This schedule is still under development, and event details and/or times may change, and events may also be deleted or added as speakers and venues are resolved.
A related event which requires separate registration and fees - The Lunar Morphology Workshop - will be held on Thursday, August 5th at the Hartness House with an outstanding list of speakers.
Major Convention Event
New to Astronomy Event
Telescope Making Event
Seminars and Workshops
[McGregor] In or near the McGregor Observatory, Stellafane East.
[Pavilion] In or near the Flanders Pavilion, Stellafane East.
[Clubhouse] In or near the Pink Stellafane Clubhouse on Breezy Hill.
[Turret] The Porter Turret Telescope, in front of the Clubhouse.
[Dome] The Domed Observatory south of the McGregor.
[Museum] In the Hartness House in Springfield. (Map)
Click links to go to event details further down on this page. Sequences marked in brackets (example: <A1>, <A2>, <A3>) are scheduled so that you can attend the entire sequence of similarly themed topics, and you will be near the next event at the end of the previous one.
The fastest way to find event details is to click on the event of interest in the Overall Schedule above. Event Details are still being prepared and added; If you don't see the event information you are interested in, please check back later.
by Bert Willard Saturday, 11:45am to 1:45pm in the Pavilion.
Learn how to use the optical design and analysis software OSLO. Bring your laptop with OSLO EDU already downloaded from this site (free educational version): http://www.lambdares.com/education/. Note, OSLO only works on PCs. We will learn how to set up basic telescope types (achromat, Newtonian, Gregorian, Schupmann as time allows), vary parameters, and evaluate image performance. You are welcome to attend even if you don’t have a laptop and learn from the projected computer screen. Our instructor, Bert Willard, member of the Springfield Telescope Makers, has used OSLO for many years as an optical systems designer at MIT Lincoln Laboratory.
by Al Takeda, Friday and Saturday Nights, if clear, 8:00 p.m. - ???
Near the Ash Dome, South of the McGregor Observatory in the main observing field.
An astrophotographer since the "film days", Al Takeda will give a demonstration of imaging possibilities with the Canon 20D and 5D DSLRs. The 20D is a standard mid- level daylight camera with an 8.2 Megapixel, 22.5mm x 15mm CMOS chip. The 5D is similar but has been modified to capture more of the red spectrum. Technically they are not true astronomy cameras, but if you take many images and combine them, celestial objects that are invisible in the eyepiece reveal themselves on the computer screen.
The power of modern digital photography is the ability to observe detail in objects that cannot be seen visually in real time. Al will set up his equipment and describe the use of DSLRs in astro-imaging, the image capturing session, and post-processing of those images.
The evening program will begin at 7:00 p.m. Saturday in the hillside amphitheater (In case of inclement weather, the program will be held inside the pavilion). Bob Morse, of the Springfield Telescope Makers, will be master of ceremonies.
Dr. Rockosi will discuss her experiences working on the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS). The SDSS mapped the Northern sky by building a dedicated 2.5mm telescope, mosaic CCD imaging camera, and multi-fiber spectrographs. It created multi-color images of the sky and three-dimensional maps of the distribution of galaxies that have been used to make discoveries about the most distant quasars, the stars in our Milky Way galaxy, and just about everything in between. She will cover her experiences as part of the team that built the telescope and CCD camera, as well as the new knowledge gained from SDSS data, including discoveries by amateur astronomers working with the public data.
Friday evening, August 6th, at 8:30 p.m. Carl Malikowski, of the Springfield Telescope Makers, will conduct the informal talks in the Flanders Pavilion. If you wish to contribute a short talk during this session, you must submit a brief description of your planned presentation with your registration payment or at send an e-mail to email@example.com. Talks are limited to 10 minutes and 20 slides. The time limit will be strictly enforced! A 35-mm slide projector, overhead projector, VCR, and a digital projector will be available for your use. Note that if you plan to use the digital projector, you must bring your own laptop.
The following set of talks, identified by a yellow background in the header, are targeted at people who are still relatively new to amateur astronomy. Here is a Printable PDF of the beginner program.
by Brad Vietje and John Gallagher Friday, August 6th, 3:00 p.m. & Saturday, August 7th, 11:30 a.m. Meet at the Turret Telescope.
