Welcome to Quad Cities Astronomical Society!

Stimulating an interest in the science of astronomy within the Quad Cities, nurturing an ongoing desire by our members to study the cosmos, and to providing members of our community opportunities to experience the
Joy and Beauty of Astronomy.

Upcoming Events

The Meridian News

  • Skyward February 2023 David H. Levy  – Back to the Moon
    Skyward February 2023 David H. Levy – Back to the Moon
    January 16, 2023

    Skyward February 2023 David H. Levy Back to the Moon I shouldn’t have been surprised by the complete success of the Artemis mission last fall.  NASA’s A team of engineers really know what they are doing.   The mission was fun to watch, particularly the brilliant light when the msain engines lit up,  and it provided some hope that we may actually return to the Moon, someday soon. But somehow, it isn’t the same.  Something is missing. For those of us who were alive and young in 1961, do you remember President Kennedy’s poignant speech to Congress on May 25, 1961, when he asked the nation to commit itself to landing a person on the Moon?  Only three days after my 13th birthday,  this was a call I heard distinctly.  I did miss the fact that this was the second of three speeches. The fireest call was during his inaugural address:  “Let both sides seek to invoke the wonders of science, instead of its terrors.   Together let us explore the stars…”  And at Rice University he gave his third:  “We choose to go to the Moon.” On August 25 of the summer of 1960,   I  observed a 99.2% partial eclipse of […]...

  • Skyward  January 2023  David H. Levy
    Skyward January 2023 David H. Levy
    December 16, 2022

    “When sorrows come, they come not single spies, But in battalions.” (Hamlet 4.5.76-77) This column begins with a delightful quotation from Hamlet, where King Claudius reflects on the deaths of Hamlet’s father, Polonius, and the madness of Ophelia. In this lonely period of my own life, the one constant I have is being able to continue doing the stargazing that I love so much. In recent months, the losses of Don Machholz, Constantine Papacosmas, and Wendee have tested the strength of observing the night sky as never before. But I must add to this the passing of my closest friend from my youth, Carl Jorgensen, on October 18. Of these four transitions that occurred late this year two of them—Don and Carl, both died from Covid. This is strong evidence that we are nowhere near being done with this dreadful illness. Our lifelong friendship began in November of 1963. I had just returned from a 14-month stay at the Jewish National Home for Asthmatic Children in Denver. At the observatory of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada in Montreal, Isabel Williamson introduced “young Carl Jorgensen” to “young David Levy” and our friendship never wavered over 59 stargazing years after that. […]...

  • Skyward – December 2022  By David H. Levy
    Skyward – December 2022 By David H. Levy
    November 20, 2022

    As I get older and older, the list of people who depart gets longer and increases with a greater frequency. But now I find myself writing, for the third month in a row, about the loss of someone who meant a lot to me and without whom I do not know how I will continue my own journey through the night sky. Constantine Papacosmas introduced himself to me the first night I entered the old observatory of the Montreal Centre of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada. The young observer had just completed a truly fabulous 8-inch reflector which we used once or twice. At that time he was brilliant, creative and inspiring. Within a few years we had become great friends and we spent a lot of time together.  One afternoon while walking down a hill to my junior high school classes, a car passed me, then slammed on its brakes about 300 meters away. Putting the car in reverse, the driver screeched backward until it reached me. “Hello David!” It was Constantine. You might have read a few months ago the story of how I got my own 8-inch reflector, Pegasus. It was a loaner scope. By the […]...

  • Skyward November 2022 Goodbye, Wendee.
    Skyward November 2022 Goodbye, Wendee.
    October 15, 2022

    Skyward November 2022 Goodbye, Wendee. Dear readers, What follows is the most difficult article I have ever written.  On Friday, September 23,  2022, my wife Wendee died.  She had been suffering from metastatic breast cancer for over a decade, but this past summer she was truly and clearly suffering.  We had an oncologist who was good clinically but who had no bedside manner, and a nurse practitioner who was very good, but a bit of a pollyanna.  Therefore, when Wendee began to destabilize by the hour near the end of September, I was just not prepared for it.  Wendee and I were together for more than thirty years, and we were married for the last 25 of them.    We got together as the result of a fix-up.  When Wendee’s Mom, Annette Wallach,  and my Mom, Edith Pailet Levy, resumed their childhood friendship in 1985, my father has just died from Alzheimer’s Disease.  They got together  in Montreal and immediately shared stories about their children.  Wendee, it turned out, had just separated from her first husband and I was long since divcorced from my “practice wife.”  They decided to try to bring us together.  Wendee was the first to reject the […]...

  • Skyward  September 2022 – David Levy
    Skyward September 2022 – David Levy
    August 15, 2022

    On first looking through Baade’s window Much have I travell’d in the realms of gold, And many goodly stars and clusters seen; Round celestial islands have I been With telescope after telescope to the night sky hold. Oft of one wide expanse had I been told That Galileo ruled as his demesne; Yet did I never breathe its pure serene Till I heard Baade speak out loud and bold: Then felt I like some watcher of the skies When a new star cluster swims into his ken; Through his majestic window looks upon the Milky Way He star’d at the centre of our galaxy. Like a diamond shining in the sky, with a wild surmise— Silent, through the mists of space and time. (–Keats, Chapman’s Homer sonnet, adapted for this article.) Lying in the western portion of Sagittarius, the archer, is a small region of sky that has unusual importance for astronomers around the world and which to med is one of the most beautiful things in the whole sky.  It was most thoroughly studied by the German astronomer Walter Baade while using the great 100-inch Hooker reflector at Mt. Wilson Observatory in California while searching for the center of […]...

