Aug 1

Sept 23-25 Eastern Iowa Star Party!

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, […]

Mar 13

CoronaVirus Notice!!!

Hi all, As brought up by Paul… thank you Paul! we will be canceling our regularly scheduled March meeting which would have been held this Monday, the 16th. I’m hoping that Paul and Rusty can do their presentations at the April meeting and Ron can do his in May. For our Jens-Wendt open on Saturday… we will hold this unless we get precipitation tomorrow… The Messier Marathon is not cancelled, but as always, pending weather. Clear Skies! Jeff

Oct 21

Mercury to be Transiting the Rising Sun on the Morning of November 11th!

As the Sun rises on Veteran’s Day the planet Mercury will be making it’s way directly between our star and ourselves. The result is that the itsy bitsy silhouette of the fastest planet will be visible on the disc of the Sun. As always with any astronomical event that involves looking directly at the Sun, you need to have a proper filter to block the intense light if you wanna see this for yourself. Also, Mercury is so teeny tiny that you’re going to need a telescope that can be covered with that proper filter in order to check this one out.   Good thing our sister club the Popular Astronomy Club has you covered. They will be hosting a Mercury Transit Viewing from their regular site in the parking lot of Niabi Zoo starting at sunrise (6:45am) until the end of the transit at 12:35pm. These folks will have scopes set up properly for safe view of this rare event. Be sure to join them on the 11th this year otherwise you’ll be waiting until November 13th of 2032 for your next chance!   About the image: The featured image for this post is of the last transit of […]

Jun 9

Public night at the Menke. June 2019

Another great night out at the Menke. This time, of course it was an open house so we probably had a dozen to two dozen guests come through. We saw a lot of great objects, the normal ones of course, but everybody got to see the moon, some planets, some galaxies, some star clusters, some nebulas and double stars.  Guests started showing up about 7:30 pm, and the last one left about 11 pm. We, of course had to sit around and chat for a while afterward, which is always a lot of fun and a very important part of this hobby! Again, all in all a great time! A special thank you to Rolando and Sam for helping Dr. Mitchell and I with the event! Clear Skies! Jeff

Jun 8

Friday Night – June 7th – at the Menke

What a beautiful night it was tonight! Rolando, Sam, and I had a lot of fun working with Rolando’s 127mm f7.5 and Sam’s 90mm f5.5 refractors. We saw a lot of objects including the obvious ones such as Saturn, Jupiter, the Moon, and favorites like M51, the Owl Cluster, Albireo, the Ring Nebula, and the Wild Duck and Hercules Clusters. Lots of other things were visible too such as the Dumbbell Nebula, the Swan Nebula, the Lagoon Nebula, the Trifid Nebula, and a lot of miscellaneous clusters. We also got a pretty decent view of the Markarian Chain! Well… I only planned on staying out there until midnight… but 2 AM kinda snuck up on us! It would be great if the open House at Menke tonight… Saturday night, June 8th… decided to clear up…. Clear Skies! Jeff

Jun 3

Shooting Galaxies at Menke June 2

For me EAA is the way to go.  Simple plug and play design of the R2 system takes video astronomy to a whole new level of fun.  The detail may not resemble time exposure astrophotography but far exceeds the detail of the naked eye.  Got to give credit to the individual who had the brilliant idea to create an all inclusive imaging system known as the Revolution Imager.  It has made the hobby more enjoyable than ever before and I can not imagine astronomy with out it!  The galaxy hop time window was very narrow due to work schedule but we did manage to get a look at three decent galaxies with the imager.  The viewing conditions were not ideal with a slight haze and thin clouds.  We made the best of the conditions and put M-51 in the camera.  It was an amazing sight even with the atmospheric haze.  Very distinct spiral structure and fairly bright.  Next we put the R2 on M-104 the Sombrero galaxy.  Very nice detail revealing the galaxies structure including the dark edge on line giving it the distinction of its name.  Last was M-64 the Black Eye galaxy.  A little on the rough side […]

Mar 9

2019 Eastern Iowa Star Party Update

Hi all! I am working on the 3 guest speakers for our Sept 27-29 Eastern Iowa Star Party…. One works with the data collected on stars that Kepler, K2, and TESS observe(d) – using stellar oscillations (and in some case, rotation) to characterize the stars and tell us more about the history of their planetary systems. A second studies the formation, interior structure, and evolution of exoplanets. The main goals of her research group are to deepen the current understanding of the rich physics governing sub-Neptune-size planet interiors, to discover bulk composition trends in the growing census of known exoplanets, and to connect these composition trends back to distinct planet formation pathways. The third is an amateur astronomer who will show us how to use modest gear to collect data and input that data into software that will show Exoplanet transits. We are limited to about 50 participants and take reservations on a first pay first stay basis. This years star party fee is $20 per attendee plus $10 if you need electricity run to your reserved spot. We will have a charging station or two for use during the day if you want to run on batteries at night. […]

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