Home Forums QCAS Business Observatory Relocation

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  • #6245
    Jeff Struve
    Moderator

    Hi All!

    One of the key projects we have is the Observatory Relocation Project. This project involves our building additional structures at the St. Ambrose University Menke Observatory Site and not only relocating our Sherman Park Jens-Wendt Observatory gear there, but provide additional features. We do have the blessing of St. Ambrose, WREEC, and the Park Board… so we are good to go!

    As we have been kicking around what we want the facility to look like… its functionality and design, and what gear it will be equipped with, it is time to take advantage of all of these cloudy nights by getting off our mounts and pushing forward.

    The Board has created 5 sub committees to continue moving forward with the project. We also went ahead and listed some of the folks that expressed interest in certain committees and these are as follows:

    * Purpose and Benefits
    Jeff Struve
    Robert Mitchell
    Mike Dannenfeldt
    Alan Sheidler
    * Structure Design and Specification
    Mike Dannenfeldt
    Robert Mitchell
    Craig Cox
    Jeff Struve
    * Equipment Requirements
    Sam Santiago
    Paul Saeger
    Jim Rutenbeck
    Jeff Struve
    * Business Planning
    Mike Gacioch
    Paul Levesque
    Robert Mitchell
    Steve VanHyfte
    Jeff Struve
    * Fund Acquisition
    Jeff Struve
    Jim Rutenbeck
    Matt Neilssen

    Please consider participating in one or more of these important groups… it’ll be interesting, educational, and a great way to do astronomy when the weather is bad while providing a great future for clear skies!

    Thanx!
    Jeff

    • This topic was modified 4 years, 10 months ago by Jeff Struve.
    • This topic was modified 4 years, 10 months ago by Jeff Struve.
    • This topic was modified 4 years, 10 months ago by Jeff Struve.
    • This topic was modified 4 years, 9 months ago by Jeff Struve.
    #6254
    Jeff Struve
    Moderator

    • Committees
    o Purpose and Benefits
    …Jeff Struve
    …Robert Mitchell
    …Mike Dannenfeldt
    …Alan Sheidler
    o Structure Design and Specifications
    …Mike Dannenfeldt
    …Robert Mitchell
    …Craig Cox
    …Jeff Struve
    o Equipment Requirements
    …Jeff Struve
    …Sam Santiago
    …Paul Saeger
    …Jim Rutenbeck
    o Business Planning
    …Mike Gacioch
    …Paul Levesque
    …Robert Mitchell
    …Steve VanHyfte
    …Jeff Struve
    o Fund Acquisition
    …Jeff Struve
    …Jim Rutenbeck
    …Matt Neilssen

    Please let Jeff know if you want to be I involved in any of the above dis us in group committees!

    • This reply was modified 4 years, 10 months ago by Jeff Struve.
    • This reply was modified 4 years, 10 months ago by Jeff Struve.
    • This reply was modified 4 years, 10 months ago by Jeff Struve.
    • This reply was modified 4 years, 9 months ago by Jeff Struve.
    #6255
    Jeff Struve
    Moderator

    Observatory Relocation benefits…

    Project Reference Letters:
    o David Levy
    o St. Ambrose University
    o Jennifer Anderson
    o Grant Harkness
    o Dave Murcia
    o Terri Wiese
    o Roger/Kean – TBA
    o Chris Like – TBA
    o Ian Spangenberg – TBA
    o Sheryl Kennedy – TBA

    Initial implications:

    1. QCAS – (Provide a more viable and attractive venue for private and public attendance)
    a. Current structures in disrepair (JAS)
    b. High utility bills will go away (JAS)
    c. Inadequate parking (JAS)
    d. No warming facility/class room (JAS)
    e. No restrooms (JAS)
    f. Inadequate room for expansion (JAS)
    g. Will gain dedicated facilities maintenance department by joining with SAU (JAS)
    h. Easier access and hard surfaced roads (JAS)
    i. More likely for access to the internet (JAS)
    j. Access to camping and lodging on site (JAS)
    k. Will facilitate a higher level of guest speakers (JAS)
    1. Better Horizon/Skyline (RCM)

    2. SAU
    a. A larger presence to the student body and public (JAS)
    b. Will gain a dedicated group that specializes in maintaining astronomy gear (JAS)
    c. Will gain added support to facilitate public outings (JAS)
    d. Will facilitate a higher level of guest speakers (JAS)
    e. Will become more secure due to the added activities that the club will bring (JAS)
    f. Will be more likely to participate in national and international research (JAS)
    3. WREEC
    a. Added attraction as the observatory will be the largest in the area (JAS)
    b. Added use of an expanded facility would allow more opportunity for WREEC guests to attend activities (JAS)
    c. Provide a better and safer facility for outings (JAS)

