Observatory and Planetarium  


The photo on the left is of the first quarter moon taken by Mel Peterson on Mar. 21, 2002.  He used a digital camera placed on the eyepiece of the 14" telescope.

Click for a larger image.

Comet Ikeya-Zhang 

This comet was discovered on Feb. 1, 2002.  It put on a spectacular show in March and April.  The photo on the left is by Gerald Rhemann of Austria.   The Andromeda galaxy (M31) is in the lower left of the picture.  Here is a comet photo by David Renneke taken at 7:45 pm, Mar. 16, 2002, using 800 speed 35 mm film.  The exposure time was 30 s.

Although we were clouded out locally, the Leonid meteor shower on Nov. 18, 2001 was fantastic.  Check out the photo galley assembled by SpaceWeather.com.

Aurora Borealis - A set of photographs were taken by Donna and David Renneke at 10:30 pm on Nov. 5, 2001, northwest of Davenport, Iowa.  The one on the left is a 16 second exposure using a 2 megapixel digital camera.  Larger image (59 K).  Original photo (291 K).   Plot of the estimated planetary K-index.   Details about the interplanetary magnetic field.  For the latest information on solar activity go to SpaceWeather.com.  Here is their spectacular aurora gallery.

Photo taken by Dave Renneke


This photo was taken in the Augustana Observatory on July 6, 2001 at 3:52 am.  Here is the photo gallery maintained by Spaceweather.com.  On May 18, 2001, Gordon Garradd took a composite AP-7 CCD picture.

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.

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.  

Comets that are visible currently are reported by Charles Morris.  

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 flew 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.
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: July 22, 2002