About: Matt Neilssen

Recent Posts by Matt Neilssen

Feb 20

Block House Clean Up

Member of QCAS got together this afternoon to clean out the blockhouse. Many ladybugs were vanquished!

Feb 20

Hawkeyes in Space

Hawkeye in Space! A joint field trip for the Quad Cities Astronomical Society and The Popular Astronomy Club.

Feb 19

Dr. Mitchell Attends AAS 2018

Dr. Mitchell documents his visit to the American Astronomical Society’s 2018 meeting. This video gives you an idea of what it’s like to be there. He also did a few interviews with presenters at the conference.

Jan 31

Blood Moon 01/31/2018

Some images taken by members of the Blood Moon from 01/31/18. These are shoots that appeared in the QC Astromony Facebook Group

Jan 19

Dr. Mitchell AAS

Dr. Robert Mitchell gave a presentation on the American Astronomy Convention and his participation.   Brian Didier and Shivani Ganesh were two undergrad students who worked with me over the last few years on my research. A spectrum is blueshifted if the object is moving toward you. In this case, it’s the photosphere (“surface”) of the supernova that’s rapidly moving toward us because of the explosion (on the order of 10,000 miles per second). The amount of blueshift in the spectral lines tells us just how fast. Assuming the photosphere is expanding at constant velocity during the supernova’s entire life (which is reasonable, since at these speeds, gravity would hardly slow it down at all), then the velocity times how long it’s been since the explosion gives us the radius of the photosphere The overall spectrum has a shape that depends on the temperature of the supernova’s “surface”. A theoretically perfect radiator of “heat radiation” (which only depends on the temperature of the object) is called a blackbody. For a blackbody, the absolute brightness depends only on the radius and the temperature. Comparing the absolute brightness to the apparent brightness gives us the distance to the supernova, and therefore to the […]

Jan 1

Dr. Jennifer L Anderson, Dr. Paul P Sipiera, and Comet Hunter David Levy to Speak at the 2018 Eastern Iowa Star Party

The 2018 Eastern Iowa Star Party will be held at the St. Ambrose University Menke Observatory in Dixon, Iowa from Sept 7th through 9th. The observatory, along with its piered scopes has a climate controlled classroom as well as women’s and men’s restrooms. Star Party reservations are limited to not more than 50 attendees. The observatory is located at the Wapsi River Educational and Environmental Center, so nature hikes and bird seeing abound… there is also an antique car museum near by! The Dixon Legion serves great burgers and meals and is only 5 minutes or so from the site. Other restaurant options are near by. Ask about lodging, but generally a small tent on field works fine. An email was sent to the 101 QCAS, PAC, and select members of CAA and TCAA for their distribution to their club membership. It was also posted on those clubs Facebook pages as well as the Facebook pages of 14 other astronomy clubs. The registration options are as follows:      1) $25.00 for the 3 night Star Party Only      2)$35.00 for the Saturday afternoon Lecture Series Only      3) $50.00 for the Party, Lectures, and Door Prizes.      4) I don’t […]

Sep 22

Eastern Iowa Star Party 2017

Eastern Iowa Star Party 2017!   Hi all! At the time of this writing, we have seen another Eastern Iowa Star Party come and go… but hat a spectacular way to go! Although the star party was an official 2 nights and an unofficial 3rd… some attendees spent a 4th nigh… Thursday through Sunday nights… and each night proved to be a wonderful night to celebrate our hobby. We had at least 2 amateur astronomers out on Thursday, 17 on Friday and Saturday, and about 6 on Sunday nights… lots of astrophotography, visual, electronically assisted work went on as well as a lot of learning, experimentation, and comradery. We had 3 excellent, formal presentations. Dr. Robert Mitchell gave a great talk on the Cassini mission… from start to finish; Zachary Luppen, an Astro-Physics major from Iowa City, gave a presentation on all of the work that institution has contributed to the space program. Zach was instrumental in putting together the displays for the Hawkeyes in Space Exhibit at the Old Capital Museum; lastly, Lisa and John Allseits provided updates as to their progress building the Mt. Jennings Observatory near Pearl City in Illinois. All of the presentations involved discussion and […]

Aug 21

The Great American Eclipse!

Members of QCAS spread across the country to view the Great American Eclipse!   TOTAL SOLAR ECLIPSE NEWS BITS “Something wondrous to behold” A first-hand account of the Great American Eclipse of 2017 By Paul Levesque, ASC Public Affairs  I can’t remember when I first became aware of the Great American Eclipse of 2017, but as soon as I did, I knew that I had to see it. First, a little background: I am a public affairs specialist, currently employed as an Army civilian employee for the U.S. Army Sustainment Command at Rock Island, Illinois, where I’ve worked since 1986. I’m a native of Rhode Island, which is where I was on March 7, 1970, when the path of a total eclipse just missed my hometown of Tiverton. (This is the “total eclipse of the sun” referenced in the Carly Simon hit, You’re So Vain.) On May 10, 1994, a crystal-clear day, the path of an annular eclipse – an eclipse in which the moon’s shadow does not completely cover the sun – passed over the Quad Cities, where I live and where the Arsenal is located. The eerie effects I saw that day whetted my appetite for future eclipses, […]

Apr 23


Images from the North Central Region Astronomical League conference from April of 2017. ” order_by=”sortorder” order_direction=”ASC” returns=”included” maximum_entity_count=”500″]

Apr 21

Family Fun Night at the Putnam Museum

Quad Cities Astronomical Society and Popular Astronomy Club participated in Putnam Museum’s Family Fun Night. Hundreds of folks from around the Quad Cities enjoyed solar viewing and interactive experiences including tours of the night sky in the Putnam’s Stardome and making your own comet!

Recent Comments by Matt Neilssen

    No comments by Matt Neilssen yet.

Skip to toolbar