera using a variety of telescopes under a variety of conditions."

 

There will be a board meeting at 6:00 pm, before the general meeting. Members are welcome to attend.

 

September 17, 2013
Wide Field Astrophotography

At the Friday, October 11th, MAS general meeting, 7:00 pm. at Space Place, John Rummel will present Wide Field Astrophotography with DSLR cameras, with techniques for both medium and long exposure shots.

Methods will be shown for image acquisition and post-processing to create finished shots of high quality and interest.

 

September 14, 2013
Moon Over Monona Terrace

NO-GO. Moon Over Monona is canceled tonight because of clouds.

Note that there is no rain/cloud date this year.

 

August 11, 2013
Antique Telescopes

On Friday, September 13th, the MAS general meeting will be a joint meeting with Space Place at 7:00 pm.

It will include a reception and lecture for the Antique Telescope Society.

 

And the next day, Saturday, September 14th, will be our annual Moon Over Monona public star party.

 

May 3, 2013
Eyepiece Outreach

The following events are great chances to do fun outreach and show people a wonderful time at the telescope.

 

Saturday, September 14 at Monona Terrace: Moon Over Monona public star party. Note that there is no rain/cloud date this year.

 

MAS members, please consider attending one or more of these events with your telescope, or even without a telescope just to help out, show constellations, talk to the public about astronomy. The more the merrier!

 

 

Past Events:

Saturday, May 4 at the MMSD School Forest in Verona: Jeff Shokler (jshokler@provost.wisc.edu) is organizing this one for a large group of girl scouts. Please contact him if you are able to help out and need more info on the whens and wheres.

 

Thursday, May 16 at Jefferson Middle School in west Madison: This is for Jefferson Middle School 8th grade science students. This event has been going on for several years now and is usually very well attended by enthusiastic 14 year olds and their families. Contact John Rummel (darksky2500@gmail.com) if you can help. There is a rain date for this event (Monday, May 20th).

 

Saturday, May 18 at the MMSD School Forest in Verona: This event is being organized by local scout master Chris Ashley (clashley@wisc.edu) who is looking for some telescope experience for his boys. There has been one positive response so far, we could use two or three more.

 

Friday, June 7 at Yerkes Observatory: Architectural tour and star party. Clear Sky Clock for Yerkes. Contact Jeff Shokler (jshokler@provost.wisc.edu).

 

Saturday, June 15 at Devil's Lake State Park: We need at least 3 to 5 scopes for this cooperative event with the Devils Lake park rangers. Observing will be at dusk at the north shore picnic area, meeting place will be by the Rock Elm shelter, found easily on this map. Contact John Rummel (darksky2500@gmail.com) if you can help.

 

Friday, June 21: Terri Felton will be offering camps for Native American students throughout the summer. They will have an overnight at a Dane County park (TBD) for ~10 middle schoolers plus about 5 high schoolers and would like someone to bring our telescopes for star gazing. If anyone can help, please contact Terri directly at felton.terri@countyofdane.com.

 

Saturday, June 22 Friends of Starkweather Creek hold a summer solstice celebration and bonfire at Olbrich Park (on Lake Monona just across the street from Olbrich Gardens) and would like to include star gazing following the bonfire. Anyone interested in bringing out a telescope can contact Kay Kriewald (kay@astro.wisc.edu).

 

Saturday, August 10 (cloud date Sunday, August 11) at Donald Park Saturday, August 10 (cloud date Sunday, August 11) at Donald Park, about 17 miles from Madison: Beginning at 8:00 pm at Donald Park (between Verona and Mt. Horeb), the Friends of Donald Park have again invited us to join them for a star party. We invite members to bring their telescopes or other observing equipment to this excellent location to observe the crescent moon, Saturn, and later, the Perseid meteors.

The park entrance is on the south side of Hwy 92, southeast of Mt. Horeb or northwest of County G.   Google Map (zoom in for more detail).

In the past, this event has been very well attended (well over 100 members of the public, including lots of families with children), so we encourage any and all interested members to join us to help. This has become one of MAS's premier public events. Please help us make it a good one!

 

Friday, August 16 (cloud date Saturday, August 17) at Devil's Lake State Park: a cooperative event with the Devils Lake park rangers. Observing will be at dusk at the north shore picnic area, meeting place will be by the Rock Elm shelter, found easily on this map. Contact John Rummel (darksky2500@gmail.com) if you can help.

 

August 03, 2013
Buying a Telescope

The Friday, August 9th, MAS general meeting, 7:00 pm. at Space Place, will feature our annual Telescope Purchasing Presentation.

 

The next night, Saturday, August 10th, there will be a star party at Donald Park (rain date: Sunday, Aug. 11).

 

And on Friday, August 16th, we will be at Devil's Lake State Park for another star party.

 

June 11, 2013
Attention: MAS Meeting Moved

Note that the general meeting on Friday, July 12th, originally scheduled for UW Space Place, has been moved to Dodgeville with the Iowa County Astronomers. The topic will be the Moon, and they will be showing some moon rocks and meteorites.

We'll be driving down to Dodgeville to join them. It's a bit of a commute, but we think it will be worth it. The ICA group has some Apollo lunar samples on loan from NASA. Have you ever handled an actual moon rock? Here's your chance.

Check out their website - icastro.org for full details, including directions.

The meeting is at 7:30 at Quality Liquid Feeds just north of Dodgeville.

There will be stargazing with the 17" Dob at Bethel Horizons (map and directions also at icastro.org) after the meeting.

To arrange car-pooling (from Space Place or other agreed-upon location), contact Les Phelps at (608) 770-5189 or Tom Ferch (email tferch@chorus.net). We should leave Space Place or other starting point about 6:00 to arrive at the meeting on time.

 

The video astronomy presentation will take place at a future meeting.

 

May 12, 2013
Open House and Picnic at YRS

Saturday, June 22th, from 1:00 to 4:00 pm, will be our open house at YRS.

 

March 17, 2013
Our Magnetic Sun

The general meeting on Friday, May 10th, 7:00 pm, will be our annual business meeting and election of officers.

Dr. Ben Brown of the UW Astronomy Department will talk about Exploring Our Magnetic Sun.

Our Sun is a magnetic star, whose 11-year cycles of magnetic activity profoundly affect life here on Earth. As we look to other stars, we find that magnetism is very common on stars like the Sun. We see signatures of dark spots, like sunspots, on the surfaces of other stars and occasionally see large stellar flares, like the flares on our Sun. Stellar magnetism is generated by large-scale plasma motions beneath the stellar photosphere (the "surface" of the star) by dynamo processes. In solar and stellar convection zones, convection and rotation couple to build organized magnetic fields and drive cycles of magnetic activity.

Tonight, we'll explore the signatures of magnetism in our Sun and other sun-like stars, we'll see how large computer simulations are helping us understand how convective dynamos operate, and we'll learn how new plasma experiments at UW Madison will be used to study the solar dynamo.