Located at the summit of Breezy Hill, immediately to the North of the Stellafane Pink Clubhouse, The Russell Porter Turret Telescope is one of three known “turret telescopes”. The primary advantage of this type of telescope is that the observers are inside of the observatory building, protected from the cold temperatures of long winter nights and biting mosquitoes of summer nights. Brad Vietje and John Gallagher, both members and past presidents of the Springfield Telescope Makers, will talk about the history of the Turret Telescope, demonstrate how the telescope is used and observe the Sun, if the weather permits and the Sun obliges by displaying some sunspots.
by Roger Williams Friday, August 6th, 4:15 p.m. & Saturday, August 7th, 12:30 p.m. Starts behind the Pink Clubhouse near the green shed.
To illustrate the vast size of outer space, the Springfield Telescope Makers have constructed a scale model of the solar system, based on the Sun being 12 inches in diameter. At that scale, the Earth would be approximately 1/10 of an inch in diameter and 107 feet from the Sun. Jupiter would be 1.2 inches in diameter and approximately 560 feet from the Sun.
The “Solar System Walk” begins behind the Pink Clubhouse and proceeds down the road going towards the Stellafane camping area. At the appropriate distance, from the scale model of the Sun, there are stations with the appropriate planet, built to scale, and a short description of each planet. The Solar System walk can be taken on your own at any time during the convention. However, a guided walk is available at the times mentioned above, when docent Roger Williams will provide additional information about the “Solar System Walk” and each particular planet. The walk takes approximately ¾ of an hour, if you walk all the way to the planet Neptune, with a total distance of 3,232 ft, or a little over ½ of a mile.
by Kim Keegan, Dennis Cassia & Gary Cislak Friday, August 6th, 5:00 p.m. in the McGregor Observatory & Saturday, August 7th, 10:30 a.m. in the Pavilion.
Are you familiar with these terms: “The Pink”, “Tent Talks” or “The Turret”? If not, if this is your first time attending the Stellafane convention or if you are retuning and want to learn more about who the Springfield Telescope Makers are, as well as what is going on during the convention, then this presentation is for you. Topics include, but are not limited to: A short history of Stellafane, a description of our site, including the buildings and landmarks, descriptions of the scheduled talks and activities, services available at Stellafane, local services off site, etc., in addition to answering any questions you may have about the convention.
by Alan French Friday, August 6th, 10:00 p.m. in the McGregor Observatory
To naked-eye observers, the dome of the night is the backdrop for ancient tales of gods and heroes embodied by the constellations. These starry figures give us a framework for following the paths of bright comets, satellites, and wandering planets. When exploring the sky with binoculars and telescopes, they become handy landmarks for tracking down celestial wonders invisible to the eye alone. During this presentation, Alan French will introduce the constellations, or help you expand your knowledge. He'll provide helpful hints, star map recommendations, and a kit to make a simple planisphere to aid your study. Weather permitting, there will be a constellation tour.
by John Vogt and Cark Malikowski Saturday, August 7th, 10:30 a.m., meets in front of the Pink Clubhouse.
During the “Telescope Field Walk”, John Vogt and Carl Malikowski, experienced Amateur Telescope Makers, will guide small groups through the fields around the Pink Clubhouse, where the telescopes that will be participating in the mechanical competition will be set up. They will describe the various types of optical designs and mounting configurations that will be on display, point out the subtle details that go into award winning telescopes and be available to answer your questions.
by Richard Sanderson Saturday, August 7th, 12:30 p.m. in the McGregor Observatory
Using stunning images of constellations, planets, and celestial objects, Richard Sanderson will lead an interpretive tour of the summer nighttime sky. He will describe how the sky appears to move throughout the night and from season to season, and explain the significance of the North Star. He will speculate about life on other worlds and show many of the prominent summer constellations. The presentation is aimed at beginners of all ages.
by Phil Harrington & Carl Lancaster Saturday, August 7th, 1:30 p.m. in the McGregor Observatory
“Collimation”, the process of ensuring that the optics of a telescope are aligned correctly, is critical to ensure that a telescope is providing the best images that it is capable of. This process may appear to be in the genre of advanced amateur astronomers but, in reality, is not nearly as difficult as you might think. This hands-on workshop will discuss the basic steps beginners can take to ensure that the optics of their telescope are properly aligned and adjusted.