  • 2022-08-03 Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints Young Men’s Encampment!
    2022-08-03 Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints Young Men’s Encampment!
    August 3, 2022

    What an excellent outing with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints Young Men’s Encampment! There were about 60 guests on site, and what a pleasure! We started off with a fairly detailed tour of the whole facility followed by a bit of Lunar viewing thru John’s refractor and Cecil running the 20″ Newt… Jim fielded questions in between folks looking at the site and looking thru gear while I demoed the classroom/dome and gave a quick demo of the 14″ SCT… So special thanks to those members! Thanks to Alan, Rusty and Sam who were able to come out, but due to the cloudy weather, I asked that they only come out if they wanted as there would be little to see with the 50% or more cloud cover. As usual, we were tied up with guests and didn’t get much in the line of pictures… but I did take 2 quick shots in the classroom/dome. Again, thanx to the youth group, and you are welcome back any time!!!...

  • Upcoming Events!
    Upcoming Events!
    August 1, 2022

    Hi all! Tomorrow, Tuessday, August 2nd, from 6PM to 8PM I will be at the Riverdale, IA Fire Station for public solar viewing. On the evening of Wednesday, August 3rd we have the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints Young Men’s Encampment at the Menke/QCAS Observatory…  about 70 guests are anticipated. On Monday, August 15th we have our 7 PM club meeting at St Ambrose, McCarthy Hall (lower level) or via Zoom. On Saturdays, August 20th, 27th and September 3rd we have public nites at the Menke/QCAS Observatory. As a member, your attendance at at least a couple events is appreciated. Clear Skies! Jeff...

  • Sept 23-25 Eastern Iowa Star Party!
    Sept 23-25 Eastern Iowa Star Party!
    August 1, 2022

    Hi all! The Eastern Iowa Star Party is alive and well, but of course in post-COVID recovery mode! This year’s event will be held on the night’s of Sept 23, 24, and 25…. Mark your calendars! What recovery mode means is that we wont have raffles or guest speakers this year, but weather permitting, 3 nice night’s of clear skies! I will hopefully have munchies and beverages on site… and there is no registration fee, HOWEVER, please RSVP! Donations, of course, are welcomed! If you haven’t visited our site in a while, you’ll notice that we have moved our dome from the old Sherman Park site to the Menke Observatory… our new location… and we have just today broken ground to build a second but larger roll off structure. We did acquire a bit more ground, so we can still easily hold 50 astronomers and their gear… At the event, I would like to take the opportunity to address the group as to the QCAS relationship with Menke Observatory… and also some exciting information and maybe a demonstration of the new Wilton School Observatory. So… please RSVP ASAP! This invitation is only going out to members of the QCAS, PAC, […]...

  • Last Night!  July 30 2022
    Last Night! July 30 2022
    July 31, 2022

    Great Meteor Shower Party at the Menke/QCAS Observatory last nite! —— THE RAFFLE WINNER —— From Riverdale, Iowa! Anthony H! —— CONGRATULATIONS!!! —— Thank you to all that purchased tickets, and those that attended the event!!! We did see a number of ‘Shooting Stars’… and folks were able to look thru a number of member scopes as well as 2 of the very large scopes permanently set up at the observatory. Objects viewed included the Moon, Saturn and Jupiter with their moons… Whirlpool, Bodes, and Cigar galaxies… Ring, Dumbell, and Blue Snowball Nebulae… Alberio and Mizar Binary Star Systems… M3, M,13, M22, M53 and NGC457 Star Clusters… all pretty awesome! But to me one of the coolest things is that the Milky Way was clearly and fully visible! A special thanx to club members, Robert, Jim, Sam, Mike, Travis, Cecil, John and Dana for helping with the event. On Tuessday, August 2nd I will be at the Riverdale, IA Firestation from 6PM to 8PM for public solar viewing. On Monday, August 15th our club meeting, will be held at St Ambrose University McCarthy Hall or virtually via Zoom… guests always welcome! On Saturday, August 20, 27th and September 3rd we […]...

  • Meteor Shower Party – July 30th 2022
    Meteor Shower Party – July 30th 2022
    July 26, 2022

    Weather pending, the Quad Cities Astronomical Society (QCAS) will be hosting it’s annual Meteor Shower Party, a free public viewing session, on Saturday, July 30th. The event begins shortly after sunset. Their observatory is located near the entrance of the Wapsi River Environmental Educational Center outside of Dixon, Iowa. A Google Map link to the site is as follows: https://goo.gl/maps/svKoY9kGvQ6sQuaN8 This facility house’s some of the areas largest telescopes including 30″, 20″,and 12″ Newtonians and a 14″ computer controlled Schmidt Cassegrain, all expected to be available for guests to look through. There will generally be member telescopes doing a variety of things in addition to visual astronomy such as electronically assisted astronomy (EAA) and astrophotography. After the event, the QCAS will be raffling off a new 4.5″ Orion Starblast table top Dobsonian telescope! This is a great entry level scope, and a great grab-n-go scope for the more advanced… it even could make a great finder scope if you have a large telescope! Tickets are $2 each or three for $5 and are available at the event… you can also do a Reply and maybe we can meet up for the purchase of tickets. You don’t need to be present […]...

We are always looking for more observing buddies!