    4. Parks and Recreation
    a. Added attraction as the observatory will be the largest in the area (JAS)
    b. Provide a better and safer facility for outings (JAS)

    5. County
    a. Added attraction as the observatory will be the largest in the area (JAS)
    b. Provide a better and safer facility for outings (JAS)

    6. Public
    a. Schools
    i. Provide a better and safer facility for outings (JAS)
    ii. Provide a meeting place for their club (JAS)
    iii. Grow STEM (JAS)

    b. Scouts
    i. Provide a better and safer facility for outings (JAS)
    ii. Provide a meeting place for their club (JAS)
    iii. Grow STEM (JAS)

    c. General
    i. Provide a better and safer facility for outings (JAS)
    ii. Provide a meeting place for their club (JAS)
    iii. Grow STEM (JAS)
    iv. Be able to hold events even when the weather is poor (JAS)
    v. Provide astronomy related notifications to the general public (JAS)

    • This reply was modified 4 years, 10 months ago by Jeff Struve.
    • This reply was modified 4 years, 10 months ago by Jeff Struve.
    • This reply was modified 4 years, 9 months ago by Jeff Struve.
    #6256
    Jeff Struve
    Moderator

    New QCAS Observatory
    Equipment and Accessories
    • New mount – AstroPhysics or similar
    • New 150mm – 170mm refractor – AstroPhysics or similar
    • Guide/Wide FoV Imaging refractor – 80mm Triplet or similar
    • Observatory/Imaging Software – Maxim, The Sky or similar
    • Processing Software – PixInsight and Photoshop
    • OSC Camera – SBIG or similar
    • Monochrome Imaging Camera – SBIG or similar
    • Narrow Band Imaging Filters and filter wheel – Astrodon or similar
    • LRGB Imaging Filters and filter wheel – Astrodon or similar
    • Monochrome guide camera
    • 100mm Solar scope – Lunt Ha or similar
    • Eyepiece set – Televue or similar
    • Atmospheric Dispersion Corrector – ZWO or similar
    • Computer (Imaging and Observatory control)
    • Computer (Imaging and Observatory control)
    • Computer (Image Processing)
    • Projector
    • Large TV/Monitor
    • Surveillance System
    • PA System
    • Mallincam
    • WiFI Hardware to boost current signal

    Structures
    • 24’ X 36’ Roll Off Roof
    • 12.5’ Dome Structure (round or square)
    • 8’ X 12’ (minimum) Control Room
    • Powered Pads

    • This reply was modified 4 years, 10 months ago by Jeff Struve.
    #6257
    Jeff Struve
    Moderator

    JODI PROSISE – SAU – REFERANCE LETTER

    October 12, 2018

    To whom it may concern:

    I would like to express the support of St. Ambrose University and the Department of Engineering and Physics for the expansion of the observatory facilities at the Wapsi River Environmental Educational Center and the collaboration with the Quad Cities Astronomical Society (QCAS). This proposed expansion and collaboration will allow the Quad City Area to have a world-class program in astronomy available to the public. The program will have high-quality telescopes and equipment, excellent facilities for hosting programming, and extensive expertise in the area. This will create a terrific space for the community to explore and learn about astronomy–both the QCAS and SAU regularly organize public and private events to view and learn about these areas.

    In addition to supporting the local community, I feel strongly that this collaboration will also bring additional experiences to the students of St. Ambrose. Dr. Mitchell works well with students in our STEM disciplines both conducting research in astronomy as well as teaching courses in the area. This expansion will provide additional resources in those areas for our students.

    If you have any further questions about how this expansion would benefit St. Ambrose or the Quad City community, please do not hesitate to reach out to me.

    Sincerely,

    Jodi Prosise, PhD
    Chair and Associate Professor
    Industrial and Mechanical Engineering
    ProsiseJodiF@sau.edu
    563-333-6485

    • This reply was modified 4 years, 10 months ago by Jeff Struve.
    #6258
    Jeff Struve
    Moderator

    DAVID LEVY – JARNAC OBSERVATORY – REFERENCE LETTER

    ——– Original message ——–
    From: David Levy <>
    Date: 2/11/19 13:45 (GMT-06:00)
    To: PwrHsePro Subject: Re: Quad Cities Astronomical Society

