Category Monthly Meeting

MAS December Meeting

Holiday Party and Telescope Clinic

December 2022 MAS Meeting - Holiday Party and Telescope Clinic

The return of the Madison Astronomical Society’s annual Holiday Party and Telescope Clinic.

Do you have a telescope that’s giving you problems? Has it been gathering dust in your closet instead of giving great views of the moon and planets? Are you stuck and can’t get to the next step? Our experts can help you diagnose the issues and get it figured out. Bring your telescope to this meeting and we’ll take a look at it with you.

Also, feel free to bring a holiday snack to share with the group. Cookies, brownies or other finger foods preferred.

There will be a short presentation by John Wunderlin, co-founder of the Iowa County Astronomers:

Title: So You Want To Buy a Telescope?

John will share his thoughts on telescope gear after almost...

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MAS November Meeting

The Chemistry of the Universe

Susanna Widicus Weaver, The Chemistry of the Universe

Summary: Molecules make up the world around us and serve as the building blocks to life as we know it on Earth. The questions remain as to how these molecules form and are incorporated into planets, and whether life might form elsewhere in the universe. Astrochemists study the chemistry of space and the evolution of molecules as stars and planets form. In this talk, I will overview my astrochemistry research program that incorporates laboratory spectroscopy, observational astronomy, and astrochemical modeling to decipher the chemistry that might lead to life in the universe.

Susanna Widicus Weaver, Vozza Professor of Chemistry and Astronomy at the University of Wisconsin is an expert in prebiotic astrochemistry...

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MAS October Meeting

The Birth of the Madison Astronomical Society

History of MAS October 2022 Monthly Meeting

A presentation by John Rummel. In the mid-1930s, as the Great Depression continued to ravage the nation, group of Madison men and women came together around their common interest in astronomy and formed a club. Remarkably, almost 90 years later, today’s MAS still bears a striking resemblance to the original group as it took its first steps. This presentation will introduce a few of those founders and share a few of the stories that have come to light after lying forgotten for decades.

This meeting of the Madison Astronomical Society will be presented both live in-person at Space Place and online via YouYube. To watch online, visit our YouTube channel.

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MAS September Meeting

There’s an App for That? Astronomy Software for the Amateur Astronomer

September MAS Presentation by Jeffrey Shokler

Is it going to be clear tonight? What’s the moon’s phase and what will I be able to see along the terminator? How bad is the smoke going to impact transparency for imaging tomorrow? Which moon of Jupiter just snuck out from behind the limb of the planet? How should I best orient my camera field of view to frame the DSO I want to shoot tonight? I haven’t seen the sky in months, what’s going to be up there this weekend when it is supposed to clear out?

Any of these questions sound familiar? If so, join Jeff as he shares his favorite “go-to” mobile, laptop, and browser-based applications and software for amateur astronomy...

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MAS August Monthly Meeting

Stellar spectroscopy and the formation of the chemical elements

Jim Lawler

Dr. Jim Lawler, UW Madison Dept of Physics, the Arthur and Aurelia Schawlow Professorship

I will talk about how we measure spontaneous decay rates between two energy levels of an atom or ion, how stars produce spectra, and links between basic spectroscopy (like my group’s activities) and astronomy. Nearly everything humanity knows, or may every learn, about the detailed physics and chemistry of the remote Universe is from spectroscopy. I will mention the importance of quantization and the future of the quantum internet if time allows.

Before retiring in May of this year, Jim Lawler was the Arthur and Aurelia Schawlow Professor of Physics at the UW Madison...

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MAS July Monthly Meeting

The Magellanic Stream: A Case Study in Interacting Galaxies

Scott Lucchini

Two of the Milky Way’s nearest neighbors, the Large and Small Magellanic Clouds, have been dancing around each other for billions of years. This dance has led to a huge amount of gas getting thrown from their disks and out into what we know as the Magellanic Stream. In my work, I run high resolution simulations of these interactions to better constrain the history and future of the Magellanic System. Some of our recent results have shown that a warm circumgalactic medium of warm gas around the Magellanic Clouds may play a large role in the formation and current properties of the Stream and that the Stream may be up to five times closer than previously thought...

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MAS June Monthly Meeting

Doing Research with the Tianlai Array in Xinjiang, China

Banner image for "Doing Research with the Tianlai Array in Xinjiang, China

UW undergraduate astronomy student Gage Siebert will present a talk on his research in radio astronomy:

The Tianlai radio telescope array is one of several experiments working to map hydrogen density over large volumes of the universe. I’ll talk a little about how I came to work on Tianlai and describe how the experiment works. Then, we’ll talk about how these measurements relate to the earliest times in the universe and what they can teach us about the expansion of the universe and dark energy. Finally, I will describe how Tianlai is also used to search for extraterrestrial intelligence.

Gage Siebert graduated from UW Madison in May of this year with his bachelor’s degree and will be attending Arizona State Universi...

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May Monthly MAS Meeting

Galactic Structures: Where do they come from? Where do they go?

Our observations of galaxies, from nearby to the edges of the observable universe, reveal striking diversity of size, environment, composition, and apparent structure. Ranging from the clumpy irregulars, through the massive round ellipticals, to the coherent disks — probing the mechanisms responsible for these formations in nature requires a wide range of investigative tools from theoretical observations to detailed spectroscopic observations. Barred spirals comprise 50% of the observed population of nearby disk galaxies yet the physical mechanisms that create and sustain these features are not well understood despite persistent study for nearly 200 years...

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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...

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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...

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