Category Featured Events

April MAS Monthly Meeting

Devoured Worlds: The Search for Planet-Ingesting Stars in Open Clusters

Melinda Soares-Furtado will talk about the observational signatures that are left behind when stars consume their own close-orbiting planetary companions, the ways in which we are searching for these events, and why finding cannibal stars in open clusters is of critical importance to our understanding of stellar and planetary astrophysics.

Dr. Melinda Soares-Furtado is a NASA Hubble Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She has a BS in Physics from the University of California, Santa Cruz, and a Ph.D. in Astrophysical Science from Princeton University...

Read More

MAS March Monthly Meeting

Bending Under Pressure: What Lies Beyond a Galaxy

Cosmology tells us that roughly only 5% of matter in the universe is made up of normal atoms and matter that we’re familiar with. However, when astronomers try to take account of the matter they can see inside of galaxies, they find something puzzling – some of it is missing! So, where could it possibly be? It turns out there’s a good chance that it’s not inside of galaxies at all, but completely outside of them in a hard-to-observe gaseous state. When there are thousands of galaxies clustered together, this gaseous medium gets hot enough for us to see it at X-ray wavelengths, but in smaller groups of galaxies (typically 10s of galaxies), it is still difficult to observe and account for...

Read More

MAS February Monthly Meeting

How to See Around Corners

The light collected by a camera consists of multiple components: The direct component of light that traveled directly from a surface in the scene to the camera and many multibounce components made up of light that has been reflected more than once within the scene. The direct component carries the information about things in the line of sight of the camera. It is used to form a normal camera image. The multibounce components contain additional information about other objects that the light reflected off on it’s path from a light source to the camera.

Non-Line-of-Sight (NLOS) Imaging systems reconstruct images of scenes using this indirect light from reflections off a diffuse relay surface, like a wall or the ground...

Read More

MAS January Monthly Meeting

IceCube Computing Systems

Steve Barnet MAS January 2022 Speaker

Science is heavy! Teasing out faint signals from the most remote and extreme places in the universe is challenging scientifically, and technically. It takes tons (literally) of data storage, and a lot of computational capacity to collect and sift through the data looking for interesting signals. Steve Barnet has worked on the computing and data collection systems for the IceCube Neutrino Observatory for over 15 years. In this talk, he will provide a behind-the-scenes look at the computing systems powering one of the most unique instruments ever built.

Steve Barnet earned his B.Sc. in Computer Science from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire in 1994...

Read More

MAS December Monthly Meeting

Telescope Buying Clinic

MAS Telescope Clinic
If it’s December, it’s time for the telescope clinic. Gift-giving season means you may be on the giving or receiving end of a telescope gift soon. Let’s make sure you can avoid the most common mistakes when purchasing a telescope.

We’ve been doing this event for years, usually live. This meeting will be our second consecutive virtual version of the telescope clinic. We’ll do our best to share the critical info with you, and then allow plenty of time for questions and answers.

We hope you can join us!
Read More

MAS November Monthly Meeting

Adventures in Science Outreach: From Comets to Star Gazing and Everything In Between

Kay Kriewald

Whether you are speaking to a third grader or an adult, understanding science can be easy when the ideas are communicated effectively. I will give a brief history of my time as outreach specialist with the UW Space Place and explain why I think outreach is a vital part of the UW’s mission. I will then list the top ten things I have learned over the past 20+ years about presenting science to the general public.

Kay Kriewald has a background in teaching and tutoring elementary and middle school students in science and math. She has been an outreach specialist at Space Place since 1995. She hopes to retire soon but she is still having too much fun.

Due to the continuing high levels of infectio...

Read More

Virtual Moon Over Monona Terrace

Free Event

8.8 day old moon

Friday, October 15, 2021
7:30 – 9:30PM

Take a live guided tour of our Moon and other celestial objects in our solar system with members of the Madison Astronomical Society (MAS).

Program Highlights:

· Track #1 – Live Telescope Feed (weather permitting) – Explore the surface of the Moon and other celestial objects through telescopes provided by MAS members.

· Track #2 – Sky Talk (virtual planetarium sky show) – Take a virtual tour of the night sky using sky simulation software. Two different 20-minute programs will be presented and repeated.

· Track #3 – YouTube Channel (informational and educational videos) – Visit our YouTube channel and select from a number of videos, presented by members of MAS, to enhance your event experience.


Read More

MAS October Monthly Meeting

Modeling Global Light Pollution

David Lorenz, October 2021 MAS Speaker4

In this talk, I discuss my light pollution atlas, light pollution modeling, and recent trends in light pollution across the world. A light pollution atlas (artificial night sky brightness) is distinct from the maps that show the lights as they would appear from orbit in space looking down. These space-view maps are the input data to a model of the propagation, extinction, and scattering of light in the atmosphere. The output of the model is the estimated artificial light pollution at zenith...

Read More

MAS September Monthly Meeting

Solar Imaging 101

Bob Hamers September MAS meeting

Our nearest star – the Sun – offers an ever-changing variety of astronomical phenomena, including prominences, sunspots, filaments, and prominences, that reveal the sun’s weather and can be observed from earth. As we come out of the solar minimum, solar activity is already rapidly ramping up with sunspots and solar storms. In this talk, I will give an introduction to solar imaging, some of the equipment and techniques involved used by amateur astronomers, with some examples from my own work.

Bob Hamers is a professor of chemistry at UW-Madison with a longstanding interest in space and astronomy. At UW his research centers on using light and electrons to characterize solids and nanomaterials...

Read More

MAS August Monthly Meeting

Can the Milky Way Cast a Shadow?

Milky Way Shadow

Stories of the Milky Way casting a shadow are common but details are elusive. Whenever someone wants to brag about the great dark skies they experienced they often trot out the “it was so dark you could see your shadow by the light of the Milky Way” line. Asking follow-up questions results in repetition and hand-waving.

But could it be true? Is it possible? After all, the Milky Way is large, diffuse, low contrast, and faint. The sun and moon cast shadows. Bright point sources cast shadows. It’s even said that Venus or Jupiter can cast shadows. Can the huge Milky Way, spread across 90 degrees of sky (or more), cast a shadow? In this talk, we move beyond hearsay, legend, and myth and attempt to nail down some facts and experimental results...

Read More