If you are interested in learning how to collimate the optics of your telescope, set your telescope up in the observing field immediately to the South of the McGregor Observatory before 1:30 p.m. on Saturday, August 7th. Then, attend the brief class room lecture on basic collimation in the McGregor Observatory at 1:30 p.m. After this brief lecture, Phil Harrington & Carl Lancaster will escort the group, weather permitting, out to the observing field to inspect each participant’s telescope and demonstrate the collimation process.
by Alan French & Glenn Chapel Saturday, August 7th, 5:00 p.m. in the McGregor Observatory
Adults and youngsters often become interested in astronomy and acquiring a telescope for exploring the heavens. With the plethora of telescopes on the market, buying your first telescope, or a telescope for a child, can be intimidating. In this program Alan French & Glenn Chapel will cover telescope basics (types, mounts, and eyepieces), telescopes suitable for children, and introduce you to observing and finding sights in the night sky.
by John Briggs Saturday, August 7th, 10:00 p.m. in the McGregor Observatory
The beauty of the night sky is a driving motivation for telescope making, the Stellafane convention and astronomy in general. John W. Briggs, a physics & astronomy instructor at Clay Science Center, will show how to become oriented in the sky using popular references, recent new software and other tools of astronomy. The presentation will be appropriate for all ages. Weather permitting, after the program the group will use the historic 5-inch Alvan Clark refractor, originally installed at Abbot Academy in 1875.
The Saturday technical talks will run from 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm in the Flanders Pavilion. Wayne Zuhl, STM, will be master of ceremonies. The technical talks are targeted at a advanced amateurs and while novices are welcomed to attend, the material presented will not generally be at the introductory level. Printable PDF of Tech Talk program.
2:00 pm - 2:45pm Schiaparelli’s classic study of Mercury, in the light of CCD imagery William Sheehan, John Boudreau, and Alessandro Manara: In the 1880s, Giovanni Schiaparelli, director of the Brera Observatory in Milan and already famous for his mapping of Mars, undertook a long and careful study of the innermost planet, Mercury. He had a keen eye, a good telescope, and introduced the daylight study of the planet. He was able to make out delicate features on the planet’s surface and after a series of observations occurring over a period of seven years, produced a planispher, announced that the rotation period of the planet was the same as the orbital period, 88 days, and also that the surface was obscured by dust or vapors leading to his conclusion that the planet had an atmosphere more substantial than that of Mars. His work would be confirmed and re-confirmed by later observers of the visual era. But, as was first discovered by radio astronomers in 1965, Schiaparelli got the rotation period and everything else all wrong. The anatomy of what led to Schiaparelli’s magnificent failure is presented through a detailed reevaluation of the original drawings recorded in his observing logs in the light of CCD images of the planet obtained under nearly identical observing conditions. The result is to fundamentally vindicate Schiaparelli’s data while at the same time showing how the problems he set himself to resolve exceeded the threshold of human capability for an observer equipped with eye, sketchpad, and telescope.
2:45 pm - 3:30 pm Which Way is Up? Bob Bower: The talk will describe the history of the two 16 inch glass blanks which will be used in my next telescope construction project (a Newtonian-binocular). It will include Royalty, a sea battle, "The Man who bought a Navy", and the Orkney Islands.
3:30 pm - 4:15 pm Re-Constructing the Weight Drive for the 8¼ Inch Alvan Clark at Seagrave Memorial Observatory Allen Hall: By the year 1980, many of the components to the Weight Drive for the Grand Old Alvan Clark refractor at Seagrave Memorial Observatory, in North Scituate, RI, had been lost or destroyed. This talk will chronicle efforts to restore the original weight drive system to the telescope, and the steps taken to reverse engineer all of the original system components from old photographs.
