Login

"No known roof is as beautiful as the skies above."

– Michael O'Muircheartaigh

CAA Public Events 2019

Young Observer at C16

A young observer peers through the CAA's vintage Celestron 16 telescope.

PUBLIC EVENTS

The CAA hosts at least 12 Saturday Public Observing events featuring a guest speaker that is followed—weather permitting—by celestial viewings through telescopes at the facility. During viewing hours, society members will be available to answer questions and provide everyone with an opportunity to look through the Society's telescopes and those of our members.

This site will be updated through out the year as we assemble our speakers and events.

 2021 Presentations


April 3, 7:30 p.m.
Professor Steven Spangler, University of Iowa Physics and Astronomy
O Type Stars in the Night Sky

We learn in school that stars are like the Sun, only very far away.  Or, the Sun is a star which is very close to us.  How similar are the stars in the night sky to our Sun?  A short answer would be that they are similar in kind, but quite different in degree.  They range enormously in mass (amount of matter in them), brightness, and temperature at their surfaces.  The most massive, brightest, and hottest stars are called the O stars.  The term “O star” is a holdover from early astronomical research, but the category contains a set of stars with extravagant properties.  In particular, they are much hotter and much brighter beacons than our Sun.  In spite of this, none of the 26 brightest stars in the sky is an O star.  In this talk, I will explain why this is true, and where you can find stars in the night sky that are these remarkable objects. 

Topic: O Stars in the Night Sky
Time: Apr 3, 2021 07:30 PM Central Time (US and Canada)

Join Zoom Meeting
https://zoom.us/j/93225081229?pwd=U1lDUEZQbi9FNFZCTUdlU3JROGNVUT09

Meeting ID: 932 2508 1229
Passcode: 817285

May 1, 8:00 p.m.

Presenter: To be announced

Title: To be announced

 

May 15, 8:30 p.m.

Presenter: To be announced

Title: To be announced

 

June 12, 8:30 p.m.

Presenter: To be announced

Title: To be announced

 

July 10, 8:30 p.m.

Presenter: To be announced

Title: To be announced

 

July 31, 8:30 p.m.

Presenter: To be announced

Title: To be announced

 

August 14, 3:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.

Presenter: To be announced

Title: Our Sun and Solar Activity Cycles

 

August 28, 8:00 p.m.

Presenter: To be announced

Title: To be announced

 

September 25, 7:30 p.m.

Presenter: To be announced

Title: To be announced

 

October 16, 7:30 p.m.

Presenter: To be announced

Title: Earth’s Moon: International Observe the Moon Night

 

October 30, 7:30 p.m.

Presenter: To be announced

Title: To be announced

 

November 27, 7:30 p.m.

Presenter: To be announced

Title: To be announced

 

 

2021 Past Presentations

 

January 16, 7:30 p.m.

Nancy Atkinson, contributing editor for Universe Today- www.universetoday.com

Eight Years to the Moon: The History of the Apollo Missions

"The stories of 45 engineers and scientists who worked behind the scenes to make it possible to land on the Moon. Many of these people have gone unheralded for their work, but their contributions were vital to meeting the challenges of such an audacious project. These are stories from the 1960's that you won't find anywhere else."

 

 

February 13, 7:30 p.m.

Charles (Chuck) E. Allen, Vice President, Astronomical League

Cosmic Horizons

Cosmic Horizons explores the limits of human visibility imposed by planetary curvature, photon sensitivity of the human eye, and the speed of light in an expanding universe. We briefly explore the definition of planetary horizons and the role of planetary size in defining them. Next, we examine the faintest astronomical objects we can see with and without optical aid, and the smallest number of photons theoretically detectable by humans. Finally, we discuss the four horizons imposed by time and the speed of light (the Hubble distance, cosmic particle horizon, cosmic event horizon, and future visibility horizon) and consider how these horizons change in an accelerating universe and what effect they have on what we can, or ever will, see.


Chuck Allen

Chuck is currently Vice-President, and also past-President, of the Astronomical League. He founded the League’s 30 year-old National Young Astronomer Award in 1991, received the G. R. Wright Award for service in 1998, and holds the League’s Master Outreach Award with more than 500 public programs to his credit. He is a League Master Observer with 38 programs completed, three of which he coordinates.

Chuck is Program Director for the Evansville Astronomical Society and past President of the Louisville Astronomical Society (1991-94). From 1995 to 2002, he served as Judge, and once as Lead Judge, in earth and space science for the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair. Chuck graduated from Duke University in 1970, served as a U.S. Air Force officer from 1970 to 1974, and graduated from the University of Kentucky College of Law in 1977. He was a partner with Kentucky's largest law firm, Frost, Brown Todd LLC, where he practiced for 27 years.

March 6, 7:30 p.m.

