Total Lunar Eclipse
The planetarium and observatory will be open to the public from 9:30 to 11:30 pm on Sunday, Jan. 20, 2018 for a Total Lunar Eclipse Open House. During this total lunar eclipse there will be indoor and outdoor programs in the planetarium and the observatory.  Admission is free.

A lunar eclipse occurs when the alignment of the Earth, Sun and Moon is such that the Earth blocks the sunlight that normally makes the Moon shine. During the eclipse, the Moon is slowly covered and then uncovered by the Earth's shadow. The totally eclipsed Moon is an eerie and awe-inspiring faint red disk. With a telescope, or even with the naked eye, the shadow's progress can be observed across the Moon's craters, highlands, and the Maria, or dark portions of the Moon.

Augie's John Deere Planetarium unveils $150,000 upgrade in Rock Island
Here is an article by John David of WQAD Channel 8 on Nov. 30, 2018. It features a 1:38 video interview with Dr. Lee Carkner and shows some of the capabilities of the new planetarium instrument.

Augustana Observatory
The Carl Gamble Observatory shown above features a Celestron C14 computer-driven 14-inch reflector telescope. In addition to being used by various classes, the observatory is open to the public on special occasions such as our annual Spring open house and Fall open house. It was also open for viewing Comet HyakutakeComet Hale-Bopp and a 2015 lunar eclipse.

John Deere Planetarium

A free illustrated program about the nighttime sky and the solar system is provided, by appointment, during the academic year
for school classes (beginning with Grade 3) and other groups of up to 60 persons. The program, which lasts about 45 minutes and is in the dark, is presented by Dr. Lee Carkner, Director, using the new Digitarium Lambda planetarium instrument. Dr. Carkner is a member of the Department of Physics and 

Program appointments can be arranged by calling Jennifer Milner at the Planetarium, (309) 794-7318, or you may request information by email at The observatory and planetarium are located on the college campus at 820 38th Street.

For one week in December, the public is invited to attend the annual
 holiday program.

Here a few sources of current astrophysics information.
   Astronomy Picture of the Day - a service of Goddard Space Flight Center, NASA
   Current astronomy news - latest news from Sky and Telescope
   Space Weather - updated news and information about the Sun-Earth environment
   Star Walk news - new stories nearly every day
   This week's sky - from Sky and Telescope

Here are a few spacecraft that are currently active.

Insight - (Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport), a Mars lander
OSIRIS-REx - mission to asteroid Bennu
Juno - mission at Jupiter
New Horizons - Pluto and beyond
Parker Solar Probe - will study the Sun's atmosphere
Hubble Space Telescope - launched in 1990 by space shuttle Discovery