The AAAA and the Story County Conservation Board host monthly educational programs for the public from January to November. Meetings are on the 3rd Saturday of each month, except December, at 7:30 PM. Visitors are encouraged to join us. A list of the programs for this year can be found below.

All programs will be held at the Story County Conservation Center at McFarland Park unless noted otherwise in the program for that month. Presentations are subject to change.  Afterwards, weather and and sunset permitting, we will move to the club's Observatory located just East of the Story County Conservation Center for astronomical observing. Telescopes and binoculars will be available for your viewing pleasure.

At each of our meetings we include a short description of a few of the astronomical sights that can be seen during the coming month.

All information is not complete.  We will continue to update this as we get more information.  

Jan 17 Amateur Astro-Imaging with a DSLR Believe it or not, amateur astronomers with modest equipment are taking pictures of galaxies and nebulae that rival and in many cases far surpass the images from major observatories produced just a few years ago.  Award-winning astro-photographer (and AAAA club member) Jim Bonser will share some of his insights on imaging with a Digital Single Lens Reflex (DSLR) camera as well as some of the image processing techniques he uses to make stunning astrophotos.  
Feb 21 Searching for Dark Matter

Dark Matter and Dark Energy are huge mysteries in Astronomy.  The observational evidence for both will be presented, including the observations and experiments under way to understand what Dark Matter is.

Mar 21 Charles Messier and the Messier Catalogue Are you up for a Messier Marathon?  March is one of the best times of the year to attempt to see all 110 objects in the Messier Catalog.  Come to hear about this fascinating astronomer nicknamed the “Comet Ferret” and his popular catalog of deep sky objects; The Messier Catalog.  
Apr 18 Astronomy Day A talk on astronomy with the younger astronomers in mind.  There will be activities and demonstrations geared for Elemetary/young teens.  The talks and demos will mainly focus on telescopes, meteors and planets.
May 16 Eclipses in 2015 and Preparing for the Total Solar Eclipse in 2017 We were treated to two Solar and two Lunar eclipses in 2014 visible from here in Iowa.  There will be four eclipses in 2015 as well, but only the two lunar eclipses will be visible for us.  Come and find out what eclipses are and how best to observe them.  The total solar eclipse in 2017 will also be discussed so we can all be prepared for it.

June 20 Solar Picnic Solar Picnic - We will have the solar picnic for our June meeting.  We will start to eat at 6 PM and then a presentation on getting to know your observatory at 7.  The club will provide the meat, bring a side dish and plastic plates/flatware/cups and join us.  
July 18 Pluto and New Horizons Join us as Evan Zerby of Iowa State University guides us through the arrival to the last unvisited planet! (Or is it?) In part five of the acclaimed Robots in Space series Evan spins the tale of the mission to the most loved planet in the solar system!  What will we find?  Moons?  Rings? Join us for Robots in Space V and find out!  Come and listen to Evan Zerby tell us about Pluto and the New Horizons mission.  
Aug 15 2015 Iowa Star Party Join us at the Iowa Star Party.  
Sept 19 Women in Astronomy Women in Astronomy - Come out and join us for a talk by Deb Bonser on Women in Astronomy - both at the telescope and supporting their Astronomers  
Oct  17 New Horizon Spacecraft uncovers Pluto Al Johnson will lead a discussion of the latest findings from Pluto. There will be new photos from the latest flyby of Pluto and discussion (maybe some debate) about what these pictures tell us.   
Nov 21 Globular Clusters Globular clusters are spherical collections of stars that orbit galaxies. These beautiful objects are a favorite target for backyard telescopes and star parties. A globular cluster may have anywhere from hundreds of thousands to millions of stars packed into a (relatively) small space. Our Milky Way galaxy has about 160 known globulars orbiting around it currently. Some other galaxies such as the Andromeda galaxy have several hundred.

Globular clusters are in many ways mysterious. The stars inside tend to be very old, some perhaps as old or older than their host galaxy. Astronomers don't know for sure how they formed and how they evolved over time. So there's lots of opportunities for research into their nature.

Join us as we explore these beautiful enigmas that dance around our galaxy and other galaxies. If it's clear, we'll go out afterward and view some of them up close (at least virtually!) and personal.
Dec 19 Christmas Party  
    If you would like to see a preview of what we have planned for 2016 so far, please click here. 
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