Category Featured Events

MAS July Monthly Meeting

Solar System Remnants

Jordan Marché

The July meeting of the Madison Astronomical Society will again be held online. Our guest speaker is Jordan Marché of the UW Madison. Jordan’s talk is entitled: “Solar System Remnants.”

The ‘golden age’ of planetary exploration continues unabated. Along with all of the major planets and their principal satellites, spacecraft have explored the dwarf planets Pluto and Ceres, the Kuiper Belt Object Arrokoth (formerly Ultima-Thule), together with a number of large and small asteroids and comets. This talk presents an overview of many of the latest surveys and discoveries concerning these ‘minor’ members of the Solar System, along with implications for how they have redirected the evolution of life here on Earth...

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MAS June Monthly Meeting

MAS History Project – MAS Turns 90

UW Students' Observatory from the mid-70s

The Madison Astronomical Society is turning 90 next year. All this spring the History Committee has been delving into the archives, interviewing surviving members, pouring over newspaper microfiche, and turning over rocks. Come see some of the surprises we’ve discovered.

This photo was shot at the Oscar Mayer Observatory (in Fitchburg) sometime in the mid-1970s by one of the Explorer Post Scouts. This observatory used to be the UW “Students’ Observatory” and from 1880 to 1960 sat on Observatory Hill right beside the Washburn Observatory...

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MAS May Monthly Meeting

Mining the Spitzer Space Telescope Data Archive for Dust

MMSD Planetarium Team

Geoff Holt was accepted into the NASA/IPAC Teacher Archive Research Program (NITARP) this past year which teamed him up with other teachers around the country and an astronomer from CalTech/JPL. This program aims to give teachers experience doing actual astronomy research, and they can get students involved if they wish. Over the past year, Geoff and five James Madison Memorial High School students have been participating in this research team. Their goal has been to mine the Spitzer Space Telescope data archive in search of sources that have an excess of infrared light compared to a black body curve...

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MAS April Monthly Meeting

On-Line Monthly Meeting - Members Only

MAS is back!

We’re still observing public health advisories to avoid any face to face meetings so for our April meeting, MAS is going virtual!

Friday, April 10 our own Jeff Shokler will present “Wonders of the Universe: Exploring the Night Sky Through Astrophotography.” During his presentation he will share images captured of a wide variety of astronomical objects including the Moon, planets, lunar and solar eclipses, star clusters, nebulae, galaxies, and much more. Over the course of the presentation he will take the audience on a journey from objects close to home to those found in some of the most distant reaches and earliest time periods of the universe...

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MAS March Monthly Meeting

Prof. John Valley

CANCELLED DUE TO COVID-19 PUBLIC HEALTH RECOMMENDATIONS

Analysis of terrestrial zircons yields radiometric ages nearly as old as the Earth, but these ages (4 – 4.4 billion years old) have been challenged. Questions around Uranium-Lead (U-Pb) radiometric dating geochronology have been in play for over 100 years, and were first resolved in 2014 for a 4.374 billion year old zircon. These new results based on oxygen isotopes show that most of the Hadean Eon (ca. 4 – 4.4 billion years ago) was not “hell-like” as commonly believed and implied by the name. The earliest Earth was indeed hot, violent and inhospitable, but by 4.3 billion years ago its surface had cooled and the steam atmosphere condensed to form habitable oceans...

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MAS January Monthly Meeting

Landscape Astrophotography – Diane Ramthun

Diane Ramthun is a Wisconsin-based photographer who enjoys doing night sky landscapes. Her talk will focus primarily on viewing and photographing the dark skies over Lake Superior.

Diane: Years ago, while sailing into the remote reaches of Lake Superior, I saw the brilliant stars and Milky Way in the dark night skies for the first time. I wanted to capture what I saw and so began my interest in night sky photography. Capturing the connection of light between sky and earth has been my objective. At night over Lake Superior, the stars, Milky Way and planetary bodies cast vibrant and glowing reflections on the waters...

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MAS November Monthly Meeting

Tales and Tails of Star Clusters – Kyle Cudworth

Kyle Cudworth

Star clusters have been critical to our studies of stars and of our galaxy, as well as other areas of astrophysics. Besides their scientific importance, many are also beautiful to look at through a telescope of any size. I will discuss various topics involving star clusters, with a number of examples from my research through the past 45 years

I will make some remarks on the current status of Yerkes Observatory, but the majority of my time will be spent discussing my research on star clusters.

About the Speaker:
Kyle Cudworth, former director of Yerkes Observatory in Williams Bay, WI, and Prof. Emeritus, The University of Chicago.

Cudworth’s interest in astronomy dates to learning a bit about constellations as a Boy Scout, and...

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MAS October Monthly Meeting

Astrobiology: OHLALA Project (Origins of Life, Artificial Life, & Astrobiology)

Lena Vincent

Description: OoLALA was created to bring together scientists and engineers who are working to solve some of the deepest mysteries associated with life’s origins and distribution in the universe, as well as inspire others to join the effort. In this presentation, I will talk about the launch of this new initiative and discuss examples of OoLALA research being conducted right here in Madison, including my own on the chemical origins of life on Earth.

About the Speaker: Lena Vincent obtained her Bachelor’s degree in Molecular & Cell Biology from California State University, Long Beach and was then awarded a research fellowship by the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine at City of Hope Cancer...

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MAS September Monthly Meeting

The first billion years on Earth and Mars: A geologist’s perspective – Clark M. Johnson

Clark M. Johnson

Despite the likelihood of early habitability on both Earth and Mars, the geologic evolution of these two planets, and the rock record they preserve, is quite different. Plate tectonics on Earth played a central role in evolution of our biosphere, and yet has destroyed much of the early Earth rock record, creating great challenges for finding evidence for early life on Earth. Mars did not have Earth-style plate tectonics, but the evidence is clear that Mars was habitable very early in its history. Preservation of the early Mars geologic record is excellent, raising the possibility that it might contain evidence for the earliest life in the Solar System...

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Donald Park Star Party

2017 Donald Park Star Party

The Donald Park star party is a family friendly event at a lovely county park. This is a chance to see the stars and planets through many different telescopes and binoculars – bring your blanket or lawn chair and sit back later in the evening for a night of watching meteors.

Presentation for guests on meteor showers and planets by the Madison Astronomical Society before the stars come out. Sunset is about 8:08 pm, observing planets can begin about that time with fainter objects as it gets darker. Temps usually fall a bit after sunset so dress accordingly.

Donald Park of Dane County
1945 State Road 92, Mount Horeb, Wisconsin

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