[2015-Nov-14] At the November business meeting, last year's Directors were returned for another year of service.
[2015-Oct-26] The Cavendish Elementary School fifth grade class visited Stellafane today, touring Breezy Hill, the Porter Turret Telescope, observing sunspots and touring the Stellafane Clubhouse. This field trip followed a classroom visit last week by club member Ken Slater, who has been working with teacher Ann Thompson for seven years on these visits.
Adding some history and observational elements to the fifth grade astronomy curriculum, the students are exposed to the local history of amateur astronomy movement in the United States at Stellafane; they learn that you can make your own telescope and see and use several homemade telescopes; outdoor group activities illustrate why constellations rotate through the seasons; we talk about the solar cycle and sun spots, and observe sunspots through a telescope Stellafane donated to the class; the Stellafane meteorite is examined and it's origins and history are derived; and we answer an amazing number of interesting free-form questions that all that are prompted by all that they see at Stellafane. Using compasses and student made astrolabes, the bearing and elevation of several mountains visible from Breezy Hill are recorded by each student.
Today was a glorious fall day, clear, sunny, warm and still beautiful with fall colors. With a clear view of the Okemo ski area in Ludlow from Breezy hill, the students could estimate where Cavendish is located (between Ludlow and Springfield).
[2015-Oct-19] Held on the weekend of October 16-17, our 19th annual Up All Night star party and open house was a great success. We shared Breezy Hill with approximately 100 guests including students and educators from elementary schools and a college, scouts, 4H'ers, and lots of our neighbors from nearby. The clubhouse was warm and cozy with a fire in the fireplace and good food and conversation in the room.
The Porter Turret Telescope was operated by STMs John Gallagher and Tom Spirok and many fine objects, including Uranus and Neptune, were enjoyed by all. Several members and guests were using telescopes on the lawn. The seeing on Friday night was fantastic and several of us stayed up until dawn. Saturday evening was marked by a sudden snow squall and there was a rush to get telescopes taken down and put away while STM David McGaw made the lovely table sized snowman at right. No, that is not mashed potatoes, that is good ol' Vermont snowfall.
Thanks to the Breuning and Wilder families for hosting all these years. The warm welcome and delicious food are wonderful. Hope to see everyone again next year!
[2015-Sep-12] Stellafane was part of the Springfield Steampunk Festival on September 11 and 12. We gave of tours of (the very steampunky) Hartness Turret Telescope and our Amateur Telescope Making Museum in the underground chambers of the Hartness House. The Porter Garden Telescope as a particular favorite of our visitors this weekend. Here are several photos of only a very few of the Steampunkers who visited us this weekend - we were very busy all weekend. Photos and captions by Jay Drew
[2015-Aug-26] For the sixth year, Stellafane will be partnering with the Saint-Gaudens National Historic Site in Cornish, NH to hold a free, public Star Party there on Saturday evening September 5th. The evening will start with an 8:00 PM talk about the history of astronomy in the Upper Connecticut River Valley. Following that, as darkness falls, we will be viewing through many telescopes on the west facing lawn, and members of the Springfield Telescope makers will be available to show you many interesting objects in the night sky and answer your questions about astronomy. Please see this National Park Service Press Release (PDF) for full details and information about rain-out/cloud-out dates. This has been a popular event in past years with good attendance - we look forward to showing you the night sky!
We will also be holding and Open House and Star Party at Stellafane in Springfield, VT on Friday & Saturday October 16-17. Check back here for more details as those dates draw near.
[2015-Aug-13] VPR's Jane Lindholm interviewed long time club member and former secretary Tom Sprirock about Stellafane, the Convnetion and Telescope Making on the opening day of the 2015 Convention. You can listen to this excellent interview on VPR.net.
[2015-Jul-30] Long-time STM member Dennis di Cicco has been honored with the Walter Scott Houston Award, which will be presented at the Stellafane Convention Saturday evening program on August 15.
The NERAL Annual Meeting will be held on Saturday August 15, 2015 at 5:00pm at the Stellafane Convention under the FOOD TENT. The public is welcome!
[2015-May-16] Our president found the ridge board from Porter Turret Telescope blown off on his first visit to the site in 2015, and he scheduled a roof replacement work day after noticing the shingles were rather 'crispy'.
The old shingles were stripped, the old tar impregnated roll roofing underneath was in very good condition and left on. The south side eve boards were getting punky, and they were replaced. White aluminum drip edge was added, as well as new 15 pound tar paper. Premium red cedar shakes were installed on the west side.
Those activities filled the day, and the east side shakes, red cedar ridge boards and painting will be finished up in early June.
Participating in this project were President Dave Tabor and Julie Tabor, Past President Jeff Lowe, Matt Considine, Steven Forbes, VP Ken Slater, Tatyana, Olga and Zhenya Malikowski.
Webmaster Ken Slater has created a page documenting this change here.
[2014-Dec-20] Stellafane is saddened by the loss of Harry Vandermeer, a life long optical professional. Several club members worked with or for Harry during his long career in the optical industry.
In 1990, he arranged for the donation of high quality optical glass to the Springfield Telescope Makers for the making of the largest Schupmann Telescope in the Western Hemisphere. It's unique optical properties allow very high contrast images of the Moon, stars, and planets. Members also use the telescope to do research on the orbits of double stars. Several of his employees have been members of the Amateur Telescope Makers of Boston, which meets at Harvard Observatory.
He worked at Diffraction Limited, Inc managing optical programs related to Aerial Reconnaissance. He helped develop Hycon lenses for the SR-71 Blackbird and Laser Altimeters that were flown on Apollo 15, 16, and 17 lunar missions.
Harry worked as an optical physicist for most of his career and formed Optical Systems & Technology, Inc.,at Bedford, MA in 1972. His company specialized in the design and fabrication of large precision telescope systems for NASA and several other government agencies, including the US Navy for submarine optics. Many systems have been flown aboard the Space Shuttle and an ultraviolet spectrometer is approaching the minor planet, Pluto, aboard the New Horizons spacecraft. Arrival is expected in the summer of 2015.