    Dear Jeff,
    I am sorry it took me so long to do this, but I hope that it is better late than never. I believe that your project is terrific. I got a taste of how well the astronomical societies can do and what they can accomplish when they work together when I visited last fall. It was one of my most enjoyable lecture visits ever. And to have the event take place at the Menke Observatory site was just wonderful. I think that permanently moving the observatory there would have many tangible benefits, not the least of which is that the entire community will benefit. The spacious grounds will allow many visitors to get inspired by the night sky.
    There is something else about this attempt to get citizens of Iowa to reach for the stars. Iowa is the state where dreams come true. While I was there I had the honor of visiting the Field of Dreams, the famous movie site. When I saw that movie in 1989, it reminded me of my own dream, to search the sky for comets, If I had the opportunity to use the Menke site at the time, I think my dream might have come true earlier. Iowa is a spectacular state, full of stunning beauty, and this beauty includes its spectacular night sky. Your efforts in relocating this observatory to Menke will help thousands of people to reach for the stars.
    Sincerely
    David H. Levy

    Jarnac Observatory.
    National sharing the Sky Foundation.
    Ad amorem nocte caelum.
    Ego diligo in nocte caelum.
    Dona nobis pacem.

    • This reply was modified 4 years, 10 months ago by Jeff Struve.
    #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 4 years, 10 months ago by Jeff Struve.
    • This reply was modified 4 years, 10 months ago by Jeff Struve.
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    #6571
    Byron Davies
    Participant
    #6574
    Jeff Struve
    Moderator

    EQUIPMENT REQUIREMENTS
    -Jeff Struve

    Nice job Byron!

    The link goes right to the forum, and scrolling to the bottom your post is there. I added to the top for easy reference the committee name and then added Byron’s name for easier finding as the forum grows.

    Speaking as a committee member, I lightly looked over your list and think that all are on the right track… do you feel that there is a ranking as to what would be your 1st, 2nd, 3rd choice?

    Are there further specific options that may be needed that you also want to suggest?

    Clear Skies!
    Jeff

    • This reply was modified 4 years, 10 months ago by Jeff Struve.
    #6576
    Jeff Struve
    Moderator

    EQUIPMENT REQUIREMENTS
    -Byron Davies

    The ES 165mm would be the best choice due to the fact there are plenty of 152mm scopes already in use.  Also considering transferable lifetime warranty and location of the manufacturer.

    All other listings are in no particular order and there for committee review.  It is also for gauging a cost bases for donation proposals.

    More specific options will be open to review among the committee members as they see fit.

    Byron

    #6578
    James Rutenbeck
    Moderator

    EQUIPMENT REQUIREMENTS COMMITTEE
    -Jim Rutenbeck

    Proposed Large Refractor scope:
    https://astro-physics.info/index.htm?products/telescopes/175edf/175edf
    Astro-Physics 175 mm f/8 StarFire EDF with field flattner and 6.1 telecompressor/corrector
    This is one of the finest refractors ever produced. It is made and serviced in Illinois, USA. This size of objective at f8 excels at planetary viewing. At f6.1 it is a great astrograph. Cost about $22,000.

    Proposed 80mm Widefield Refractor Scopes:

    https://www.highpointscientific.com/telescopes/refracting-telescopes/takahashi-fsq-85edx-astrograph-telescope-ota-fqk0085 Cost about $3000

    https://www.highpointscientific.com/telescopes/refracting-telescopes/stellarvue-sv80-photo-visual-apo-triplet-refractor-with-25-focuser-svx080t-25sv

    Proposed mounts

    https://optcorp.com/products/astro-physics-1600-german-eq-mount-with-low-temp-absolute-encoders Cost about $19,000 Higher weight capacity: 220 pounds

    https://optcorp.com/products/10-micron-gm-2000-hps-ii-ultraport-equatorial-telescope-mount Cost about $!8,000
    Higher tech, weight capacity: 110 pounds

    Ha Solar Filters

    DayStar filters Cost about $6000
    Lunt filter

    CCD/CMOS astro Camera
    to be determined Cost about $7000 with narrow band filters, filter wheel, software

    #6601
    Jeff Struve
    Moderator

    GRANT HARKNESS – WILTON OBSERVATORY – REFERENCE LETTER

    Grant A. Harkness
    Wilton Observatory
    1002 Cypress Wilton, IA 52778
    June 12, 2019

    To All It May Concern,

    We here at the Wilton Observatory would like it made known that the fine individuals of the Quad Cities Astronomical Society are an asset to this and surrounding areas. Through the dedicated application of their collective passions, they bring into being wonderful programs, support budding scientists, aid others in program and project development and provide a truly unique and beneficial product to citizens of all ages.

