Application Forms and Information

Thank you for your interest in the Milwaukee Astronomical Society (MAS). To begin your membership with the MAS, you will need to complete an application form. For your convenience we have both online and printable forms.  You should also read and understand the points discussed below.

If you are interested in giving a membership to the MAS as a gift, we have special application forms.

We can accept checks as payment for dues or you do it electronically via PayPal (if you apply online.) The address for checks will be displayed after your application is submitted.
 

Online Forms

Click here to apply using our online form.

Click here to apply for a gift membership using our online form.
 

Printable Forms

Membership Application Form (pdf)

Gift Membership Application Form (pdf)
 

Information

THE ORGANIZATION

The Milwaukee Astronomical Society is a nonprofit organization incorporated in the State of Wisconsin. The Society offers membership to all people of all ages. Founded in 1932, the Society was incorporated in 1934 and is recognized by all Federal and State of Wisconsin tax authorities as tax exempt. Membership dues and assessments, investments and savings, donations, bequests, endowments and income from programs sponsored on behalf of the general public fund the Society’s activities and the operation of the Observatory, The Society does not receive State or Federal funding. The Society is governed by an eleven member Board of Directors elected to three-year terms by the membership, and by five officers elected by the Board.  The MAS has no paid staff members. All services performed for the Society by its members are strictly voluntary.

MEMBERSHIP

Membership is open to all individuals and families with an interest in learning more about the science of astronomy. Dues rates for all classifications are shown on the accompanying membership application form. Definitions of membership classifications are as follows:

  • INDIVIDUAL  – For single individuals and excludes any family members.
     

  • FAMILY – If more than one individual in a family is interested in membership, you should select this category. With it all members of your immediate family (spouses and children) are full members of the society with the following exceptions: (1) only one household member's email is used for correspondence which includes the Focal Point newsletter, and (2) and that same email is used for receiving messages from the MAS Google Group.
     

  • STUDENT – This category is individuals who are under the of age 18. A family membership for this classification is not available.

The Society operates on a September 1 to August 31 fiscal year. Dues are due by August 31stof each year to maintain in good standing. Note that new members joining the Society between December 1 and June 1 receive a partial credit of dues paid toward what is owed in the next fiscal year. Credit amounts are available on the renewal cards sent out in August. New members joining between June 1 and December 1 are 100% prorated and are not required to pay dues again until August 31st  of the following year. 

SUBSCRIPTIONS AND PUBLICATIONS

Discounted subscriptions are available to all members for Sky and Telescope and Astronomy magazines. If you're interested in receiving this discounts, send an email to subscriptions@milwaukeeastro.org. Current subscriptions can be converted to the Society's rates upon expiration.

The Society offers its members the opportunity to purchase various publications including books and calendars at reduced rates. Such offerings are made at various times during the year. Further details are available at meetings and/or through our newsletter. 

NEWSLETTER

Membership in the Milwaukee Astronomical Society includes a subscription to our newsletter. The Focal Point is the newsletter of the Milwaukee Astronomical Society. It is published at least bi-monthly on the first week of January, March, May, July, September and November, and other months when needed. It is either e-mailed or sent via US Mail to the member’s home immediately after printing. It is also posted here on our website. The Focal Point contains news and articles pertinent to the Society and the amateur astronomical community. Each issue includes meeting information, Society officer contacts, and an events calendar along with news about the Observatory library and an Observatory Keyholder schedule. The Focal Point is considered the lifeline of the MAS.

WEBSITE

The MAS website is milwaukeeastro.org. Up to date information is available here including an event calendar, contact information and additional information about the organization.

GOOGLE GROUP

The MAS maintains an email discussion forum via Google Groups.  Members are encouraged, but not required to join.

