Friends of Wyalusing state Park, Wisconsin
Starsplitters Astronomy Club at Wyalusing State Park
The Starsplitters of Wyalusing is a non-profit organization with the purpose of promoting the study and enjoyment of astronomy through the partnership of amateur astronomers, educators, schools, organizations and interested citizens.
Our membership is a bunch of amateurs of the ages between 8 and 80, any background you can think of, and with an IQ above 0. In other words, come as you are and you will likely feel at home. Yes, we do look strange in heavy clothing (we have to put our caps backward to prevent the rim from hitting the eyepieces), and the dim red flashlights make us to look like ETs, but on the whole we are rather harmless.
Membership in the Starsplitters of Wyalusing can be obtained by sending the following to
Membership Categories are these
Benefits of membership include use the of the organization's observatory, subject to orientation training and the presence of an Organization Mentor.
Donations to the observatory project can be sent to the same address.
Member only programs
Use of equipment and building
Reduced "SKY&Telescope" rate
Use of astronomy site with plug in for your scope
Opportunity to share you knowledge and love for astronomy with youth and park visitors
Club membership in NASA Night Sky Network
Membership Rates (annual)
School rates on request
Programs Available for Your Group
If you are not able to run the equipment yet, but would like a program for your group, the Starsplitters have run programs for wedding parties, environmental groups, and church groups in addition to the many free park programs we have run and the programs for schools. Next year the cost of the programs has risen to $2/person attending. This increase was due to a new DNR park policy. Frankly this cost increase is reasonable given the fixed costs the club incurs and the cost we will incur in the next few years as we will have to replace some equipment.
Cloudy Skies- What to do?
Although it rarely happens in the upper Midwest, we occasionally have cloudy skies. In cooperation with WSP we have scheduled a dozen demo/programs during the season on Saturday evenings twice each month. The program will occur even if cloudy, but the demonstrations with our scopes will have to be scrapped, of course. Please check with the park office, we will endeavor to notify the park office early Saturday mornings.
Park Stickers Required
Just a reminder - park stickers are required. Unfortunately, some have complained that park stickers are required. Considering the facility provided and the dark site available, attending astronomy programs is a great deal. For less than the price of movie popcorn, a family can attend a public program. A year's sticker is even a better deal, if you make more than three programs. Support your parks - buy a sticker!
Our chairman Eric Frydenlund has mailed a message to all those who might be interested in supporting our community astronomy program. An excerpt of his May 2001 letter is:
" Dear Community Member,
Looking through a telescope enables us to see not only the magnificence of the cosmos, but also our place in it. Imagine the rewards if an opportunity for learning and enjoying astronomy were to be made available to you, your organization or your community. The "Starsplitters" is making this available to Southwest Wisconsin and Northeast Iowa. In a unique collaboration with the State Park System, 'Starsplitters' has built and is continuing to build an astronomical observatory in Wyalusing State Park, owned by the park and operated by us.
Formed as a branch of the "Friends Of Wyalusing", "Starsplitters" is a non-profit organization dedicated to the enjoyment of astronomy through a partnership of amateurs, educators, schools, organizations and interested citizens. Click the Facilities link to see what we have done in two years."
"A combination of gifts and state grants brought us this far. The Huser Family has gifted $30,000 toward the Education Center in memory of Lawrence Huser. An additional $20,000 has been offered by the family, subject to our ability to raise the remaining and necessary $5,000 from local partnerships. This goal has been met and the Education Center is being built. Our next goal has to be to equip and maintain the Center. This will require additional funds. To this end we will be delighted to speak to your organization about becoming a partner in this unique endeavor and hope you will invite us to do so."
"Our main goal is introducing as many people to astronomy as we can. To this end we organize a series of observing nights and small group lectures. During the summer months the park naturalist will run programs for the campers and visitors.
The U of Wisconsin has assisted the Park in providing lecture/observing sessions twice a season in recent years. Wyalusing State Park hosts the only outdoor educational group camp in the state; each year over 30 student-groups stay at the outdoor educational camps for two to four days. Our observatory enhances the astronomy education and makes it an integral part of the Park's educational activities.
Within a thirty mile radius of the Park are more than a dozen school districts with enrollments between 200 and 1500 and unlike the bigger schools, none have or can even afford such an astronomy center. It will be a benefit to the science teachers to have the availability of the Observatory and the assistance of our amateur astronomers.
The Observatory and Starsplitters are capable of supporting some advanced work in astronomy for all interested students and their teachers. CCD imaging of deep sky objects, photometry work on variable stars and some good old asteroid hunting are just a few of the possibilities."
And not surprisingly, Eric F. and the Starsplitters have a wishing list. Your organization may want to contribute in kind or at a level to pay for (in part or in full) any of the following items, for which we have listed their estimated costs:
Eric F. concludes his message as follows:
"The completion of the Starsplitters' Observatory and its operations will be possible only through the generosity and support of our local (Southwest Wisconsin and Northeast Iowa) businesses and organizations. To publicly recognize and commend our supporters, we will list you or your organization on the Observatory Wall of Stellar Contributors. The following category-levels have been established: