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

– Edwin Hubble

CAA Public Events 2019

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.

2020 Presentations

Date     Time
Mar 21 7:30
Apr 25  8:00
May 16 8:30
Jun 13 9:00
Jul 11   9:00
Jul 25   3:00-6:00 Solar Saturday
Aug 8    8:30
Aug 22 8:00
Sep 12 7:30
Sep 26 7:30 InOMN: Lunar Saturday
Oct 10  7:30
Nov 7   7:30

2019 Presentations

October 5, 7:30 p.m. Lunar Night

Prof. Steve Spangler

University of Iowa, Department of Physics and Astronomy

The Moon: key to understanding the Solar System

International Observe the Moon Night

October 19, 7:30 p.m.

Sam Ponnada

Student at The University of Iowa

Gravbox- An Augmented Reality Sandbox for Gravitational Dynamics

November 30, 7:30 p.m.

Zach Luppen

Graduate Student at Iowa State University

The Europa Clipper and JUICE Spacecraft: Two Upcoming Missions to the Jovian System

2019 Past Presentations

March 30, 7:30 p.m.

Prof. Steve Spangler

University of Iowa, Department of Physics and Astronomy

Star Clusters: Cities of Stars

April 27, 8:00 p.m.

Mr. Brent Studer

CAA Member

Cosmic Mayhem: Supernovae, Active Galactic Nuclei, and Other High-Energy Events That Have Shaped Earth's HIstory.

May 25, 8:30 p.m.

Prof. Robert Mutel

University of Iowa, Department of Physics and Astronomy

Was Einstein right? Experimental tests of general relativity over the past 100 years.

June 22, 9:00 p.m.

Dr. Scott Bounds

University of Iowa, Department of Physics and Astronomy


July 13, 3:00 p.m. -- Solar Day

Mr. Carl Bracken

Cedar Amateur Astronomers

Our sun and solar cycles

July 20, 8:30 p.m.

David V.Wendell


The Apollo Space Program in Iowa: A 50th Anniversary Celebration

August 3, 8:30 p.m.

Prof. Cornelia Lang

University of Iowa, Department of Physics and Astronomy

University of Iowa and the Race for Space

Did you know that Iowa played a major role in the International Space Race of the 1960s? Join Professor Lang for stories of the contributions of University of Iowa scientists and students to the race for space. She will discuss the life and legacy of Professor James Van Allen and also give many examples of current spacecraft and research projects ongoing today in the Department of Physics and Astronomy that work to continue his legacy in space.

August 24, 8:00 p.m.

Dr. Caroline A. Roberts

Astronomy Laboratory Coordinator and VAO Observatory Manager, University of Iowa, Department of Physics & Astronomy

Finding Masses of Supermassive Black Holes

September 21, 7:30 p.m.

Prof. Ken Gayley

University of Iowa, Department of Physics and Astronomy

Does the Earth really orbit the Sun? The Importance of Perspective.

A famous debate between Galileo and the authorities of the day seemed, on the surface, to be about whether the Earth orbits the Sun or the Sun orbits the Earth. Since then, we have discovered that the stakes of that debate were actually quite different, and quite a bit more important, but the issue of what orbits what does not exhibit the character of a physical truth. Understanding what is a physical truth, and how our perspective relates to our understanding, is a valuable tool in modern astronomy, and has deeper philosophical implications that we will explore.

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.