Mar 14

Iowa Naturalists visit the QCAS Jens-Wendt Observatory.

On March 14th, 2018, the QCAS will host a tour of their Jens Wendt Observatory to the Iowa Association of Naturalists. This will be an open house style event for the Naturalists. If all goes according to plan, guests will be arriving at the observatory, located at Sherman Park about 6 PM on March 14th. They are planning a soup supper up at the house, all who are helping out with the observatory are welcome to join. There will be 2-3 varieties of soup including a vegetarian option and fresh baked bread. Reservations are appreciated. They are also planning an evening hike and a social campfire with music if the weather is nice. QCAS members are invited for it all. This will also allow people to filter over to the observatory so there is less need of a line at the scope. We hope that attendees can see some of the planets and maybe easier to see/find nebulae. Guests never forget their first view through a big telescope! If it is clouded over, we can tour the facility anyway. March 1st is the early registration deadline so we should have a pretty good idea of attendance for this trip by […]

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 […]

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