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My first Stellafane was marvelous. Well organized, good food, and helpful volunteers and STM members. I loved the spectrum from amazing "Artisan" 'scopes to the "crude-but-effective" 'scopes. It was great hanging out with like-minded people, attending interesting presentations and the swap meet was a lot fun. Saturday afforded fabulous viewing that many living near large cities seldom experience.
However, I had expected a better white-light discipline, and I was also under the impression that laser pointers were strongly discouraged if not banned. That was my only disappointment in a wonderful couple of days.
May you continue as long as humans look up at the skies.
Thanks, Ed Glasheen
Stellafane Comment: We ban laser pointers from the Breezy Hill/Club House area and work hard to have no white lights up there also. Stellafane East is a bit less strict; we tolerate some white light from cars as we cannot restrict after dark vehicle movement there, and we do ask people to use white light if necessary for safety when leaving the Saturday Eveing Program. Otherwise, white light should not be used after dark in or near any observing area.
Thursday night was a fairly good one at Stellafane East this year. I spent over three hours observing with the Kopernik Observatory and New Hampshire Astronomical Society contingents and two more hours near the McGregor Observatory, with Scott Ewart (12.5" ATM split-ring equatorial Newtonian), Sue and Alan French (4.1" Astro-Physics Traveler refractor), and Shane LaPierre (24" ATM Dob). Memorable views included many of the Messier objects in Sagittarius (e.g., M8, M17, M20, and M22) through 18 and 20" Obsession Dobs, NGC 7009 and NGC 7293 (the Helix Nebula) through a 20" Obsession, M15 through the 24”, and NGC 6960 (the western section of the Veil Nebula) through a 25” Obsession. Quite a few late Perseids, some of which were rather bright, graced the skies.
I attended the Meteorite Show and Tell presentation in the McGregor Observatory Library on Friday afternoon. The weather was fine until about 6:00 p.m. EDT, when it began to rain. It wasn't a major case of "Stellarain" but the sky remained cloudy and foggy for most of the night.
On Saturday, I visited the swap meet, bought three meteorites from Geoffrey Notkin and Steve Arnold, otherwise known as the Meteorite Men, and visited Breezy Hill. Various white light and H-alpha filtered refractors provided for great solar viewing. It was the first time that I'd seen the Sun through the 13" Schupmann medial refractor.
The Science Channel’s Meteorite Men gave one of the most amusing Stellafane keynote talks that I can recall.
Saturday night was excellent. The transparency was much better than on Thursday. I saw a hint of the Pipe Nebula (LDN 1773) naked-eye early on and had many fine views through my Celestron 8x42s, the 13" Schupmann refractor (M57), the 13" Arunah Hill Fitz refractor (M11, Epsilon Lyrae, and Jupiter), the 24" ATM Dob (M2), the 25" Obsession (M13), a 28" StarStructure Dob (M8 and M20), John Vogt's 32" Dob (M17 and NGC 6960), as well as many smaller apertures, including the top three winning telescopes in the competition (a 7" Schupmann refractor, a 6" Newtonian on a bowling ball mount, and a 12.5" truss-tube Dob) on Breezy Hill. I also had a chance to look through some of the new focal length Delos eyepieces (4.5mm, 8mm, 12mm, and 14mm) with Al Nagler and his 101mm Tele Vue NP-101 apochromat, during the day and at night.
Dave Mitsky (ASH, CAS, DVAA)
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