Observatory and Planetarium  


David Levy and Mel Peterson - Mar. 29, 2001

Lets Talk Stars - weekly 55 minute radio show hosted by David Levy available in Tucson and here on the Internet.  He is the codiscoverer of 21 comets including Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 which broke into 20 pieces and crashed into Jupiter in 1994.

Click to see a larger image

"Hubble Space Telescope:  New Views of the Universe" - This is a new Smithsonian traveling exhibit that is on display at the Family Museum of Arts and Science in Bettendorf, Feb. 24 - May 6, 2001.   The photo at the left is of the 5:1 scale model at the exhibit.  The exhibit "Women in Flight" is on display during the same time period.

There is a movie as well.  Click here.

This is a picture of Comet McNaught-Hartley taken at the observatory at Augustana on January 18, 2001.  On Jan. 20 it was observed for about an hour and a movie was made.   Details.
Spacecraft NEAR Shoemaker made a successful "soft" landing (at 1.9 m/s) on asteroid 433 Eros on February 12, shooting some amazing pictures all the way down.  As it touched down it began sending a beacon.  The signal was locked onto by NASA's Deep Space Network antennas, which monitored the spacecraft until Feb. 28.
Check out some of the Christmas solar eclipse pictures.
Click for a larger image Horsehead Nebula.  This photo was taken on the morning of October 5, 2000, at Kitt Peak Observatory as part of the Advanced Observing Program.  The telescope was a Meade 16 inch LX200 (f/6.3) with an SBIG ST-8E CCD camera.  Adam Block, lead observer, Betty Peterson and Mel Peterson were the photographers.  This picture was processed using LRGB color production with exposures of 48 minutes for the luminance (greyscale), 10 minutes for the red component, 10 minutes for the green component, and 20 minutes for the blue component.  The full size image is 1522 x 1006 pixels.  Kitt Peak is the National Optical Astronomy Observatory (NOAO) and is operated by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA), Inc.  See Astronomy, October, 2000, page 80, for an article on this program by Adam Block.

Comet C/1999 S4 discovered by project LINEAR

Click for full 4' x 4' imageThis photo was taken by Vivian Hoette and David Renneke at the Yerkes Observatory at 3:50 am CDT on June 24, 2000 using an Apogee AP7p CCD camera mounted on a 24" telescope.  The angular field of view of the full image is 4 x 4 arcminutes.  The exposure time was 1 minute.  Here are the six photos that were taken.

On July 14, 2000, a sequence of pictures were taken by David Renneke at the Augustana Observatory.  Here is the animated GIF.  Here is an animated GIF taken by Vivian Hoette at Yerkes Observatory on July 7, 2000.  On July 23, 2000, a sequence of pictures were taken by David Renneke and Mel Peterson at the Augustana Observatory.  Here is the animated GIF.

Other photos may be found at JPL and at the Crni Vrh Observatory (in Slovenia).  When the comet reached perihelion, it broke into several small pieces.  It was subsequently observed by the Hubble telescope.

Artist's sketch of Stardust Stardust. This unique NASA spacecraft was successfully launched on Feb. 7, 1999. It will fly by Earth on Jan. 15, 2001. On Jan. 2, 2004 it will arrive at Comet Wild 2 (vilt 2), photograph it, and capture some of the dust in its tail. On Jan. 15, 2006 it will return to Earth with comet dust and interstellar dust. CNN story.
M57 - Ring Nebula M57 - Ring Nebula. The NASA Hubble Space Telescope has captured the sharpest view yet of the most famous of all planetary nebulae: the Ring Nebula. In this October 1998 image, the telescope has looked down a barrel of gas cast off by a dying star thousands of years ago. This photo reveals elongated dark clumps of material embedded in the gas at the edge of the nebula; the dying central star floating in a blue haze of hot gas. The nebula is about a light-year in diameter and is located some 2,000 light-years from Earth in the direction of the constellation Lyra. APOD story.
Click for a larger image International Space Station - The first module, Zarya, was successfully launched on Nov. 20, 1998.  In December, 1998, the space shuttle Endeavour installed the Unity module.  In July, 2000, the service module, Zvezda (star) was added.  The Station's first permanent crew arrived in November.  New solar array panels were deployed in December.  In February, 2001, the U.S. Destiny Laboratory module was installed.  If you wish to see the space station from your own backyard, here are the general and Rock Island viewing schedules.  Live orbital tracking is also available.
 Lee Carkner, Director
 John Deere Planetarium
 Augustana College
 Rock Island, IL 61201
 Planetarium and Observatory:  (309) 794-7327
 Office in Science 208:  (309) 794-3405


This site is maintained by David R. Renneke. Last update: March 30, 2001