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Madison Astronomical Society - News Flash!
November 16, 2018
Annual Telescope Clinic

The Friday, December 14 meeting, 7:00 pm at UW Space Place, will be our Annual Telescope Clinic and Holiday Party.

There will be a short presentation on telescope type, operation, purchasing advice, etc. We also invite members and guests to bring their questions and even their telescopes, especially if they're having problems with them or have questions about operation.

Feel free to bring snacks and non-alcoholic beverages to share and celebrate the winter solstice!


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, 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.


November 16, 2018
Jupiter Red and Saturn Tan

At the Friday, January 11, 2019 meeting, 7:00 pm at UW Space Place. Dr. Larry Sromovsky will discuss The origin of red features on Jupiter and the tans of Saturn.

Details to follow ...


November 16, 2018
Landscape Astrophotography

John Rummel, will give our presentation on Landscape Astrophotography: How to Capture the "Wow", at the Friday, February 8, 2019 meeting, 7:00 pm at UW Space Place.

Have you been impressed (and envious) of the beautiful night landscape/sky shots you’ve seen floating around the internet? The odds are pretty good that the camera you currently have is capable of the correct exposures to capture shots like this yourself.

This workshop will explore the photographic techniques necessary to capture thrilling and inspirational shots of the night sky with impressive terrestrial landscapes. The workshop will proceed in two parts: 1) camera settings, techniques and compositional considerations, and 2) post-processing of images to bring out that magical "wow" factor that will have people asking if they can use your photo as a desktop background or their instagram profile.


May 26, 2018
Future Meetings and Events

Our new website will be along soon...


Past Events

November 3, 2018
Science and the Public Trust

Kelly Tyrell, science writer for the UW Madison, will give a special presentation: Has science lost the public trust?, at the Friday, November 9 meeting, 7:00 pm at UW Space Place.

Some say astronomy is a "gateway science." With compelling images, a long and storied history, and the power to spark curiosity, astronomy has often succeeded better than other sciences at capturing public attention. With news announcements like the first detection of high-energy neutrinos at IceCube and the audible "chirp" of gravitational waves from LIGO, the scientific community celebrates the opportunity to share with others the excitement of the field. Astronomy seems to have earned the public’s trust.

But we also live in an age where people dismiss information off-hand if it doesn’t fit their world view. Some despise expertise. Hosts of people deny the human causes of climate change, blame childhood vaccines for unrelated conditions, and believe the Earth is flat. Meanwhile, political leaders appear to ignore scientific evidence and, in some cases, actively work against it.

Has science in general lost the public trust? If so, how can we earn it back?

Kelly Tyrrell is a scientist-turned-science-writer at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, with a BS in Zoology from the University of Florida and an MS in Cellular and Molecular Biology from UW–Madison. In 2011, she was a Mass Media Science and Engineering Fellow with the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), learning journalism – trial-by-fire – at the Chicago Tribune. Tyrrell has also worked as a health and science reporter for the News Journal in Wilmington, DE, and as a freelance writer for the Philadelphia Inquirer. In 2014, she joined the University Communications team at UW–Madison, where she covers research of all kinds. In 2018, she published an online storytelling project called Origins, which features a chapter on the Southern African Large Telescope. She considers it an immense privilege to have visited the largest optical telescope in the Southern Hemisphere.


September 10, 2018
Fall Moon Over Monona Terrace

Moon Over Monona is a GO for tonight, Friday October 19.

We will be on the roof of Monona Terrace with telescopes.

The Fall Moon Over Monona public star party will be Friday, October 19 - 6:30pm - 9:00pm.

Plan to attend MAS' greatest (semi)-annual event -- right in downtown Madison.


October 6, 2018
The lens behind the man: The biography of a telescope

At the Friday, October 12 meeting, 7:00 pm at UW Space Place, Jim Lattis, Director of UW Space Place, discusses the history of Sherburne W. Burnham’s celebrated telescope, a 6-inch Clark refractor built in 1870.

Lattis documents the locations around the country and around the world where the telescope was set up to view various celestial events, and how the telescope came to be in the possession of the UW Madison.

Burnham was a 19th century amateur astronomer who was a professional court reporter in Chicago, and eventually completed important research on double stars.

Biography: James Lattis is the Director of UW Space Place and a member of the astronomy faculty at UW Madison. He is an expert on the history of astronomy and observational astronomy. Dr. Lattis is a Fellow of the American Academy in Rome and authored the book, “Between Copernicus and Galileo”.


August 7, 2018
Satellite Data

At the Friday, September 14 meeting, 7:00 pm at UW Space Place, Dr. Tracey Holloway. will give a presentation on Using Satellite Data for Air Quality and Public Health Management.

Satellite data have been able to “see” chemicals in the air - most invisible to the human eye - since the mid-1990s. However, the use of satellite data for air quality management and public health assessment has been limited. A number of barriers limit the wider adoption of satellite data, including the fact that satellite data do not fit into the methods for compliance with the Clean Air Act set forth by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. However, advances over the past few years have paved the way for increased utilization of these valuable, space-based air pollution measurements.

Dr. Tracey Holloway leads the NASA Heath and Air Quality Applied Sciences Team (HAQAST,, the nation-wide effort from NASA to improve the utilization of satellite data by air quality and public health organizations. In her talk to the Madison Astronomical Society, Dr. Holloway will provide an overview of current and future advances in satellites to detect chemicals in the air, and how her team is working to connect this technology with applications and decision-making on the ground. More info on Dr. Holloway can be found at


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