"The history of astronomy is a history of receding horizons."

– Edwin Hubble

Young Observer at C16

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


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.


2018 Presentations

September 29, 7:30 p.m.

Mr. Brent Studer

Kirkwood Community College, CAA member

The Expansion of the Universe: Its Discovery, Implications, and Recent Findings

October 20, 7:30 p.m.

Mr Doug Slauson

Cedar Amateur Astronomers

Earth's Moon

International Observe the Moon Night

November 3, 7:30 p.m.

Prof. David Miles

University of Iowa, Department of Physics and Astronomy


2018 Past Presentations

March 10, 7:30 p.m.

Prof. Steve Spangler

University of Iowa, Department of Physics and Astronomy

New Views of the Universe: Gravitational Waves and Neutron Star Mergers


April 14, 7:30 p.m.

Brent Studer

Kirkwood Community College, CAA member

Here Be Dragons. Unsolved Mysteries in Astronomy

We are living in the midst of a Golden Age in astronomy. From our vantage point in the Milky Way, astronomers have surveyed billions of light-years of space and peered billions of years back in time. Despite the many triumphant discoveries and successful theories, there remains much that is unexplained. This presentation will discuss the unsolved mysteries of what makes up the universe, are we likely to find more planets in the outer solar system, and can we find life beyond Earth.

May 5, 8:30 p.m.

Mr. Doug Nauman

Cedar Amateur Astronomers

Stellar Spectra

Almost everything we know about the make-up of our Universe is by analyzing the light that reaches us. Doug will give us a tour of the history, equipment, and physics behind what was once thought to be unknowable.

June 2, 8:30 p.m.

Dr. Scott Bounds

University of Iowa, Department of Physics and Astronomy


We will explore the fundamentals of orbits which dictate motions of everything in our solar system and beyond. Question: How easy would it be to launch something to the sun? Spoiler!: Virtually impossible.

June 30, 9:00 p.m.

Mr. John Leeson

Cedar Amateur Astronomers

What is up in the night sky.

July 14, 8:30 p.m.

Prof. Allison Jaynes

University of Iowa, Department of Physics and Astronomy

The origins and mystery of the aurora.

August 4, 8:00 p.m.

Prof. Kara Beauchamp

Cornell College

"The Search for Planets beyond the Solar System"

August 18, 3:00 p.m. -- Solar Day

Mr. Carl Bracken

Cedar Amateur Astronomers

The Sun

September 1, 7:30 p.m.

Prof. Ken Gayley

University of Iowa, Department of Physics and Astronomy

Why are some stars so much brighter than others, and how bright can they get?

It is clear from any glance into the night sky that some stars are much brighter than others. Some of this effect is due to their different distances, but the intrinsic brightness of different stars ranges over a factor of about a billion. Partly this is because stars of higher mass are generally brighter, and partly this is because the brightness of a single star, including our Sun, can change by a factor of a thousand over its lifetime. The reasons for this bring us on a tour of the discoveries in physics over the last century, and could not have even been guessed in any previous era.

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.