Tom Field, Field Tested Systems

You can almost touch the stars

Even if you wanted to touch a star, they’re all impossibly distant. Despite these great distances, astronomers have learned an enormous amount about stars. How? The most common method to study the stars is called spectroscopy, which is the science of analyzing the colorful rainbow spectrum produced by a prism-like device. Until recently, spectroscopy was too expensive and too complicated for all but a handful of amateurs. Today, though, new tools make spectroscopy accessible to almost all of us. You no longer need a PhD, dark skies, long exposures, enormous aperture … or a big budget! With your current telescope and FITS camera (or a simple web cam or even a DSLR without a telescope) you can now easily study the stars yourself. Wouldn’t you like to detect the atmosphere on Neptune or the red shift of a quasar right from your own backyard?! This talk, with lots of interesting examples, will show you what it’s all about and help you understand how spectroscopy is used in research. Even if you are an armchair astronomer, understanding this field will enhance your understanding of the things you read and the night sky.

Join Zoom Meeting


Meeting ID:
Passcode:

Tom Field

Tom Field has been a Contributing Editor at Sky & Telescope Magazine for the past 7 years. He is the author of  the RSpec software (www.rspec-astro.com) which received the S&T “Hot Product” award in 2011. Tom is a popular speaker who has spoken to hundreds of clubs via the web and in-person at many conferences, including NEAF, the NEAF Imaging Conference, the Winter Star Party, the Advanced Imaging Conference, and other

 

2020 Past Presentations

 

March 21, 7:30 p.m. CANCELED DUE TO CORONAVIRUS

Prof. Steve Spangler, University of Iowa, Department of Physics and Astronomy

Lost Siblings of the Sun

Can we find some of the stars that were formed in the same Star Formation Region as the Sun, 4.5 billion years ago? Incredibly, some sober astronomers think the answer is yes, and published a paper to this effect in the Astrophysical Journal. The star is visible to binoculars and should be up at the time of the March public night.

April 25, 8:00 p.m. CANCELED DUE TO CORONAVIRUS

Dr. Jasper Halekas, University of Iowa, Department of Physics and Astronomy

The Parker Solar Probe Mission

May 16, 8:30 p.m. CANCELED DUE TO CORONAVIRUS

Mr. Brent Studer, Cedar Amateur Astronomers

TBA

June 13, 8:00 p.m.

Dr. Raymond Anderson, University of Iowa, Earth and Environmental Sciences

The Manson Meteor Impact Structure and the Decorah Impact Structure

The observatory will not be open, Presentation will be virtual.

July 11, 8:00 p.m.

Dr. Phil Kaaret, University of Iowa, Department of Physics and Astronomy

X-Raying the Milky Way with HaloSat

The observatory will not be open, Presentation will be virtual.

July 25, 3:00 p.m. -- Solar Day

Mr. Carl Bracken, Cedar Amateur Astronomers

Cycles of Change

Maunder, Dalton, Centennial…Eddy. A look at global impacts from long duration cycles of solar activity to try and understand the historical record and how it might inform us about the next extended activity cycle. What are some of the latest tools being used in the quest for understanding how our star works and impacts life on our planet?

The observatory will not be open, Presentation will be virtual.

August 8, 8:00 p.m.

Dr. Casey DeRoo, University of Iowa, Department of Physics and Astronomy

Exploring Beyond Our Galaxy with X-ray Astronomy

The observatory will not be open, Presentation will be virtual.

August 22, 8:00 p.m. Canceled due to ongoing power/internet outages in Cedar Rapids.

September 12, 7:30 p.m.

Mr. Ahmed Reda (TBC), Minnesota Astronomical Society

Stellar Evolution

Stars evolve from clouds of gas and dust treading different paths depending on their mass. This presentation explores these different paths throughout the stars' lifecycles.

The observatory will not be open, Presentation will be virtual.

September 26, 7:30 p.m. InOMN: Lunar Saturday

Mr. Doug Slauson, CAA Club Member

The observatory will not be open, Presentation will be virtual.

October 10, 7:30 p.m.

Dr. Jasper Halekas

University of Iowa, Department of Physics and Astronomy

The Parker Solar Probe Mission

The observatory will not be open, Presentation will be virtual,

November 7, 7:30 p.m.

Mr. Brent Studer, Kirkwood Community College

Meteorite Morphology: Classifying and Collecting Meteorites

Interplanetary vagabonds such as meteorites can tell astronomers a great deal about their parent bodies and the early solar system. In this talk we’ll learn about the origin of meteorites, how they are classified, and collecting these relics from the formation of the solar system.

The observatory will not be open, Presentation will be virtual.

 

December 19, 7:30 p.m.

Professor Steve Spangler, University of Iowa, Department of Physics and Astronomy

Lost Siblings of the Sun

Can we find some of the stars that were formed in the same Star Formation Region as the Sun, 4.5 billion years ago? Incredibly, some sober astronomers think the answer is yes, and published a paper to this effect in the Astrophysical Journal.

The observatory will not be open, Presentation will be virtual.

 

_______________________________________________

Public observing events are held in the Eastern Iowa Observatory and Learning Center at the Palisades-Dows Observatory and Preserve through a generous agreement with the Linn County Conservation Department. For directions, please visit our Map to Pal-Dows page or download a pdf version (276 kB.)

The Cedar Amateur Astronomers, Inc. is a participating member of Night Sky Network.