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#6536
Jeff Struve
Moderator

JENNIFER ANDERSON – WSU – REFERENCE LETTER

June 3, 2019

Mr. Jeff Struve
Quad Cities Astronomical Society
PO Box 3706
Davenport, IA 52808

Dear Mr. Struve and others –

I am writing this letter in strong support of the proposal to move the Quad Cities Astronomical Society
(QCAS) telescopes and observatory equipment to the Menke Observatory, operated by St. Ambrose University. I think the resulting astronomical observatory and outreach center will benefit any number of groups and people including the QCAS, St. Ambrose University, and the local and regional visitors who are able to explore their Universe and Solar System at such a lovely and well-equipped site.

I am a planetary geologist and professor of Geoscience at Winona State University. I am also devoted to outreach and public education. I was invited by Mr. Struve to be a speaker at the 2018 Eastern Iowa Star Party and it was at this event where I first visited Menke Observatory and met with the members of the QCAS. I have been attending star parties and hosting dark-sky events for 20+ years and I was struck by the natural beauty of the Wapsi River Environmental Education Center. It was a pleasure to stay in the cabin there with my husband and explore the area during the day. The fact that this lovely site also housed an impressive observatory and was turned into an astronomer’s paradise that evening with an influx of many additional telescopes was almost overwhelming! I dream of someday having an environmental center and observatory near enough to Winona, MN, to host such events. I thoroughly enjoyed my time at the Center and with the QCAS members at the Star Party.

I think that eastern Iowa and beyond is incredibly lucky to have this educational resource as it is, but Mr. Struve has described the proposal to move the QCAS’s telescopes to the Menke Observatory, build some new facilities, and truly become a stellar resource among small observatories across the country. One of my goals across everything that I do in my career is to help every person interact and view their Solar System and Universe in a deeper, more personal way. Combining the resources of both the QCAS and Menke Observatory and creating a central location for astronomy education, outreach, and scientific study would reach thousands of people a year at so many different types of events. Astronomy, in my opinion, is a great equalizer because the night sky is available to all of us; we all see the same Moon and stars. What a gift to bring this to as many people in your region as possible.

I hope that this worthwhile dream can become a reality.

Winona State University ● PO Box 5838 ● Winona, MN 55987 ● http://www.winona.edu/geoscience

  • This reply was modified 5 years, 1 month ago by Jeff Struve.
  • This reply was modified 5 years, 1 month ago by Jeff Struve.
  • This reply was modified 5 years, 1 month ago by Jeff Struve.