When Ashton Observatory is open during our April through October season, that means every Saturday evening will be a free Saturday Public Night, rain or shine (unless there is severe weather, in which case we all should stay home). Free admission. Most Saturdays begin with a classroom program at 8:00 p.m., followed by stargazing afterward. The first Saturday of each month is just stargazing - no classroom program. (click HERE for map)
SPECIAL EVENT - NOVEMBER 11, 2019
Although our regular season at Ashton is now ended for 2019, there is a special event occurring Nov. 11 - Mercury will "transit" the Sun (be visible passing across the Sun) that morning. We will have members at Ashton from 9:00 a.m. to noon that day with equipment to observe this uncommon event. Free, so come out and join us. Observing will be an outdoor event, so dress appropriately, although the observatory will be open for warming as needed. Here's a link to details about the transit: https://www.timeanddate.com/eclipse/in/usa/des-moines
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.
FYI: If you are wanting to make arrangements for camping or other activities in the Ashton-Wildwood County Park, you need to contact Jasper County Conservation Department. The Observatory is located in the park, but we have nothing to do with arranging other activities in the park.
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.