 

March 17, 2013
Solar Eclipse of 1869

At the general meeting on Friday, April 12th, 7:00 pm, MAS president John Rummel will share an interesting story on the total solar eclipse of August 7, 1869, based in part on a diary by a resident in rural SE Wisconsin.

Why this eclipse? What's special about this date? "While researching eclipses of the 19th century for another purpose, I stumbled upon a great story and a bit of a mystery with some interesting local connections." John will spin the story and give those in attendance a chance to weigh in on the elements of the mystery.

 

February 1, 2013
Image Creation

At the general meeting on Friday, March 8th, 7:00 pm, MAS member Martin Mika will talk about Deep Sky Image Creation and Processing with Adobe Photoshop.

The presentation will cover the fundamentals of creating a deep sky image using stacking and processing techniques available to users of Adobe Photoshop CS. Creating an image from multiple raw frames will be demonstrated from start to finish, as well as basic tricks for enhancing and beautifying images of star clusters, galaxies, and nebulae. Time permitting, more advanced techniques of exposure enhancement, noise reduction, and false color imaging will be demonstrated.

 

December 29, 2012
MAS Annual Banquet

The MAS Spring Banquet will occur on Friday, February 8, 2013 at

 

December 8, 2012
At the Planetarium: The Magnetic Universe

The MAS meeting on Friday January 11th at the MMSD Planetarium at Madison Memorial High School, 201 S Gammon Road will feature Dr. Sui Ann Mao, who will discuss her research using observations in the radio wavelengths to probe the origin of magnetic fields in the universe.

Dr. Mao is currently an NRAO Jansky postdoctoral fellow at University of Wisconsin Madison. She moved to the US from her native Hong Kong for college to pursue her dream of becoming an astronomer. She did her undergraduate work at the University of Arizona in Tucson and her PhD dissertation at Harvard University.

More on radio astronomy here and here.

 

November 17, 2012
Purchasing a Telescope

On Friday, December 14th, 7:00 pm, the general meeting will include a Telescope Purchasing Presentation.

 

October 21, 2012
Ice Cube

Antarctica returns to the MAS general meeting on Friday, November 9th, 7:00 pm. at Space Place when UW physicist Francis Halzen of the Ice Cube Project presents Ice fishing for neutrinos: an update:

"We have melted eighty-seven holes over 1.5 miles deep in the Antarctic icecap to be used as astronomical observatories. Into each hole is lowered a string knotted with basketball-sized light detectors, which are sensitive to the shimmering blue light emitted in the surrounding clear ice when ghostly particles called neutrinos pass through the Earth."

"We have already collected more than 300,000 neutrinos at this point and, as you probably know, neutrinos are never boring. I will discuss the first results from the recently completed instrument."

More on neutrinos  here and here and on Cherenkov radiation, neutrino detectors and IceCube.

 

August 27, 2012
Moon Over Monona Terrace

Postponed from Friday to Saturday because of clouds.

Moon Over Monona public star party on the roof of Madison's Monona Terrace Convention Center

Saturday, October 20th from 7:00 until 9:30 pm (Friday night clouded out).

 

September 25, 2012
Restoration of the Washburn Objective Lens

Come to the MAS general meeting on Friday, October 12th, 7:00 pm. at Space Place, and see the Restoration of the Alvin Clark 15.6-inch Objective Lens at Washburn Observatory.

From May 7-10, 2012, the objective lens of the Washburn equatorial refractor was removed, cleaned, reassembled and collimated for the first time in 132 years.   MAS members Jim Lattis and Tom Ferch will present a slide show documenting this detailed process.

And don't forget that the following Friday, October 19th, is our annual Moon Over Monona public star party.

 

September 2, 2012
Extreme Objects

At the MAS general meeting on Friday, September 14th, 7:00 pm. at Space Place, UW Astronomy Ph.D. student Paul Sell will give a presentation entitled: Extreme Objects Make a Dent in the Interstellar Medium.

Through Chandra X-ray imaging observations, Hubble Space Telescope imaging, and optical spectroscopy with the WIYN Hydra multi-object spectrograph, we have observed jets and outflows from extreme objects: black holes, neutron stars, and post-starburst galaxies. Each system that we have observed fills in one more puzzle piece of a picture as to how powerful forces at work in space can shape the cosmic structures that we observe.

Paul Sell is a senior Astronomy graduate student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison (UW) planning to finish his Ph.D. thesis within the next year under the guidance of his advisors, Professors Sebastian Heinz (thesis advisor) and friend of MAS Christy Tremonti.

 

July 25, 2012
DGRO Dedication and Open House at YRS

August MAS meeting. There will NOT be a regular Friday meeting in August.

Instead, on Saturday, August 11 we will hold an open house at our Yanna Research Station observatory to honor Doc Greiner and Matt Mills for their donation of the DGRO observatory last year. The details are as follows:

6:00 pm Dedication of the DGRO

Picnic supper to follow immediately (MAS will provide chicken filets and buns for the grill). Please bring a dish to pass and BYO beverages.

8:30 pm Observing at YRS if weather permits.

If you need directions to YRS, please contact one of the officers.

 

Also, Jim Lattis at Space Place is planning to hold an open house/star party out at Pine Bluff Observatory on the evening of Sunday 12 Aug, 7-10pm (and catching some Perseids along the way). They'll offer a Perseidless rain date on the 19th.

Please plan to support Jim and Space Place and bring your telescope to share with the public. This is also a great chance to see the UW Astronomy department's Pine Bluff facility. Jim can be contacted at lattis@astro.wisc.edu.

 

July 10, 2012
Image Stacking

At the Friday, July 13th, MAS general meeting, 7:00 pm. at Space Place, we will discuss Astrophotography Techniques: Photo stacking in Photoshop.

Most astroimagers make use of stacking techniques, where multiple images are "stacked" to improve resolution, detail and dynamic range. This technique will be illustrated with Photoshop and some discussion will also be given to dedicated software packages that automate the stacking of images.

 

May 13, 2012
Open House and Picnic at YRS

On Saturday, June 16th, from 1:00 to 4:00 pm, MAS will host an open house at YRS, to introduce our new DGRO  roll-off-roof  observatory building.

 

June 8, 2012
WORT Access Hour

On Monday, June 11, 2012, from 7:00 to 8:00 pm, MAS members will be on the WORT Access Hour - 89.9 FM, to talk about astronomy and answer questions from listeners.

 

May 13, 2012
Transit of Venus

On June 5th, MAS members will have telescopes at Donald Park from about 4:30 pm until sunset, to view the last transit of Venus for 105 years.

Donald Park is about 17 miles from Madison. The park entrance is on the south side of Hwy 92, southeast of Mt. Horeb or northwest of County G.   Google Map (zoom in for more detail).

On Tuesday, June 5th, starting about 5:04 pm (22:04 UT), Venus will pass across the face of the Sun, for the last time until 2117.

Mid-transit will occur at about 8:26 pm (01:26 UT), and sunset at 8:34 pm CDT will end Wisconsin's viewing.

Or you could see more of the transit in Tahiti, where Captain James Cook and crew observed the transit of June 3, 1769.