THE OBSERVATORY AND LIBRARY

The MAS Observatory and Library, 18850 W Observatory Road, New Berlin, WI (one mile west of Calhoun Road) is available for members use any night a Keyholder is available. On Saturday evening, a Keyholder will open the Observatory and be available in instruct new members on the use of the equipment. A list of scheduled Keyholders for a six- to eight-week period is listed in the Focal Point and the website. Members are invited to participate in ongoing observing programs like variable stars, standard and grazing lunar occultations, deep-sky objects, and the planets, and in short-term projects like eclipses, comets, meteor showers, and auroras. Information on these observing programs are distributed by e-mail or on our website.   

Members can use the Observatory grounds when unattended by obtaining the combination to the left hand lock on the entrance gate. This combination allows access to the Observatory’s parking lot and an outside electrical power connection. The lock is changed at least once a year during the winter (and more often as necessary) and all active members may have the combination.  There is also a $10 key allows members to access our two 18” f/4.5 Obsession Telescopes in two roll off sheds on the Observatory grounds and an 8" SCT in a roll off shed. This key does not allow entry to any of the main buildings. Members who become active users of the facility and pledge to help maintain it on a regular basis may petition the Board of Directors for full Keyholder status at a cost of $50.  

The Observatory houses a good collection of popular books on all astronomical topics, reference volumes, star atlases, charts and slides. The library contains a selection of vertical files on numerous topics of astronomical interest, as well as MAS historical material. A collection of audio and videotapes as well as computer software is also kept on site. Most of these materials are available to members for checkout on Saturday Member’s Nights and other times when a Keyholder is at the Observatory or by appointment with the weekly Keyholder. 

MEETINGS, CLASSES, WORKSHOPS, AND SPECIAL EVENTS

The MAS conducts general membership meetings from September through May of each year. At the December meeting the Society sponsors an member’s dinner at the observatory. Also the Society sponsors a picnic in July or August. Meetings are usually held on the third Friday evening each month, however the exact date can vary depending upon schedule conflicts.  A 20- to 30-minute business meeting precedes the main program. The Society usually invites a professional astronomer or scientist for a formal one-hour long presentation about a topic of relevance to astronomy or the allied sciences.

Occasionally, the Society sponsors a field trip in lieu of a membership meeting. A favorite trip in past years has been to the Adler Planetarium in Chicago, IL, with optional excursions to the Field Museum of Natural History, the Shedd Aquarium, and the Museum of Science and Industry. The Society has also sponsored trips to Yerkes Observatory in Williams Bay, WI, and the astronomy departments of UW-Madison and UW-Whitewater.

Once or twice each year the members gather for a camp outing in Northern Unit (Greenbush) of the Kettle Moraine State Forest or in Rib Lake Wisconsin. These weekend excursions usually occur in August, late-September or early-October for the purposes of escaping light polluted Milwaukee skies to pursue deep-sky observing at its finest. MAS “camp-outs” provide an opportunity for all members to enjoy their hobby in the great outdoors among fellow amateur astronomers. 

There are dozens of annual star parties and astronomical conventions held around the U.S. every year.  Astrofest, sponsored by the Chicago Astronomical Society and held at a camp near Kankakee, IL each September on a weekend near the New Moon, is one of the largest. The MAS usually provides a large participating contingent.  Astrofest is famous for attracting huge numbers of telescope makers and celestial observers alike.  It is a great place to see unique home-built equipment, observe under relatively dark skies, and share the camaraderie of amateur astronomy with enthusiasts from all over the U.S.

LOANER TELESCOPE PROGRAM

Two member built eight-inch Newtonian Dobsonian reflectors are currently available for checkout and use by members at their home or another location. The telescopes may be checked out for up to four weeks at a time. There is no charge for this program, but members must sign a form pledging to reimburse the Society in the event of damage or loss. Loaner telescopes are available to new members only after the Board of Directors has approved a completed membership application, accompanied by proper dues payment. Several eyepieces and a beginning set of star charts are provided with the telescopes. Additional information about this program is available on request.

Document:  Updated 11/20/2015