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John Deere Planetarium and Carl Gamble Observatory

Stargazing, educational programs and planet viewing are offered to the community as well as campus. A yearly highlight is the Season of Light holiday show.

John Deere Planetarium and Carl Gamble Observatory

Fall open house Oct. 12

Augustana College's John Deere Planetarium invites the community to its annual fall open house from 7:30-9 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 12.

The planetarium, located at 820 38th Street, will offer indoor and outdoor programs led by planetarium director Dr. Lee Carkner. Admission is free.

The evening’s events will include a planetarium show where the wonders of the night sky will be presented on the facility’s 30-foot dome. Views of astronomical objects, including the planet Jupiter and the first-quarter moon will be provided via the telescopes of the Carl Gamble Observatory.

In addition, the Getz-Rogers Gallery, where images of celestial objects and a quarter-ton piece of the Canyon Diablo meteor are on display, also will be open to the public.  

The Fryxell Geology Museum, which features one of the best collections of minerals and fossils in the Midwest, will also be open to the public. Highlights include a wall of glowing, fluorescent rocks, a cast of a Tyrannosaurus rex skull, and a complete 22-foot long skeleton of Cryolophosaurus, a large crested carnivorous dinosaur discovered in Antarctica discovered by retired Augustana professor Dr. William Hammer.

The observing areas are unheated, so viewers should appropriate to the weather. In the event of cloudy conditions, telescope views may not be possible but the indoor programs will still be offered.

Programs by appointment

A free illustrated program about the nighttime sky and the solar system is provided at the planetarium, by appointment, during the academic year for classes beginning with third grade, and for other groups of up to 60 persons. The 45-minute program is presented by Dr. Lee Carkner, director, using a Digitarium Lambda laser projector. Call 309-794-7318.

The observatory features a Celestron C14 computer-driven 14-inch reflector telescope. The observatory is open to the public on special occasions.

Full-dome shows with new projector

The planetarium unveiled a new digital projection system in time for its annual Seasons of Light show in December 2018. (Read more)

A passion for the stars, a mission for Augustana

In 1969, a Saturn V rocket thrust Apollo 11 towards the moon. That same year, Augustana College threw open the doors to its new John Deere Planetarium and Carl Gamble Observatory. (Read more)


Open to the public during special events; call 309-794-7318 or email Jennifer Milner for more information or program appointments.


820 38th St.
Rock Island, IL 61201
United States

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