As I get older and older, the list of people who depart gets longer and increases with a greater frequency. But now I find myself writing, for the third month in a row, about the loss of someone who meant a lot to me and without whom I do not know how I will continue my own journey through the night sky. Constantine Papacosmas introduced himself to me the first night I entered the old observatory of the Montreal Centre of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada. The young observer had just completed a truly fabulous 8-inch reflector which we used once or twice. At that time he was brilliant, creative and inspiring. Within a few years we had become great friends and we spent a lot of time together. One afternoon while walking down a hill to my junior high school classes, a car passed me, then slammed on its brakes about 300 meters away. Putting the car in reverse, the driver screeched backward until it reached me. “Hello David!” It was Constantine. You might have read a few months ago the story of how I got my own 8-inch reflector, Pegasus. It was a loaner scope. By the […]
About: Jeff Struve
Recent Posts by Jeff Struve
Skyward November 2022 Goodbye, Wendee. Dear readers, What follows is the most difficult article I have ever written. On Friday, September 23, 2022, my wife Wendee died. She had been suffering from metastatic breast cancer for over a decade, but this past summer she was truly and clearly suffering. We had an oncologist who was good clinically but who had no bedside manner, and a nurse practitioner who was very good, but a bit of a pollyanna. Therefore, when Wendee began to destabilize by the hour near the end of September, I was just not prepared for it. Wendee and I were together for more than thirty years, and we were married for the last 25 of them. We got together as the result of a fix-up. When Wendee’s Mom, Annette Wallach, and my Mom, Edith Pailet Levy, resumed their childhood friendship in 1985, my father has just died from Alzheimer’s Disease. They got together in Montreal and immediately shared stories about their children. Wendee, it turned out, had just separated from her first husband and I was long since divcorced from my “practice wife.” They decided to try to bring us together. Wendee was the first to reject the […]
On first looking through Baade’s window Much have I travell’d in the realms of gold, And many goodly stars and clusters seen; Round celestial islands have I been With telescope after telescope to the night sky hold. Oft of one wide expanse had I been told That Galileo ruled as his demesne; Yet did I never breathe its pure serene Till I heard Baade speak out loud and bold: Then felt I like some watcher of the skies When a new star cluster swims into his ken; Through his majestic window looks upon the Milky Way He star’d at the centre of our galaxy. Like a diamond shining in the sky, with a wild surmise— Silent, through the mists of space and time. (–Keats, Chapman’s Homer sonnet, adapted for this article.) Lying in the western portion of Sagittarius, the archer, is a small region of sky that has unusual importance for astronomers around the world and which to med is one of the most beautiful things in the whole sky. It was most thoroughly studied by the German astronomer Walter Baade while using the great 100-inch Hooker reflector at Mt. Wilson Observatory in California while searching for the center of […]
What an excellent outing with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints Young Men’s Encampment! There were about 60 guests on site, and what a pleasure! We started off with a fairly detailed tour of the whole facility followed by a bit of Lunar viewing thru John’s refractor and Cecil running the 20″ Newt… Jim fielded questions in between folks looking at the site and looking thru gear while I demoed the classroom/dome and gave a quick demo of the 14″ SCT… So special thanks to those members! Thanks to Alan, Rusty and Sam who were able to come out, but due to the cloudy weather, I asked that they only come out if they wanted as there would be little to see with the 50% or more cloud cover. As usual, we were tied up with guests and didn’t get much in the line of pictures… but I did take 2 quick shots in the classroom/dome. Again, thanx to the youth group, and you are welcome back any time!!!
