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, starting at 7:00 PM. We congregate at 7 PM for a Meet and Greet with the meeting starting at 7:30.  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.

    MEETINGS FOR 2017  
Jan 21 App Crazy

This month’s meeting is your chance to show off astronomy related apps on phones, tablets, and computers. Do you have a nice star chart app? Bring it in! Or do you have an app on your phone or computer that you can use to control your telescope mount? We’d like to see that as well. Essentially we would like to see the apps that our members and guests are using to enrich their astronomy experiences.


We will have adapters for apple phones/tablets, Android products, and computers to connect to the projector. Also, we have access to the internet if you want to demonstrate something online.

Feb 18 The Michelson-Morley Experiment and LIGO’s Detection of Gravitational Waves Do thoughts of special relativity and warped space-time make your head spin? Sam Wormley will join us this month to explain some of the technology used to study such things. Specifically, he will compare the interferometer used in Michelson-Morley Experiment of the 1880s and the LIGO interferometer used to detect gravitational waves in 2015 and 2016.

Sam is a retired Associate Scientist and Principal Investigator at Iowa State University and a retired Adjunct Professor of Astronomy at Marshalltown Community College. Sam regularly teaches science classes for the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Iowa State and for the RaySociety at Drake University.
Mar 18 The Search for Life Part III – So, Where is ET? “So, where is ET?” Astronomers have had success finding planets, water and organic compounds elsewhere in the universe. Many are starting to think that exo-life could be common. If it is, why haven’t we found any evidence so far of intelligent, technological life? Where is ET?  
Apr 15 Telescope Design Drew will talk about the pros and cons of various telescopes and lens designs  
May 20  Climate Change from an  Astronomy Point of View Can what we know about astronomy help inform our discussions of climate change? AAAA’s Rick Whitten will talk about how the science of astronomy, including black body radiation, Milankovitch cycles, and atmospheric windows, can help us understand Earth’s climate.  
June 17 AAAA Club Picnic    
July 15   Massimo Marengo is an Associate Professor of Physics and Astronomy at Iowa State Univrersity.  His scientific focus is on variable stars, and disks in young planetary systems.  These two topics converge on a system he has been working on.  You may have read about the "alien megastructure" star (aka Tabby's star which -spoiler- doesn't really have an alien megastructure around it, but is nevertheless a very interesting and mysterious system).
The system after all may have what appear to be "eclipses", just of  something else, around another star.
Aug 19

No Meeting

Many of the members will be out of town for the Solar Eclipse.  
Sept 16 Mira Variables and the Fate of the Earth. Tentative by LeAnn Willson at the Iowa Star Party  
Oct  21 The Peppercorn Model of the Solar System Rory Moe will be the presenter. The peppercorn model is a scale model of the solar system that demonstrates at the same time both the sizes of the planets and the distances between them.  
Nov 18 The Carrington Event Ed Engle will be the presenter.  In September 1859 Richard Carrington and Richard Hodgson independently made the first observations of a solar flare. But this wasn’t just any solar flare — it was a truly giant flare with a correspondingly giant coronal mass ejection (“What is a coronal mass ejection (CME)?” you ask. You’ll just have to come to the meeting to find out!). About 18 hours later, when the CME reached earth it caused incredible aurora visible to the equator. It caused havoc with anything electrical such as telegraph systems. The event affected people across the entire planet. In the modern age with transcontinental power and communications infrastructure, these relatively rare events take on a great deal of importance. Join us at the November meeting as we talk about the Carrington event itself and what humans need to do to prepare for the next one!  
Dec 16 Christmas Party This is a party time for members.  
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