Iowa County Astronomers was formed in September, 2006. We are a group of like-minded astronomy enthusiasts that meet monthly to discuss current topics in space science and spend time observing together. All are welcome at our meetings, we have no dues and our only requirement is the ability to look up and say "Wow!" This website will keep you up to date on the latest astronomy happenings in Southwest Wisconsin and meeting times/places/agenda.

We have an email list that we use for announcements and discussion. If you would like to join, visit our Google Group page and click on the join button.

For more information, contact John Wunderlin.

- Club Calendar

Next Meeting Friday, August 22, 2014

Our next meeting will be Friday, August 22 at 7:30pm at Quality Liquid Feeds in Dodgeville

Great Wall @6:00 with Phil Burgess.  Let me know if you are joining us.  I'll get there early and grab a table for us.

Meet and Greet (10 minutes)

August Theme: "Asteroid Impacts, Stromatolites, and the Origin of Life."

Guest speaker will be Phil Burgess.  Phil is an enthusiastic mineral and fossil collector.  He shares his home in Prairie du Chien with over 100,000 geological specimens.  Many of these are part of a rotating display at the Driftless Area Wetland Centre in Marquette, Iowa where he makes presentations to school groups.  Phil will be bringing along representatives from his collection including meteorites, impact breccias, stromatolites, and Precambrian samples and sharing the stories of how astronomy and geology come together in rocks.

Bonus August Event:  “Roving the Red Planet: A Field Geologist Explores Gale Crater”  Dr. Rebecca Williams, Senior Scientist, Planetary Science Institute


Jeff P. has arranged a special guest speaker for Saturday, August 23 7:30pm at the Governor Dodge Amphitheater (park sticker required).  There will be at picnic at 6pm at the shelter by the Amphitheater.  Bring a dish to pass.  After the talk, we will be setting up telescopes to share views of Mars before it sets at 10:35.

Dr. Rebecca Williams will speak on the most recent results from the Mars Science Laboratory Mission, a roving geochemist on Mars!  On August 5, 2012, NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory rover Curiosity landed next to a ~5 km high mountain in northwest Gale Crater.  With the most sophisticated suite of scientific instruments ever employed to investigate the martian surface housed within a small SUV-sized rover, Curiosity has been assessing the character of the ancient environments based on examination of clues contained within sedimentary rocks almost 4 billion years old.  In this presentation, Williams will share her experience as a member of the science team.  She will discuss why Gale Crater was selected as the landing site, how the rover landed using the ingenious ‘sky-crane’ system developed for this mission, how the science team participates in daily operations from their home institutions, and the latest insights from observations along Curiosity’s journey after a full martian year (2 Earth years) on Mars.


Dr. Williams has a PhD from Washington University in St. Louis and is currently a Senior Scientist at the Planetary Science Institute.   As a co-investigator for NASA's Mars Science Laboratory team, Dr. Williams helps develop and test scientific interpretations of what is observed by the Curiosity rover on Mars, including planning science campaigns and observations.  She uses her experience as a field geologist with interest in water-carved landscapes to aid the science team in reconstructing the history of water preserved at Gale Crater. The overarching objective in her research is to understand the role of water in shaping the surface of Mars using image and elevation datasets, building upon insight from field research on rivers systems and their deposits in Utah, California, Australia, and Chile. She has served in the role of principal investigator in seven NASA-funded projects and as a team member with the MOC, CTX and THEMIS VIS cameras. In 2006, she was awarded the NASA Carl Sagan Fellowship for Early Career Researchers. With the Curiosity rover, she is conducting her first ground-based exploration on Mars.  She is the lead author on the first surface mission results from the Curiosity rover, “Martian Fluvial Conglomerates at Gale Crater” published in Science last year.  She lives in Waunakee, WI, with her husband Scott and their two daughters, Sydney (11) & Meghan (7).

Observing .

After the meeting (around 9:00) at Bethel Horizons if skies are clear.
"There are no passengers on Spaceship ICAstro.  We are all crew."

Meeting dates and times for 2014 (typically the last Friday before new moon) 




Jan 31

7:00 PM

2014 Planning

Feb 28

7:00 PM


Mar 28

7:00 PM

Lunar Eclipses

Apr 25

7:00 PM

J. Anderson/Impact Cratering and Planetary Geology

May 23

7:30 PM

Favorite Accessories/4 Planets/DSOs/Camelopardalids

Jun 27

7:30 PM

Gov. Dodge Picnic/Planet Trek

Jul 25

7:30 PM

Wyoming Valley School Star Party

Aug 22

7:30 PM

P. Burgess/Meteorites

Sep 19

7:00 PM

Planning Your Observing Night (Jean)

Oct 17

7:00 PM

Naming ExoPlanets (Lynda)/Solar Eclipses (John H.)

Nov 21

7:00 PM

Daystargazing: Clouds, sun dogs, etc. (Jackie)

Dec --

Solstice Party.  Our 100th Monthly Meeting!

Maps for observing locations:

Check the current agenda for our observing location. Links to maps for each site are below:

Quality Liquid Feeds - Bethel Horizons - Twin Valley - Cox Amphitheater

Need Help with your Telescope?

We often hear from people who own a telescope and don't know how to use it. If you'd like to learn how to use a telescope, bring your telescope to any of our meetings- we've got lots of experienced people who would be glad to help!

MMSD Planetarium Shows

The MMSD Planetarium offers public shows on the 3rd Wednesday of the month at 6:30 and 7:45. Click Here for their website.

Quick links

Astronomy Picture of the Day- Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.

The Sky This Week - Weekly astronomy column by David Oesper

UW-Space Place - Space Museum in Madison! Regular presentations and guests, but it's kind of hard to find!

Wisconsin Astronomy - website for planning the International Year of Astronomy for Wisconsin

Ed Ting's Guide to buying a telescope

Website hosted and sponsored by Spike-a Bahtinov Focusing Masks