Ashton Observatory is open to the public Saturday evenings, April through October. Free admission. Programs begin at 8:00 p.m. (click HERE for map)
Yes, the solar eclipse is almost here - August 21. In central Iowa the Sun will be 95% covered at maximum stage. The eclipse begins about 11:45 a.m. with first contact, and reaches maximum about 1:08 p.m., then takes another hour and half to gradually return to full Sun. We do have a dwindling supply of solar viewers available only during our Saturday Public Night events at Ashton Observatory, first come first serve basis. Here is a link from NASA for reputable sources of solar viewers.
Never look at the Sun without protection. Looking through a camera viewfinder is the most dangerous, so beware that mistake. A pinhole projector can show you the shape of the Sun without looking directly at all. Totality can only be seen if you are on the centerline of the eclipse path, for example in Missouri or Nebraska.
The Des Moines Astronomical Society, Inc. (DMAS) is here to promote interest in astronomy, and to share opportunities for viewing the night sky. Our Ashton Observatory is home to two 16 inch diameter telescopes. From there you will be able to see the Milky Way and study the deep space objects that are so fascinating, guided by the friendly, enthusiastic and experienced members of DMAS.
Click here to download a monthly target list or star chart, and to learn more about what you can see with your naked eye, or through a telescope this month. Each day the sky advances a bit towards the west. Everything moves 30 degrees per month. It's always a new sky, night after night.
Click here to learn more about scheduling an event for your group. April through October, Ashton Observatory is open to the public every Saturday night, or may be available for private groups on other days. Join us for a night under the stars. Look through our telescopes and see the wonders of the universe! We enjoy sharing our hobby with everyone.