UW Space Place and the MMSD Planetarium are also planning local viewing activities.

Transits of Venus occur at intervals of 8, 121.5, 8 and 105.5 years, repeating every 243 years. Transits of 1631 and 1639, 1761 and 1769, 1874 and 1882, and 2004 and 2012 will be followed in 2117 and 2125. Don't miss the 2012 transit.

Try the Everything You Need to Know page at Discover magazine, including links to live webcasts.

Other resources include TransitofVenus.org, an animation from Wikimedia, a movie of the transit of 1882, a diagram of successive passes of Venus eight years apart, and a diagram of the last eleven transits and one near miss.

Some of the following books on the transit of Venus are available at the public library.

Join us for this historic event.

And, if you're up early on June 4th, watch for the partial lunar eclipse just before sunrise and moonset.

 

May 13, 2012
Partial Solar Eclipse

On Sunday, May 20th, MAS members will be at Donald Park from about 7:00 pm until sunset, for the partial eclipse.

A partial eclipse of the Sun (annular eclipse in the North Pacific and western US) will begin here at about 7:21 pm (00:21 UT) on May 20th. The eclipse is annular because the Moon is one day past apogee.

There are animations of the eclipse at Solar eclipse of May 20, 2012.  And you can watch live footage of the eclipse.

 

January 22, 2012
Annual Meeting and Elections

The Friday, May 11th, MAS general meeting, 7:00 pm. at Space Place, will include our annual business meeting and officer elections and planning for the May 20th partial eclipse and the June 5th transit of Venus

 

March 31, 2012
Star Parties

On Friday, April 13th, 7:00 pm., the MAS general meeting will feature presentations on visits to recent national or regional star parties.

Jeff Shokler will talk about the Texas Star Party, April 15-22, 2012, near McDonald Observatory, Fort Davis, Texas.

Nathan Murphy will talk about the Black Forest Star Party, Sept 14-16, 2012, at Cherry Springs State Park - Potter County, PA and the Okie-Tex Star Party, September 8-16, 2012, at Kenton, near Black Mesa in western Oklahoma.   And he may talk about star party etiquette.

Les Phelps and Dan Strome will talk about the Winter Star Party, Feb. 4-10, 2013, on Big Pine Key, FL   (aerial view of the site).

And anyone else is welcome to chime in with star party stories or pictures.   BBC Sky at Night Magazine's Top 10 Star Parties - pdf

Also remember that election of officers is coming up in May.

 

February 12, 2012
Collimation

The general meeting is back at Space Place on Friday, March 9th, 7:00 pm.

MAS member Nathan Murphy will present a clinic on telescope collimation.

He will demonstrate his collimation method, and he encourages members to bring their scopes for diagnosis and collimation. It works best for newtonians but is also applicable for SCTs and other types of catadioptrics, and even for refractor diagonals.

 

October 28, 2011
Winter Observing

On Friday, November 11th, 7:00 pm at UW Space Place, the general meeting will include a discussion of observing planning for the winter months, with an eye toward the upcoming special events: Jupiter up all winter, Mars opposition as spring approaches, and Venus transit in June.

The 7:00 - 7:30 period will be a "visitor/new member welcome" time. The meeting will be called to order at about 7:30 and the presentation will begin shortly thereafter.

 

September 22, 2011
The KMO and the DGRO

The general meeting on Friday, October 14th, 7:00 pm at UW Space Place, will feature a slide show on moving the KMO and the DGRO and maybe a discussion on the future of observing in the new building.

We will also review the very successful Moon Over Monona star party.

The 7:00 - 7:30 period will be a "visitor/new member welcome" time. The meeting will be called to order at about 7:30 and the presentation will begin shortly thereafter.

 

August 13, 2011
Editing the Milky Way

At the general meeting on Friday, September 9th, 7:00 pm at UW Space Place, MAS members John Rummel, Mark Weller, and Andrea Rummel will present the results of a multi-year Milky Way imaging project and focus on how to edit these shots in Photoshop to bring out the most realistic detail for a deeply satisfying final product.

 

August 11, 2011
Summer Activities

The general meeting on Friday, August 12th, 7:00 pm at UW Space Place, will include an update by MAS members Chris Zeltner and Les Phelps on the relocation of the newly donated observatory building, the DGRO.

The 7:00 - 7:30 period will be a "visitor/new member welcome" time. The meeting will be called to order at about 7:30 and the presentations will begin shortly thereafter.

Jeff Shokler will do a brief presentation on his recent visit to Florida in an attempt to witness a shuttle launch. Members may wish to discuss the temporary end of the US manned space program and directions for the future.

 

June 20, 2011
Next Star Party at Donald Park

The July general meeting of the Madison Astronomical Society will be a shared observing event with the Friends of Donald Park, at Donald Park. Meet at this new Dane County park on Friday July 8th.

Photos of last year's Donald Park event

In the event of clouds or rain, a go/no-go message will be posted on the Friends of Donald Park website by 4:00 pm on the 8th.

Donald Park is about 17 miles from Madison. The park entrance is on the south side of Highway 92, southeast of Mt. Horeb or northwest of County G.   Google Map (zoom in for more detail).

We hope to see a lot of MAS folks there.

Those with telescopes can begin arriving about 7:30. Members may drive their cars down to the pavillion located just to the east of the parking lot to unload, and then park in the lot.

 

May 14, 2011
It's Summertime

At the general meeting on Friday, June 10th, 7:00 pm at UW Space Place, MAS members Chris Zeltner and Martin Mika will lead a discussion on Favorite Summer Observing Targets. Come and talk about your own list.

The 7:00 - 7:30 period will be a "visitor/new member welcome" time. The meeting will be called to order at about 7:30 and the presentation will begin shortly thereafter.

We will also talk about the Swap Meet/Picnic/Open House to be held 8 days later at YRS.

And about the DGRO roll-off building, LX-200 telescope, and moving-expense donations we are being offered. The board has agreed to accept these items and will bring up the matter of acceptance and allocation of additional funds for the membership to discuss.

 

March 11, 2011
Astrochemistry and Elections

At the general meeting on Friday, May 13th, 7:00 pm at UW Space Place, MAS member Martin Mika will discuss Astrochemistry: Stardust to Life and the techniques used to study chemical processes in the interstellar medium.

The 7:00 - 7:30 period will be a "visitor/new member welcome" time. The meeting will be called to order at about 7:30 and the presentation will begin shortly thereafter.


This is the annual meeting of MAS and the election of board members. Proposed board members are:

 

February 9, 2011
Climate Change

At the MAS general meeting on Friday, March 11th, 7:00 pm at UW Space Place, Susan Nossal will give a talk on atmospheric climate change.

The 7:00 - 7:30 period will be a "visitor/new member welcome" time. The meeting will be called to order at about 7:30 and the presentation will begin shortly thereafter.

Susan Nossal is a scientist and director at the Physics Learning Center of the UW Madison.