    Astronomy is a beautifully complex area of interest, spanning innumerable fields of study. The development of these pathways to exploration, innovation, education and empowerment are crucial in ensuring the continued prosperity of humanity. By providing tools, exploration opportunities and support to other programs, the membership of the Quad Cities Astronomical Society play a meaningful part in aiding in the intellectual development of humankind. Through our collective efforts, we in the fields of astronomy work closely to support each other and these citizens stand as a glorious example.

    As a new dawn awaits them on their journey of expansion and improvement, I do sincerely hope that you will take the time to consider the impact that your generosity will have. It is not only of significance to them as individuals or even their collective, but to the future generations that will take part in their programs and find that spark that lights within them. These young minds will carry in them the awe that they have experienced, the wonders they will behold as they explore the skies above. It will be, in part, because you chose to care, you chose to support them. It’s a big universe and it’s all the more wonderful when we come together to support great causes. This is one such chance. Thank you for considering them!

    Yours sincerely,
    Grant A. Harkness
    Director, Wilton Observatory
    President, The Organization for the Proliferation of Space Studies

    • This reply was modified 4 years, 10 months ago by Jeff Struve.
    #6681
    Jeff Struve
    Moderator

    TERRI WIESE – CALAMUS LIBRARY – REFERENCE LETTER
    June 20th, 2019

    Quad Cities Astronomical Society
    Jeff Struve

    Greetings!

    The Calamus Public Library has a summer reading program every year throughout the month of June.
    The children select the topics for the program and this year they elected to study the universe. As the Director/Librarian I am responsible for the curriculum and always include a guest speaker for our program.

    Our library in Calamus is a small, rural library and we try to find speakers nearby. We are very fortunate to have close contact with the Clinton County Conservation Commission who in turn suggested we get in touch with the Q.C.A.S.

    I was quite pleased with the prompt response from your organization and very impressed with the knowledge of the speaker, Jeff Struve. The children enjoyed his presentation and were amazed to see the telescope, the photos of the galaxy and the pieces of asteroids!

    I would highly recommend this program or visits to the Jens-Wendt and Menke Observatories to families in the QC area. Mr. Struve’s talk sparked much interest in astronomy and my hope is that after viewing the information pamphlet the kid’s families will plan a trip soon!

    I look forward to visiting both observatories with my family as well and I have a feeling the kids here in Calamus will be talking about that telescope all summer!

    Thank you again for the informational presentation.

    Terri Wiese
    Calamus Public Library
    Calamus, IA

    • This reply was modified 4 years, 10 months ago by Jeff Struve.
    #6686
    Jeff Struve
    Moderator

    DAVE MURCIA – WREEC – REFERENCE LETTER

    June 25, 2019
    RE: St. Ambrose University (SAU), QC Astronomical Society (QCAS) observatory relocation project

    The Wapsi River Environmental Education Center of Scott County Conservation, supports the partnership between the SAU and QCAS, specifically recognizing the educational benefits to our community.

    The partnership allows our community to further their knowledge about our natural world not only within the county, but throughout the region.
    The primary mission of the Wapsi River Environmental Education Center is environmental education, and has been in partnership with SAU for many years, including the QCAS. The continuation and expansion of an observatory is an important aspect of our community, allowing for the general public, local and regional schools, universities, and visitors to view our world in a very unique manner. We look forward to improving the Menke Observatory site and support this initiative, by participating in its growth and development.

    Thank you for considering our mission, our partnership, and the relocation project by the QCAS and SAU. We look forward to working with you and our community partners to make this initiative a success.
    Respectfully,

    Dave Murcia
    Naturalist/Director, CIG
    Wapsi River Environmental Education Center
    Scott County Conservation Board
    563-328-3286
    Dave.murcia@scottcountyiowa.com
    OUR MISSION: To improve the quality of life and promote and preserve the health, welfare and enjoyment for the citizens of Scott County and the general public by acquiring, developing, operating, and preserving the historical, educational, environmental, recreational and natural resources of the

    #6834
    Samuel Santiago
    Participant

    EQUIPMENT REQUIREMENTS COMMITTEE
    Hello,

    Attached is a link to and updated version of the New Astronomy Equipment spreadsheet in Google Drive.
    Mostly updates to the moderate column and a few to the Best column. Please review and comment. Please go to the tab labeled Sam.

    Regards,
    Sam

    https://drive.google.com/file/d/1nowECcK5NNbaNw2ETOhxE5N7KzN481U7/view?usp=sharing

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