Category Monthly Meeting

MAS March Meeting

The April 2024 Total Solar Eclipse: Prepare to be Gobsmacked!

March 2024 MAS Monthly Meeting

Bob Hamers and Jeff Shokler will help you prepare for your total eclipse experience by sharing the insights, tips, and lessons learned from their own eclipse experiences. During the talk, they’ll help you consider your eclipse viewing and/or imaging goals, discuss the many ways one can enjoy experiencing a total solar eclipse (including the numerous phenomena to keep an eye out for), and share important safety considerations.

If photographing the eclipse is one of your goals, they’ll also talk about the kinds of imaging gear that is most appropriate for photographing total eclipses, and how to plan and prepare for taking pictures – particularly under the demanding, tight timelines total eclipses present imagers...

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MAS February Meeting

Chasing ghost particles: searching for neutrinos from high-energy sources in real time.

MAS February 2024 Monthly Meeting - Jessie Thwaits

Neutrinos are tiny, nearly massless particles that interact very rarely. Because of this, astrophysical neutrinos can travel very far, all the way to the South Pole, carrying information directly from their sources. The IceCube Neutrino Observatory has detected these astrophysical neutrinos, but only a few sources have been identified thus far. We search for these neutrinos from transient sources – sources that vary in their brightness over time, such as gamma-ray bursts (GRBs), supernovae, novae, or mergers of compact objects. These sources often have very energetic processes happening inside them to accelerate particles and produce these neutrinos...

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MAS January Meeting

Searching for Exoplanets Born Outside the Milky Way

MAS January 2024 Meeting - Bob Aloisi

Over 5500 exoplanets have been found orbiting stars in the Milky Way, with projections that most stars host planets. This poses the question of whether planets also exist orbiting the remnant stars of smaller dwarf galaxies that merged with the Milky Way, and if so, how do they differ from their Milky Way counterparts? VOYAGERS Views of Yore – Ancient Gaia-Enceladus Exoplanet Revealing Survey is a radial velocity search using precision spectrographs to find exoplanets orbiting low metallicity ([Fe/H] from -2.8 to -0.x, Vmag 8 to 10 stars born in the dwarf galaxy Enceladus, which merged with the Milky Way galaxy about 10 Gyr ago...

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MAS December Meeting

Annual Holiday Party and Telescope Clinic

December MAS meeting - Annual Holiday Gathering and Telescope Clinic

So You Want To Buy a Telescope?

There will be a short (15-minute) presentation by John Rummel, former president and current historian of the Madison Astronomical Society:

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 similar finger foods are preferred for minimal cleanup.

This meeting will take place in-person at our usual Space Place classroom location...

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MAS November Meeting

Love Letters to the Universe

MAS November Meeting with Kelly Kizer Whitt

“My twin passions have always been writing and astronomy, and I’ve been lucky enough to have a career that combines the two. As a science journalist, I focus on astronomy and earth topics, and as an author, some of my books center on space. I will talk about the path of my career and how I branched off into creative endeavors and also share some of my writing.”

Kelly Kizer Whitt has been a science writer specializing in astronomy for more than two decades. She began her career at Astronomy Magazine and is currently a writer and editor at EarthSky.org. She’s also an author of nine books, including a children’s picture book, Solar System Forecast, and a young adult dystopian novel, A Different Sky.

This meeting will take place in-person at our ...

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MAS October Meeting

Increasing Vision

Rick Wayne, October 2023 MAS Speaker

A photographer’s personal journey into deep-sky astrophotography, from mild interest through the slow but inexorable descent into madness. Lessons learned. Pitfalls explored (from the bottom). Equipment choices, techniques and resources for beginners: how to put a toe in the deep-sky or planetary waters and avoid most of the piranhas.


Rick Wayne is a husband, a dad, and a software engineer for UW Soils, where he writes agronomic decision-support software (motto: “Sweet Bog where do I put all these tons of cow poop?”)

He is an Outdoor Emergency Care instructor and runs the regional instructor-development program for the Ski Patrol, and holds National Appointment #11910...

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MAS September Meeting

Why Solar Eclipses Matter and Why Totality Matters More Than Anything

MAS September 2023 Meeting: John Rummel speaking on solar eclipse preparation

There are two important solar eclipse events coming up: the October 14 2023 Annular Solar Eclipse, and the April 8 2024 Total Solar Eclipse. This talk will be a general introduction to solar eclipses with a quick look back at the August 2017 event (seen by many MAS members) but a thorough look ahead to the two upcoming events. Why should you care and how should you prepare? Everything you need to know about planning for and then observing these two events will be covered.

John Rummel is a long-time member and past president of the Madison Astronomical Society. He made his reservations for a place to stay in Texas nearly 3 years ahead of the April 2024 total eclipse!

This meeting will take place in-person at ...

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MAS August Meeting

The James Webb Space Telescope Peers Back In Time 43 Minutes

MAS August 2023 Meeting

Though we may think of the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) as primarily intended to observe the early universe and the most distant galaxies, it also counts observing bodies in our own solar system as part of its mission. As part of JWST’s Early Release Science program, a group of astronomers and planetary scientists proposed and and was selected to observe the Jupiter system, including its atmosphere, rings, and several satellites. Many of that progam’s observations have now been completed and results are being published...

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MAS July Meeting

Teledyne Imaging: The largest camera company you have never heard of!

Chris Draves - MAS July Speaker

Teledyne Imaging’s image sensors, cameras, and imaging components have played central roles in groundbreaking projects like the Hubble Telescope, the Mars Rovers, and the James Webb Telescope. We will explore the latest industry trends in CCD and CMOS sensors, and delve into Teledyne’s extensive influence on astronomy and the space program, revolutionizing the way we observe and explore the cosmos.

Chris Draves is an accomplished professional with over 20 years of experience in the scientific camera and image sensor industry...

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MAS June Meeting

Launching the future astronomer: Innovation in physics education

June MAS Speaker: Dr. Duncan Carlsmith

Dr. Carlsmith will describe innovations in an introductory physics course providing modern research skills through immersion in big and small, arcane and applied science. Astrophysical topics include asteroids, exoplanets, black holes. Fun topics include computer vision, dappled light, the world’s simplest digital microscope, and mobile phone astrometry.

Professor Carlsmith is a faculty member of the Physics Department at the University of Wisconsin-Madison...

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