Hi all! Tomorrow, Tuessday, August 2nd, from 6PM to 8PM I will be at the Riverdale, IA Fire Station for public solar viewing. On the evening of Wednesday, August 3rd we have the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints Young Men’s Encampment at the Menke/QCAS Observatory… about 70 guests are anticipated. On Monday, August 15th we have our 7 PM club meeting at St Ambrose, McCarthy Hall (lower level) or via Zoom. On Saturdays, August 20th, 27th and September 3rd we have public nites at the Menke/QCAS Observatory. As a member, your attendance at at least a couple events is appreciated. Clear Skies! Jeff
Hi all! The Eastern Iowa Star Party is alive and well, but of course in post-COVID recovery mode! This year’s event will be held on the night’s of Sept 23, 24, and 25…. Mark your calendars! What recovery mode means is that we wont have raffles or guest speakers this year, but weather permitting, 3 nice night’s of clear skies! I will hopefully have munchies and beverages on site… and there is no registration fee, HOWEVER, please RSVP! Donations, of course, are welcomed! If you haven’t visited our site in a while, you’ll notice that we have moved our dome from the old Sherman Park site to the Menke Observatory… our new location… and we have just today broken ground to build a second but larger roll off structure. We did acquire a bit more ground, so we can still easily hold 50 astronomers and their gear… At the event, I would like to take the opportunity to address the group as to the QCAS relationship with Menke Observatory… and also some exciting information and maybe a demonstration of the new Wilton School Observatory. So… please RSVP ASAP! This invitation is only going out to members of the QCAS, PAC, […]
Great Meteor Shower Party at the Menke/QCAS Observatory last nite! —— THE RAFFLE WINNER —— From Riverdale, Iowa! Anthony H! —— CONGRATULATIONS!!! —— Thank you to all that purchased tickets, and those that attended the event!!! We did see a number of ‘Shooting Stars’… and folks were able to look thru a number of member scopes as well as 2 of the very large scopes permanently set up at the observatory. Objects viewed included the Moon, Saturn and Jupiter with their moons… Whirlpool, Bodes, and Cigar galaxies… Ring, Dumbell, and Blue Snowball Nebulae… Alberio and Mizar Binary Star Systems… M3, M,13, M22, M53 and NGC457 Star Clusters… all pretty awesome! But to me one of the coolest things is that the Milky Way was clearly and fully visible! A special thanx to club members, Robert, Jim, Sam, Mike, Travis, Cecil, John and Dana for helping with the event. On Tuessday, August 2nd I will be at the Riverdale, IA Firestation from 6PM to 8PM for public solar viewing. On Monday, August 15th our club meeting, will be held at St Ambrose University McCarthy Hall or virtually via Zoom… guests always welcome! On Saturday, August 20, 27th and September 3rd we […]
Weather pending, the Quad Cities Astronomical Society (QCAS) will be hosting it’s annual Meteor Shower Party, a free public viewing session, on Saturday, July 30th. The event begins shortly after sunset. Their observatory is located near the entrance of the Wapsi River Environmental Educational Center outside of Dixon, Iowa. A Google Map link to the site is as follows: https://goo.gl/maps/svKoY9kGvQ6sQuaN8 This facility house’s some of the areas largest telescopes including 30″, 20″,and 12″ Newtonians and a 14″ computer controlled Schmidt Cassegrain, all expected to be available for guests to look through. There will generally be member telescopes doing a variety of things in addition to visual astronomy such as electronically assisted astronomy (EAA) and astrophotography. After the event, the QCAS will be raffling off a new 4.5″ Orion Starblast table top Dobsonian telescope! This is a great entry level scope, and a great grab-n-go scope for the more advanced… it even could make a great finder scope if you have a large telescope! Tickets are $2 each or three for $5 and are available at the event… you can also do a Reply and maybe we can meet up for the purchase of tickets. You don’t need to be present […]
The sky reborn Ever since I read Bart J. Bok’s foreword to Rose Wilder’s and Gerald Ames’ The Golden Book of Astronomy, I have marvelled at what the night sky had to offer and how much of that has changed. “Such wonders,” Bok wrote, ”fill this book.” I have never forgotten those beauties, in particular Bart’s favourite: The Eta Carinae nebula, deep in the southern sky. On Tuesday, July 12, 2022, NASA released the first light pictures from the Webb telescope. One of them is the Eta Carinae nebula. If Bart Bok could come back to us for one minute, he would be thrilled and elated beyond expression. The image is unadulterated joy. It shows so much more than anyone has ever seen before. It tells how this faint star suddenly became the second brightest star in the sky in 1843, the year of a great comet, and it had a second eruption near the end of the 19th century. If Eta Carinae should one day become a supernova it may become as bright as, or even much brighter than, Venus. The other picture that really got to me was Stephan’s Quintet. It was the first compact group of interacting […]
We had a great turn out at the Putnam today. Inside displays included: John displaying club astrophotography Robert with solar system planets and active artificial satellites and a Webb PowerPoint. Jeff with Wilton Observatory solar display, Quad City Coin Club astronomy in numismatics display. Dino brought in space rocks and display. Sam brought the Orion Starblast for the July 30th raffle. Outdoors Rolando, Cecil, and Rusty set up solar scopes for viewing. Great event!
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