Category Featured Events

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 ...

Read More

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...

Read More

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...

Read More

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...

Read More

MAS May Meeting

Cosmic Messengers

Dr. Ellen Zweibel will present "Cosmic Messengers"

At the May 12, 2023 meeting of the Madison Astronomical Society, we’ll have a special presentation by Dr. Ellen Zweibel of the UW Madison Astronomy and Physics departments: “Cosmic Messengers.”

Astronomers have long observed the Universe in visible light and its shorter and longer wavelength cousins. Now, subatomic particles and ripples in spacetime have been added to the mix. I’ll describe how these different sources of information can be pieced together to observe some of the most energetic events in the Universe, now and in the past.

Bio: Ellen Zweibel has been a professor of Astronomy and Physics at the University of Wisconsin since 2003. Prior to that, she served on the faculty of the University of Colorado...

Read More

MAS April Meeting

Protecting the Night: Light Pollution Reduction in Madison

John Rummel - MAS April 2023 Meeting Speaker

Could Madison WI be a dark sky community? The Common Council seems to think so and has taken action to this end. This talk will focus mainly on the problem of light pollution generally, how Madison is faring specifically, what the future may hold if we do nothing, and will end with the Common Council’s recent action, and why this is reason for us all to hope.


John is a long-time member and former president of the MAS and has recently taken an active role in advocacy of dark skies and adoption of smart lighting choices in places like Madison.


This meeting will take place in-person at our usual Space Place classroom location (2300 S. Park St., Madison) at 7:15pm. It will also be streamed live to our Youtube channel at 

Read More

MAS March Meeting

Washburn’s Other Observatory, the Student Observatory, 1879-1960

Jim Lattis, March MAS Meeting Presentation

This talk will consider the origins and history of the UW Student Observatory, the telescopes it has been home to, and the scientific research carried out there up until its removal from the UW campus in 1960.

Jim Lattis is director of UW Space Place and Faculty Associate in the UW-Madison Astronomy Dept. Lattis is a historian of astronomy with specialties and publications in several areas including astronomy in the age of Galileo, astronomy in Italy, and astronomy in Wisconsin. Lattis also teaches introductory astronomy courses, including a course on the History of Astronomy and Cosmology. He holds a PhD in History of Science from UW-Madison.

This meeting will take place remotely via Zoom.

Read More

MAS February Meeting

How do bacteriophages interact with their host bacteria in space?
A Presentation by Vatsan Raman, UW Biochemistry

February MAS monthly meeting

Bacteriophages, or ‘phages’, are bacterial viruses that are the most abundant organism on Earth. While phage research has progressed considerably terrestrially, how phages and bacteria interact in microgravity is largely unknown. Microgravity presents enormous challenge for microorganisms, which are greatly affected by gravity to mediate cell-cell and cell-phage interactions. To elucidate these interactions, we explore how T7 bacteriophage interacts with E. coli BL21 in microgravity onboard the International Space Station (ISS)...

Read More

MAS January Meeting

Two Talks on Astrophotography

January MAS meeting - two talks on astrophotography

The January MAS meeting will feature a focus on astrophotography with presentations by two experienced practitioners:

Randy Trank on “Lucky Imaging and the Moon”

“Lucky Imaging” is a phrase used for certain types of astrophotography so I’ll explain that and show an example by processing a lunar photo.

Randy’s background:
Randy became interested in astronomy under the dark skies of Lake Ripley when he was 12 with an Edmund Scientific scope. He loved the Apollo missions. Randy has dabbled in astrophotography for 50 years, avoiding the moon. He is now returning to his lunar roots and wishing he hadn’t avoided the moon for so long! Randy is a member of the Rockford Amateur Astronomers.

Tim Wilson on “Data collection, Organization, and...

Read More

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...

Read More