Her research applies optical spectroscopy to studies of the Earth's upper atmosphere. In particular, she has been using a long term data set to study the effects of natural variability on this region. Understanding natural variability is needed to isolate any effects of long term change.


 

January 23, 2011
The DGRO

The MAS general meeting on Friday, February 11th, 7:00 pm at UW Space Place, will feature several talks about Astronomy Programs at the Greiner Research Observatory.

The 7:00 - 7:30 period will be a "visitor/new member welcome" time. The meeting will be called to order at about 7:30 and the presentation will begin shortly thereafter.

First, Doc Greiner will discuss the observatory building, its development and its current status.

Matt Mills will describe some of the work being done. Then there should be time for a few questions about asteroid searches.

Greg Sellek and Mark Hanson will try making contact with the observatory. They will at least visit the building and show some of the interior facilities. If the skies are good, some stars can be shown as well.

Mark will give a tour of his excellent imaging results, with some recent first-light results from the Ritchey-Chr├ętien telescope.

 

December 5, 2010
Total Lunar Eclipse

The full Moon will start moving into Earth's shadow around midnight on December 20-21, 2010.

The Moon moves eastward roughly its own diameter every hour, and the umbra of Earth's shadow may be about three Moon diameters wide. The path will be a bit off-center, and totality will last 72 minutes.

partial eclipse begins - 12:33 am

totality begins - 1:41 am

mid-eclipse will occur at 2:17 am CST (8:17 UT) on Tuesday the 21st

totality ends - 2:53 am

partial eclipse ends - 4:01 am

Get your warm clothes ready. Think of it as winter camping.

You can also contribute to two timing projects: Roger Sinnott - crater timings and John Westfall - timings of eclipse contacts.

 

November 26, 2010
Observing References

At the MAS general meeting on December 10th, 7:00 pm at UW Space Place, we will talk about Observing Techniques: an observer's survey of some basic tools: star charts, atlases, reference works and computer software.

We'll explore some of the more common sky references and share how these tools can assist in planning and carrying out an evening of observing.

There will be laptops and several software programs, including Stellarium and Starry Night, along with Tirion star charts, the three volume set of Burnham's Celestial Handbook, and other favorite tools. It should evolve into a fun discussion.

The 7:00 - 7:30 period will be a "visitor/new member welcome" time. The meeting will be called to order at about 7:30 and the presentation will begin shortly thereafter.

And mark your calendars now for our January meeting (January 14), when we will meet once again in the MMSD Planetarium at Memorial High school. Program information will follow, but don't miss this special meeting.

 

February 14, 2009
Google Calendar

Space Place is sharing its Google calendar with MAS. The calendar is called Dane_Co_Astro.

Click through the months and on individual days to see what's going on.

MAS meeting events include a link to this News page.

 

September 22, 2010
Dobsonian Telescopes

At the November 12th MAS general meeting, 7:00 at UW Space Place, Dave Kriege, owner and president of Obsession Telescopes of Lake Mills, WI will talk about his telescopes and how he came to be the creator of one of the premier telescope companies of the last 10 years.

The 7:00 - 7:30 period will be a "visitor/new member welcome" time. The meeting will be called to order at about 7:30 and the presentation will begin shortly thereafter.

 

September 22, 2010
Preparation for Observing

The October 8th MAS general meeting, 7:00 at UW Space Place, will be a discussion on planning an observing session.

The 7:00 - 7:30 period will be a "visitor/new member welcome" time. The meeting will be called to order at about 7:30 and the presentation will begin shortly thereafter.

Bring your favorite accessory box and star charts and be ready for a panel or round robin on preparing for and conducting an observing session. It could be a combination of show-and-tell with accessories and actual discussion of how you plan what you're going to observe and how you select proper eye pieces, etc.

 

August 23, 2010
Astrophotography

At the September 10th MAS general meeting, 7:00 at UW Space Place, John Rummel will talk about:

Astrophotography: Sometimes more art than science.

The 7:00 - 7:30 period will be a "visitor/new member welcome" time. The meeting will be called to order at about 7:30 and the presentation will begin shortly thereafter.

 

July 16, 2010
Dark Energy

The August 13th MAS general meeting, 7:00 at UW Space Place, will feature:

UW physics professor Peter Timbie speaking on the topic "Dark Energy".

This meeting will mark our return to the 7:00 start time, with the 7:00 - 7:30 period being loosely described as a "visitor/new member welcome" time. The meeting will be called to order at about 7:30 and the presentation will begin shortly thereafter.

 

July 21, 2010
Perseid Meteor Star Party at Donald Park

The meteor watching event is a go for tonight (Thursday) at 8:00 pm.

The MAS and the Friends of Donald Park invite you to observe the Perseids in this scenic Dane County Park on August 12 (Thursday), 8:00 pm.

Bring chairs, blankets, bug spray and a thermos of your favorite cool beverage. Plan to stay into the wee hours of Friday morning. The Perseids this year correspond to a very young moon so we will enjoy dark skies at the peak shower hours after midnight.

In the event of clouds/rain for August 12, we will reschedule for Friday, August 13, immediately following the MAS meeting at Space Place.

Donald Park is about 17 miles from Madison. The park entrance is on the south side of Highway 92, southeast of Mt. Horeb or northwest of County G.   Google Map (zoom in for more detail).

You won't want to miss this.

 

July 18, 2010
Star Party at Donald Park

Madison Astronomical Society and the Friends of Donald Park hosted an observing event at this new Dane County park on Sunday July 18th.

Photos of the Donald Park event

Donald Park is about 17 miles from Madison. The park entrance is on the south side of Highway 92, southeast of Mt. Horeb or northwest of County G.   Google Map (zoom in for more detail).

Other events put on by the Friends of Donald Park have drawn over 100 people. So we hope to see a lot of MAS folks there.

Those with telescopes can begin arriving about 7:30. Members may drive their cars down to the pavillion located just to the east of the parking lot to unload, and then park in the lot.

More information is available on page 3 of the recent Capitol Skies newsletter for July 2010.

 

July 2, 2010
Wisconsin Blue Book Feature Article

The feature article in the 2009-2010 Wisconsin Blue Book by Peter Susalla and James Lattis is titled

Wisconsin at the Frontiers of Astronomy: A History of Innovation and Exploration.

History from early days to the present, with many wonderful historic photographs.

 

June 18, 2010
Meteorites

At the July 9th MAS general meeting, 7:30 at UW Space Place, society member Matt Mills will present a talk:

Madison Astronomical Society Expedition to Recover Meteorite Fragments from the April 2010 Fall in SW Wisconsin.

Please come to the meeting and add your own meteorite-hunting stories.

 

April 21, 2010
Radio Astronomy

The May 14th MAS general meeting, 7:30 at UW Space Place, will feature UW Astronomy professor Dr. Snezana Stanimarovic. Her presentation will be about using the largest radio telescope in the world to study our Galaxy.

We will also discuss the MAS officer elections that will occur at the June 12th picnic, and we will produce a list of who will run for the various positions.

