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.  TBD means we don't know yet who will be speaking.  We will continue to update this as we get more information.   Please keep checking back.  Our December meeting will be our Christmas Party for members.  More information will be available in the next newsletter.

Jan 18 Movie Night We will be showing the DVD "Undaunted: the Forgotten Giants of the Allegheny Observatory" popcorn and drinks will be provided.  This is a free event.  
Feb 15 Climate Change Due to inclement weather Sam Wormley's talk on Climate Change has been rescheduled for August.  
Mar15 How Big, How Fast, How Far? The beautiful stars and planets that we see in the sky from our backyards at night seem to be just a bit higher than the clouds but the truth is they are so far away that it is really hard to even imagine.  AAAA club member Richard Gee will try to help us grasp just how big our solar system and the universe really is with some familiar, down to earth, objects.  Come expecting to be awed and enlightened!  
Apr 19 The Fate of Our Sun Some of the most beautiful and interesting objects amateur astronomers like to observe are called Planetary Nebulae.  We know that Planetary Nebulae form in the late stage of the life of stars like our Sun. However, in recent years it has become evident that not all sun-like stars form planetary nebulae. Dr. Lee Anne Willson of ISU Astrophysics Department will review the late stages of stellar evolution for stars like the Sun, discuss what we know about the processes that form planetary nebulae, and give our best current answer to the question: "Will the Sun Ever Form a Planetary Nebula?"  It sounds a little technical, but don't worry, Dr. Willson is great at making technical subjects easy to understand for everyone.  
May 17 Telescope Mounts Unwrapped Telescopes are not very useful unless they are supported by a good mount. The question is: How do I choose the one that is best for me? This month club members will demonstrate the setup and use of 3 popular telescope mounts: the Dobsonian mount, the Fork mount and German Equatorial mount. We will look at some of the advantages and disadvantages of each kind as well as sharing some pointers for setting up and using computerized goto mounts.
June 21 Telescope Maintenance and Setup This will be our date for the Star-B-Q. Picnic will start about 5:30. Hamburgers and hotdogs/brauts will be provided by the club. Please bring sides such as baked beans, chips etc. Solar filtered telescopes will be available to view the sun, weather permiting. After the feast we will enjoy a presentation explaining the advantages and disadvantages of different kinds of telescopes and how to set them up and maintain them.
July 19 Robots in Space Part 4
Evan Zerby will be presenting the 4th in the series of Robots in Space.  Come and here about Pluto.
Aug 16 Climate Change In the words of John Holdren, President Obama's science adviser, "is  already well beyond dangerous and is careening toward completely unmanageable."  Furthermore, the destabilization of climate is now believed to be more or less permanent in human timescales. Geophysicist David Archer puts it this way: the climate impacts of releasing fossil fuel CO2 into the atmosphere will last longer than Stonehenge.  Longer than time capsules, longer than nuclear waste, far longer than the age of human civilization so far.  Join us for a lively discussion, as Sam Wormley who recently taught a class on this controversial topic for the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) brings us up to speed on the latest thinking on this issue.
Sept 20 The Kepler Mission: Ushering in a New Era for Exoplanets and  Stars Come and listen to Steve Kawaler review some of the amazing exoplanet discoveries, along with work they've done using the 99.97% of the data obtained by Kepler that doesn't involve new planets.  He will also discuss the 'second life' of Kepler following failure of its primary pointing system - the K2 mission, which will search for planets around low-mass stars.  
Oct  18 Video Night Join the Ames Area Amateur Astronomers as we relive the Apollo 11 and Apollo 14 missions to the moon this Saturday, October 18 at 7:30 at the Story County Conservation Center.  For those of you old enough to remember watching them when they happened, these videos will bring back some exiting memories.  For all of us it will be a reminder of how far we have come as we view the quality of the images from the moon that were amazing back then compared to the incredible images we get from the rovers on Mars and the many spacecraft we have sent into the farthest reaches of our solar system.  
Oct  25 Story County Conservation Halloween Hike This will be in addition to the regular meeting.  The Halloween Hike this year did not fall on the meeting night, but we will be assisting with this as well as having our normal meeting.  
Nov 15 Binoculars in Astronomy
Usually the first optical instrument any of us look through (not counting eye glasses) is a pair of binoculars. Also, one of the most common questions we, as amateur astronomers, get is "What sort of telescope should we buy for our daughter, son, niece, nephew, or grandchild?" Usually our first response is to suggest a pair of binoculars.
So tonight's topic is binoculars. We'll look at (and through) a bunch of different kinds of binoculars. And we'll talk about how they work and some good ways to use them to enjoy the night sky.  Feel free to bring any binoculars you might have. If it's clear we'll do some observing afterward.
Dec 20 Christmas Party This is a party time for members.  
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