4:15 pm - 5:00 pm Best Targets for Astrophotography at Stellafane Ruben Kier: Ruben Kier’s lecture will focus on the choice of celestial objects for astrophotography, especially objects situated for imaging at this year’s Stellafane convention. In choosing targets for imaging, amateur astrophotographers should seek out compositions that inspire the viewer. Furthermore, the object should be bright enough to image with an average CCD camera through a backyard telescope during a single evening. The target needs to be large enough to show detail, and high enough in the sky to be captured from northern latitudes. Some of the best compositions include a second object to create a more dynamic image. With careful planning and proper choice of targets, amateur astronomers can obtain excellent images rivaling those obtained by professionals.
There will be four 1-hour astronomy workshops for children held in the McGregor Observatory during the 2010 Stellafane Convention (Friday, August 6th at 11:00 a.m. & 3:00 p.m. and Saturday, August 7th at 11:00 a.m. & 3:00 p.m.). These astronomy workshops have been held at the Stellafane convention since 1995. Led by Dr. Kristine Larsen, of Central Connecticut State University and member of the Springfield Telescope Makers, each of the four 1-hour workshops includes several activities geared for children ages 5 - 12. Younger children are welcome but will need help from a parent. Each workshop has a different astronomical theme. Please inquire at the McGregor Observatory for the theme for each specific workshop. Due to space limitations, each workshop is limited to 25 children on a first-come basis.
The Swap Tables (located at the northeast edge of the main camping/parking area) are provided to give amateurs an opportunity to trade, buy or sell their surplus astronomical and telescope related items. They operate from 7:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Saturday, August 7th.
POLICY OF THE SPRINGFIELD TELESCOPE
MAKERS REGARDING COMMERCIALISM
AND THE SWAP TABLES AT THE CONVENTION
The Springfield Telescope Makers, Inc. has clarified its policy regarding commercialism and Swap Table sales at the Stellafane convention. For the sake of historical continuity, to preserve the uniqueness of the Stellafane convention and to encourage conventioneers to build their own instruments, the Springfield Telescope Makers, Inc. do not allow commercial sales, of any kind, at the Stellafane convention. All swap table sales must comply, in concept, with the above objective but are also specifically subject to the following criteria:
The Springfield Telescope Makers, Inc. may choose to grant a limited exception to the above policies to astronomy related organizations for their fundraising. Any request for an exemption must be made, in writing, at least one month prior to the convention. If granted, the President of the Springfield Telescope Makers, Inc. will notify the requesting organization in writing.
Any member of the Springfield Telescope Makers, Inc. has the authority to determine whether a party is in compliance with the established regulations. Any person who is found to be in violation of the stated policies will be required to comply. Failing compliance, the offending party will be asked to leave the convention and may be escorted from the premises by convention security.
The Springfield Telescope Makers, Inc. encourages those with questions regarding
this policy to contact the Club
via the Stellafane web page (www.stellafane.com). During the convention, any questions regarding this policy, the appropriateness of items being displayed, or any information being disseminated should be directed to a member of the Springfield Telescope Makers, Inc.
The Shuttle Bus makes two stops in Stellafane East, one by the Food Tent and one by the main Camping Area (See Stellafane East Site Map). It makes one stop on Breezy Hill near the Clubhouse.
The Porter/Hartness Museum of Amateur Telescope Making is located in the underground rooms at the Hartness House Inn. Visit the museum on Friday from 5:00pm to 8:00 pm or Sunday from 9:00am to Noon. Admission is free. Follow the signs in town to the Hartness House at 30 Orchard Street of VT-143 (Map). Many of the items on display are by or about Russell W. Porter, including the Springfield and Garden telescopes. His artwork traces his arctic exploration years to his work on the 200" Palomar telescope, culminating in his famous cutaway drawings. Other items of interest include early telescopes and mirror making parts. The Hartness turret telescope, with its 10" Brashear objective, may also be inspected.
There will be a HANDS-ON mirror making demonstration Friday from Noon until 6:00 pm near the Flanders Pavilion. Gain first-hand experience working on mirrors at every stage of grinding, polishing and testing. Experienced ATMs will help explain each step of the process. The demonstration will continue Saturday at 9:30 a.m., and will continue until 1:00 pm.
The 13th-Annual Stellafane horseshoe pitching contest is scheduled to begin at 1:30 p.m. Friday near the Flanders Pavilion. There will be adult and kid’s competitions. “Astro” prizes will be awarded.
Detailed information about the Telescope Competition is on the Telescope Competition Page.
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