March 29, 2010
How-to

The Shop Talk at the April 9th MAS general meeting, 7:30 pm at Space Place, will center around eyepiece astronomy.

There has been a lot of discussion about creating documents MAS can make available to new and current members for equipment and observing recommendations and How-Tos, at both the novice and more advanced observing member levels.

So bring your ideas about the types of document and their content to the April meeting.

Hope to see you Friday the 9th.

Don Martin
President, Madison Astronomical Society

February 23, 2010
Neutrinos

UW graduate student Jon Dumm will be our guest speaker at the March 12th general meeting of the Madison Astronomical Society, 7:30 pm at Space Place.

Jon's presentation will emphasize physics analysis of the UW's Ice Cube Project.

January 26, 2010
Discussion

The topic at the February 12th MAS general meeting, 7:30 pm at Space Place, will be Shop Talk.

Details TBA.

November 21, 2009
Galileo at the Planetarium

The MAS meeting on Friday January 8 will be held at the MMSD Planetarium at Madison Memorial High School, 201 S Gammon Road. Note the 7:00 pm start time.

Directions to the Planetarium can be found on their web site at http://planetariumweb.madison.k12.wi.us or from Google maps.

The evening starts at 7:00 PM with a short informal gathering, followed by a presentation on the 400th anniversary of Galileo's observations of Jupiter.

On January 7 1610 Galileo observed with his telescope what he described at the time as "three fixed stars, totally invisible by their smallness," all close to Jupiter, and lying on a straight line through it.

With this observation, Galileo helped to complete the revolution started by Copernicus. Join the MAS on this special evening in celebration of the 400th year of Galileo's observations of Jupiter. Using the planetarium's simulation capabilities, we will recreate the sky as seen by Galileo over Padua that night. Memorial astronomy teacher Art Camosy will present a program highlighting the significance of this event in history, science and art.

November 21, 2009
Holiday Party

The December 11 MAS meeting will be our Annual Holiday Party at Space Place. An informal get-together starts at 7:00 pm, followed by a short business meeting at 7:30.

Plan to bring a dish to pass around and your own drinks, and if you have any piece of astronomy related equipment you'd like to ask anything about, bring that along and the knowledgable crew on hand that night will certainly be willing to help as much as they can.

October 1, 2009
Discussion

The topic at the November 13th MAS general meeting, 7:30 pm at Space Place, will be Shop Talk.

Details TBA.

September 17, 2009
Johannes Kepler

At the October 9th general meeting, 7:30 pm at Space Place, Jim Lattis will speak to MAS on Johannes Kepler: A mysterium historigraphicum.

Since 2009 is the 400th anniversary of Kepler's work on the orbit of Mars, it is appropriate to hear about his work as well as that of Galileo.

August 8, 2009
Doc Greiner's New Observatory

At the September 11th MAS general meeting, 7:30 pm at Space Place, Doc Greiner will give a slide show about his new facility.

The title is The Doc Greiner Research Observatories.

August 8, 2009
August Meeting and Discussion

There will not be a speaker at the August 14th MAS general meeting, 7:30 pm at Space Place,

The August General meeting topic is Shop Talk and is an opportunity for MAS members and guests to share information and advise on astronomy related topics.

July 1, 2009
July Meeting and Elections

At the July 10th MAS general meeting, 7:30 pm at Space Place, there will not be a speaker.

Since we did not have a quorum at the picnic in June, elections were postponed until July.

Please try to attend this meeting, so that we can elect officers.

March 1, 2009
Star Clusters

At the May 8th MAS general meeting, 7:30 pm at Space Place, we will have a presentation by Dr. Peter Frinchaboy III, Ph.D., NSF Astronomy and Astrophysics Postdoctoral Fellow, titled Star Clusters: 'Simple?' Stellar Populations.

In this talk, I will discuss the key role star clusters play in astronomy, from understanding how stars evolve, to gravitational dynamics, and even the calibration of cosmological distance. I will also discuss current complications being found from new detailed studies of these key objects.

January 28, 2009
MAS Young Astronomers Telescope Scholarship

Need a telescope but can't afford to buy one? Interested in learning more about using a telescope but don't have one?

The Madison Astronomical Society awards "scholarship" telescopes to deserving young people every year. These are loaner telescopes that the recipients may keep for one year, and they come with the expertise of a local astronomy club behind them.

To learn more and download your application, visit the MAS Telescope Scholarship page.

The deadline for applications is April 15, 2009, so get yours in soon!

January 11, 2009
Galileo in History

The April 10th MAS general meeting, 7:30 pm at Space Place, will feature a special presentation by Professor Michael Shank titled Setting the Stage: Galileo in Tuscany, the Veneto, and Rome

Professor Shank is with History of Science and Integrated Liberal Studies at the UW-Madison.

January 21, 2009
MAS Spring Banquet

The MAS Spring Banquet will be held this year at Space Place on Friday, March 13. Social hour will start at 6:00 pm and dinner at 7:00.

After dinner, Dr. Robert Benjamin will be giving a presentation titled Mapping the Milky Way.

MAS members should have received a recent email with the reservation form attached.

January 20, 2009
Astronomical Seeing

The February 13th MAS general meeting, 7:30 pm at Space Place, will have a presentation by MAS President Don Martin titled Seeing and Transparency.

December 31, 2008
Telescopes at U.S. Bank Eve

On New Year's Eve MAS will begin the International Year of Astronomy by bringing telescopes to Olbrich Gardens, Monona Terrace, the Historical Society Museum on State St., and Space Place for public viewing from 6 to 9 pm.

Information about the International Year of Astronomy 2009 is available at Astronomy2009.org and at Space Place.

October 18, 2008
Planetarium

The MAS meeting on Friday November 14 will be held at the MMSD Planetarium at Madison Memorial High School, 201 S Gammon Road.

The evening starts at 7:00 PM with a short informal gathering, followed at 7:30 by John Rummel's presentation on the MMSD Planetarium's Overhead Projector (with apologies to John McCain). A demonstration of the planetarium's all-sky projection capabilities, a short sky tour, and your questions answered.

September 19, 2008
MAS on the Radio

The WORT Radio Access Hour will feature MAS members Chris Zeltner, Jim Lattis, Wynn Wacker, and Don Martin in an open discussion and call-in program on Monday, October 6 at 7:00 pm.

Discussion topics may be available later. Be sure to listen.

September 10, 2008
Via Lactea

At the September 12 meeting, John Rummel and Mark Weller
will present a talk on Photographing the Milky Way.

August 12, 2008
What About YRS?

At the August 8 meeting, new MAS President Don Martin
began a discussion on the future of YRS and on ways to increase member interest in activities.

April 29, 2008
Planet Missions

The speaker for the May 9 meeting will be Sanjay Limaye,
from the UW Space Science and Engineering Center.

Sanjay will give us An Update on Current Planet Missions.

March 7, 2008
The End of the Astrolabe

At the Friday March 14 MAS general meeting at Space Place, Jim Lattis, UW Space Place Director, will talk about Christoph Clavius and the End of the Astrolabe.

The astrolabe was one of the most important tools of the astronomer from antiquity through the Early Modern era, but by 1600 was well on the way to obsolescence. By examining Clavius's astrolabe book, published first in 1593 and again in 1611, we can begin to see why astronomers were abandoning their venerable instrument--and the invention of the telescope had nothing to do with it.

February 9, 2008
Lunar Eclipse Events

February 20 lunar eclipse events at Space Place, Memorial High School Planetarium, and Sterling Hall.

Space Place: Presentation on lunar eclipses at 6:30pm. Eclipse viewing, 7 - 8:30pm.
Visit http://spaceplace.wisc.edu/ for more information.

Memorial Planetarium: Planetarium presentations at 6:30 and 7:45 (one hour) on the moon and lunar eclipses. Admission $2 per person for the indoor planetarium presentations. Outdoors (weather permitting), telescopic viewing of the eclipse. If weather prohibits the use of telescopes outside, the planetarium presentations will go on as scheduled. Contact John Rummel at darksky25@charter.net for information.

UW Astronomy Department: Astronomy graduate students will have a public viewing at the telescope at Sterling Hall, starting at 7:30 pm. Visit http://spaceplace.wisc.edu/ for information.

MAS members are invited and encouraged to attend both the Space Place and the Memorial High School Planetarium events. Bring your telescopes to set up and show the public a good astronomical time.

February 7, 2008
SALT

At the Friday February 8 MAS general meeting at Space Place,
Dr. Andrew Sheinis, UW Astronomy Dept, will discuss the Southern African Large Telescope.

SALT is the worlds largest optical telescope, with an aperture of 11 meters in diameter. The UW Madison Astronomy Department is a major member of the SALT consortium, with approximately 17% ownership.

In this talk I will describe the design and the status of this novel telescope, and talk about the astronomical goals we at UW have for it.

January 5, 2008
Dark-Sky Communities

At the Friday January 11 MAS general meeting at Space Place,
David Oesper will discuss towns built around astronomy.

Many observational astronomers and stargazers dream of someday living in a community with little or no outdoor lighting, and it is certainly possible to make such a community work, provided it is not too large.

In fact, two such communities already exist, and they have filled up rapidly: Deerlick Astronomy Village in Central Georgia, and the Arizona Sky Village in SE Arizona. But these communities cater to the wealthy.

Is it possible to create affordable, sustainable dark-sky communities for those of more modest means? Yes! David Oesper will present his vision of dark-sky communities where any of us could live and work.

July 22, 2007
Lunar Musings

At the Friday August 10 MAS general meeting at Space Place John Rummel's talk will be

The Moon and the Capitol: My 21st Century Stonehenge.

Philip Jackson will speak at a later date.

July 3, 2007
Observing

The Friday July 13 MAS general meeting at Space Place will be a discussion of our recent observing experiences.

Jane Breun wants to share with you her Jupiter observations. Please come with your own observations to share.

John Rummel's talk is postponed.

May 7, 2007
Outside the Visible

At the Friday May 11 MAS general meeting at Space Place, Chuck Forster will discuss Radio Astronomy.

This talk is rescheduled from November's snowed-out meeting.

April 11, 2007
Dwarf Planets

The Friday April 13 MAS general meeting at Space Place will feature Jane Breun on
What IS a "dwarf planet?": A brief overview of Solar System Nomenclature.

March 2, 2007
Show and Share

The Friday March 9 MAS general meeting at the new Space Place will present Equipment Expo, where members will bring in their favorite astronomy equipment. (telescopes, mounts, accessories, imaging devices, etc.) for members and guests to see, learn about, and explore.

January 26, 2007
Missions to Venus

At the Friday February 9 MAS general meeting at the new Space Place,
Sanjay Limaye, of the UW Space Sciences and Engineering Center, will present
Back to Venus: Venus Express and other new missions to Venus.

November 3, 2006
Radio Astronomy

At the Friday November 10 MAS general meeting at the new Space Place, Chuck Forster will speak about radio astronomy.

August 21, 2006
Star Party at YRS

The star party for MAS members at YRS, originally planned for Saturday August 19, was clouded out
and is rescheduled for Saturday August 26, from sunset to whenever.

As of noon on Saturday August 26, the weather is not promising. It is likely that the star party will have to be rescheduled yet again for a later date.

July 30, 2006
What Have You Observed Lately ?

At the Friday August 11 MAS general meeting at the new Space Place, Wynn Wacker will moderate a discussion of our recent observations.

Did anyone watch the encounter between the Great Red Spot and Red Spot Jr during July? How about the meteor shower July 28 -- anyone see meteors hitting the moon? Or -- whatever else you may have observed in the past few months.

June 30, 2006
Astronomy in New Mexico ?

At the Friday July 14 MAS general meeting at the new Space Place, John Rummel will present a short program entitled Doing Everything but Astronomy in New Mexico, about his recent trip to New Mexico Skies with Jeff Shokler.

As the title indicates, they did not enjoy favorable weather, but they did get some bird pictures and played lots of cards.


May 24, 2006
Dobsonian Telescope for Sale

George Urban of Kenosha has a Discovery DHQ 10 inch Dobsonian for sale.

DISCOVERY DHQ 10" 4.5 fl, Dob mount w/ metal handles, w/ telrad, w/ mirror adaptor. JMI DX 3 2", 1.25" focuser. 1.83" secondary enhanced pyrex. 1 - 25mm 1.25" abd 1 - 26mm 2" Super Plossl eyepiece. Dust covers. Excellent condition.

Details and photo are available at Astromart.

Call 262-551-0149 for more details, arrangements, and price, or email kenoshageorge@yahoo.com.

April 30, 2006
Total Solar Eclipse

At the Friday May 12 MAS general meeting at the new Space Place, Jane Breun will present Eclipsed in Turkey: the March 29, 2006 total solar eclipse.

My husband and I, along with 15 other eclipse viewers, spent eight days on a boat in the Mediterranean Sea, off the coast of Turkey, in order to view the March 29th eclipse.

The third contact diamond ring was the best I've seen (This was my fifth eclipse trip.), and there were several prominences visible, even though we are near sunspot minimum. The 360 degree twilight was very prominent for the four minutes of totality. All together a very successful trip!

April 10, 2006
Ancient Climate

At the Friday April 14 MAS general meeting at the new Space Place Prof. John Valley, will talk about A Cool Early Earth?

February 14, 2006
Annual MAS Banquet

The annual MAS banquet will be held Friday, March 10 at CJ's East. Social hour starts at 6 p.m. and dinner will be served at 7 p.m. The banquet replaces the meeting for the month of March.

Dinner choices are: prime rib for $26, chicken cordon bleu for $19, broiled walleye for $23, or vegetable stir-fry for $13.

Send your check payable to MAS for your selection(s) to Mary Ellestad, 2810 Mason Street, Madison, WI 53705 by March 1, 2006.

The speaker will be from the UW Astronomy Department, on SALT - the Southern African Large Telescope.

February 4, 2006
Superstring Cosmology

At the Friday February 10 MAS general meeting at the new Space Place the speaker will be Dr. Gary Shiu, of the UW Madison Physics Department, on Superstring Cosmology.

He will discuss how ideas from string theory can impact the way we think about the early universe and vice versa.

Bring your D-brane.

January 12, 2006
Near Galactic Neighbor ?

A huge but very faint structure, containing hundreds of thousands of stars spread over an area nearly 5,000 times the size of a full moon, has been discovered and mapped by astronomers of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS-II).

At an estimated distance of 30,000 light years (10 kiloparsecs) from Earth, the structure lies well within the confines of the Milky Way Galaxy.

...the most likely interpretation of the new structure is a dwarf galaxy that is merging into the Milky Way.

The new dwarf galaxy is found toward the constellation Virgo.

December 19, 2005
Mars in Review

At the Friday January 13 MAS general meeting at the new Space Place the speaker / moderator will be Jane Breun, on
Mars in Review.

Even though Mars did not have quite as large an angular extent as in 2003, its position so much higher in the sky made for a great observing season. Let's share our images, observing stories and general impressions at the next MAS meeting.

If you have observations to share, please let me know ahead of time, so I have some idea of how the program will go.

Email me, Jane Breun, at seniormixed@tds.net.

December 10, 2005
Brian Greene at UW

The UW Memorial Union Distinguished Lecture Series will present physicist Brian Greene on Tuesday, December 13, at 7:30 pm in the Memorial Union Theatre (call 262-2201 for tickets).

Brian Greene is one of the world's leading theoretical physicists. His latest book, The Fabric of the Cosmos: Space, Time and the Texture of Reality, spent 25 weeks on The New York Times bestsellers list and inspired The Washington Post to describe him as "the single best explainer of abstruse concepts in the world today." An expert in string theory, Greene introduces the audience to a concept that might be the key to a unified theory of the universe.

November 10, 2005
Spitzer Survey of Infrared Stars

At the Friday November 11 MAS general meeting at the new Space Place the speaker will be
Professor Ed Churchwell, of the UW Madison Astronomy Department, on New Results from GLIMPSE Survey.

GLIMPSE (Galactic Legacy Mid-Plane Survey Extraordinaire) is a survey of infrared stars made with the Spitzer Space Telescope. Professor Churchwell spoke last year about plans for the survey. Now he has more results to share with us.

October 25, 2005
Mars Events at Washburn and Space Place

UW's Washburn Observatory will host Mars viewings on:

Oct 26-28 from 7:30-10:30 pm

Oct 30 from 6:30-10:30 pm

Nov 2-4 from 6:30-10:30 pm

MAS members are encouraged to bring their scopes to Washburn (weather permitting) and are reminded that there are no power outlets.

And UW Space Place will present a Martian Halloween Oct 31:

Children's activities & replay of Orson Welles' War of the Worlds from 7-9 pm

and Mars Viewing from 9-10 pm.

October 5, 2005
Structure of the Milky Way

The speaker at the Friday October 14 MAS general meeting at the new Space Place will be
Jane Breun, on Understanding the Structure of the Milky Way.

We live in a barred spiral galazy, about 2/3's of the way from the center. How do we know this?
I will review the historical development of astonomers' understanding of the Milky Way's structure.

August 27, 2005
MAS Telescope Scholarship

The new Capitol Skies newsletter has an article about the winners of the 2005-2006 MAS Telescope Scholarship
Juan Rubalcava and Ian Jarvis, both juniors at West High School this fall.

There are also comments from last year's winners David Yu and Lena Song.

Congratulations!

July 19, 2005
Orion XT10 Dobsonian

Orion XT10 Dobsonian telescope for sale. All new, used twice. Stored inside; climate controlled. I'm in the service and leaving the country.

Please call if interested. Brock ---715-341-5706 Home; 715-570-1701 cell

Telescope - Orion SkyQuest XT10, original price $499

Padded carrying case - original price $90

Orion full-aperture solar filter - original price $139

Orion Variable Polarizing filter - original price $30

Orion SteadyPix Universal Digital & Film Camera Mount - original price $35

June 25, 2005
July Meeting at YRS

Note that the Friday July 8 general meeting will be held at YRS, starting at 7:30, with observing afterward. Space Place is still under construction.

June 11, 2005
Space Place Move

Jim Lattis has asked MAS members for help in moving equipment to the new Space Place.

Meet at the old Space Place on Saturday, June 25, at 1:00 pm.

May 11, 2005
Total Solar Eclipse

At the May 13 MAS general meeting Jane Breun will discuss the South Pacific total solar eclipse of April 8, 2005.

"On board the M/V Discovery, we only had 33 seconds of totality, but it was spectacular! Because the moon's apparent size matched the sun's apparent size so closely, the sun's chromosphere was visible during the entire eclipse. My husband, Bob, took his best eclipse pictures yet with his new Lumix digital camera with 12x Zoom."

April 9, 2005
Star Party at YRS

There will be a star party for MAS members at YRS on Saturday May 7, from sunset to whenever.

This is the Saturday before the general meeting on May 13.

April 2, 2005
Young Astronomers' Club

The speaker at the April 8 MAS general meeting is Jim Kotoski.

He will be discussing his concept for a Young Astronomers' Club for next fall and will then be asking for ideas from us.

February 9, 2005
MAS Young Astronomers Telescope Scholarship

Get applications for the annual MAS Telescope Scholarship well before the April 15th deadline for submissions.

February 9, 2005
Mars Rovers

The speaker at the February 11 MAS general meeting is Sanjay Limaye, senior scientist at Space Science and Engineering Center, UW Madison.

Spirit and Opportunity on Mars: Still Going.....

The two Mars rovers have now spent more than a year on Mars, far longer than originally planned or anticipated. The long survival on Mars has allowed them to explore a far greater vista and accumulate strong evidence of past liquid water on the surface of Mars through the discovery of minerals. The more they explore, the more are the questions about the past history of water on Mars.

At the same time, the European Mars Express orbiter has been observing the surface from a suite of instruments which have led to some interesting findings, e.g the discovery of atmospheric methane. The radar on Mars Express, which is expected to shed some light on sub-surface water has not yet been utilized, but it is hoped that in the near future it too will obtain some data.

The Mars findings are sure to influence the future missions and is already underway for the next missions.

March 19, 2004
For Sale: Celestron Ultima 8-in SCT

MAS member Matt Mills has a telescope for sale: details here

July 28, 2004
Dark Sky Opportunity

The Madcity Paddlers have invited MAS members to join them at a group camp site at Wyalusing State Park the weekend of Aug 13- 15.

Wyalusing has an observatory run by the Star Splitters and there should be space to set up personal telescopes there.

For more details, contact Kathy at 231-1375.

June 19, 2004
Transit of Venus Images

The Photo Gallery page has some new images of the Transit of Venus on June 8, 2004, by MAS members Douglas and Mercedes Russell and John Rummel. (Scroll to the bottom of the page.)

May 21, 2004
John Rummel Photo on Astronomy Picture of the Day

One of MAS member John Rummel's photo compositions has been selected as the Astronomy Picture of the Day.

The photo is a composite of the Phases of Venus over the past six weeks.

It is the picture for May 21, 2004, and will remain posted for a long time after that. (Images go back to June 1995).

Nice work, John.

May 15, 2004
MAS Telescope Scholarship

The photo shows the winners of the 2004-2005 MAS Telescope Scholarship
Lena Song and David Yu and last year's winner Elise Gorchels (center).

All three are students at Madison West High School.

Since there were a number of very good applicants this year, two awards are being made in 2004 and two telescopes will be available.

MAS telescope expert Tom Jacobs (right) explains the operation of the 4.5 inch equatorial reflector to Lena, Lena's dad, and David.

Congratulations!

May 12, 2004
Outreach and Education Award

John Rummel is this year's winner of the MAS Education Outreach Award.

Congratulations, John!

February 18, 2004
Annual MAS Banquet

The annual MAS banquet will be held Friday, March 12 at JT Whitney's, 674 South Whitney Way, in Madison. Social hour starts at 6 p.m. and dinner will be served at 7 p.m.

Dinner choices are: chicken cordon bleu for $18, prime rib for $18, or vegetarian pasta for $13.

Send your check payable to MAS for your selection(s) to Mary Ellestad, 2810 Mason Street, Madison, WI 53705 before March 5, 2004.

The speaker will be Astronomy Professor Chris Anderson, speaking on "Renaissance Astronomy: setting the date of Easter".

February 18, 2004
Birdseye View of YRS in Winter

A flock of migrating geese sent in this aerial view of YRS, blanketed in snow.

The photo is also linked from the YRS picture page.

September 25, 2003
MAS Boy Scout Merit Badge Clinic

On Saturday November 1st 2003 at 2:00pm the MAS will be conducting an Astronomy Merit Badge Clinic at the University of Wisconsin Space Place. For more information visit the webpage for this event.

Boy Scouts and members should periodically check this website for updates.

MAS members interested in participating in this event, please email AJ Carver. Members are needed to bring their telescopes for the observing session and to assist in the classroom portion of the event.

October 8, 2003
Moon Over Monona Terrace

MAS conducted the annual Moon Over Monona Terrace public star party on the roof of Madison's Monona Terrace Convention Center from 7:30 until 9:30 pm on Saturday, October 4th (postponed from Friday October 3rd because of clouds).

Many hundreds of people enjoyed looking at the Moon and Mars through telescopes and talking with MAS members. Two video hookups displayed images on TV monitors.

July 3, 2003
Image by Mark Hanson in Astronomy Magazine

MAS member Mark Hanson's image of the Witch Head nebula is given a full page in Astronomy's gallery, the very last page of the magazine.

Quite an honor!

Mark's images are available on his website.

June 10, 2003
MAS Telescope Scholarship

The winner of the 2003-2004 MAS Telescope Scholarship is
Elise Gorchels, pictured here with her parents, George and Linda.

Elise will be a senior at Madison West High School this year. Until next May, she will have use of an 8-inch Dobsonian telescope, several eyepieces, and star charts.

In her application for the scholarship, she recalled a memorable experience from the Leonid meteor shower of last year:

"I decided to wake up early to observe the peak hours. I set my alarm for 3 am, but woke at 2:30. I couldn't fall back asleep, so I went to watch TV. They were talking about the shower on one of the networks, so I grabbed three blankets, some slippers and a pair of socks and went out to my back deck. I lay on my back on the frosted picnic table to look at the sky. Fortunately, my house blocked out a good amount of moonlight, and my neighborhood is relatively dark. I counted some 300 meteors before I finally came in around 5 am, numb to the bone and ready for coffee, but still excited."

She plans to come to the July meeting to meet the group.

Congratulations!

May 22, 2003
Lunar Eclipse Pictures

John Rummel has posted a nice set of images of the May 15 lunar eclipse on his website.

Have a look !

April 12, 2003
Outreach and Education Award

A picture of Jim Kotoski, Science Teacher at Spring Harbor Middle School in Madison and recent winner of the Outreach and Education Award, is now online.

March 14, 2003
Comet Observations by Matt Mills

At the Yanna Research Station MAS Secretary and avid observer Matt Mills used a Doc. Greiner 12" LX200 and the ST-7 ccd camera (on loan from Doc. Greiner) to estimate the magnitude of comet 2002 T7.  Matt's observation was of such quality that it has been posted on the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory Comet Observation home page:
http://encke.jpl.nasa.gov/RecentObs.html#02T7

Matt has also written an article describing his convenient tripod dolly that has been posted on http://www.cloudynights.com/, a website dedicated to review of astronomical equipment.

Congratulations Matt!

February 6, 2003
A Second Image by Mark Hanson Voted Best

An image of M44 by MAS member and astrophotographer Mark Hanson has been recognized as "Best of January 2003" by Digital_Astro. His image of Jupiter was runner-up against other Jupiter images. Congratulations Mark!

And an image of M31 by Mark was recently recognized as "Best of December 2002" by Digital_Astro.

Against strong competition the nearly 3000 members of Digital_Astro voted for Mark's images to receive the honor.

The winning images can be seen at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/digital_astro/.

Past winners and contenders for this month's best image can be seen at http://velatron.com/dca/challenge/.

Submitted by A. J. Carver.

October 19, 2002
Moon Over Monona

MAS conducted the annual Moon Over Monona public star party on the roof of Madison's Monona Terrace Convention Center from dusk until 10:00 pm on Friday October 11th.

Members brought about 25 telescopes and binoculars, as well as a telescope equipped with a video camera and displaying an image of the Moon on a TV. Several hundred people enjoyed talking with members and viewing the Moon, the Andromeda Galaxy, and other celestial objects.

Mike McDowell took this picture of John Rummel and A. J. Carver setting up before dark.

June 29, 2002
Astrophoto Gallery

The new Astrophotography Gallery will display some of the best imaging work of MAS members.

A new Observing page provides a link to the gallery from most of the other pages of the website.

March 26, 2002
Comet Ikeya-Zhang Photo

Greg Sellek's recent image of comet Ikeya-Zhang has been published in the Spaceweather.com Photo Gallery

There are more comet images on Greg's website.

CNN has aired the image of the comet during several segments.

Don't miss it!

Wisconsin Dark Skies - New email discussion list for local dark sky issues

From Karolyn Beebe

The extraordinary beauty of the stars in an unpolluted sky belongs to everyone, but it's washed out in wasted light over communities worldwide. The Wisconsin Dark Sky forum is where advocates in the growing movement to stop light pollution in Wisconsin can exchange ideas and information. It's open to anyone interested in outdoor lighting designed and regulated to improve visibility, save energy, enhance the nighttime environment and preserve our precious night sky. To join, just point your web browser to:

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/WisconsinDarkSky

Welcome to the M.A.S. Web Site!

Please direct inquiries regarding web site content to webmaster@madisonastro.org



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