[2014-Aug-08] Stellafane will be offering two free public star parties this fall - come join us for one or both!
Saint-Gaudens National Historic Site September 13 8:00 PM
Route 12A, Cornish, NH
In partnership with the National Park Service, the Springfield Telescope Makers will hold the fifth annual Star Party at Saint-Gaudens national Historic Site. From the expansive lawn that overlooks the Connecticut River with beautiful views of Mount Ascutney to the west, we will have many telescopes set up for your viewing enjoyment, and skilled members of the club will answer you questions and point out celestial wonders. The evening will start at 8:00 PM with a talk about the history of astronomy in the Upper Connecticut River Valley. When darkness falls, we will begin telescopic viewing. More details in the press release.
National Park Service Press Release: PDF
Star Party & Open House at Stellafane September 20 7:00 PM
Jordan Road, Springfield, VT
Details will be posted later.
[2014-Feb-06] Several years ago Dr. Dan Fabricant of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics donated some Zerodur slugs to Stellafane. The slugs were scrap left over from coring out material for use in Masers (club member Dave Prowten facilitated this donation). The donor asked that if we made mirror blanks out of the material, he would appreciate having one of them.
Club member Dave Kelly took on the job of slicing the slugs and grinding their two surfaces parallel. For the blank he planned to return to Dr. Fabricant, he took the further step of polishing all surfaces, including the edges, to a fine polish. On Friday, February 6, Dave, Deb Clogston and Paul Valleli visited CfA to present the mirror blank to Dr. Fabricant (see photo).
The Springfield Telescope Makers appreciate this donation, and look forward to using these fine Zerodur blanks in future projects.
[2014-Jan-23] Father and son Alan & Aaron Sliski, Ken Launie, and John Briggs, all veterans of the annual Stellafane Convention, teamed to disassemble a 37¼-inch clear-aperture Boller & Chivens reflector built in 1965 for Princeton University. The effort will facilitate a new life of education and research for the telescope, now in the stewardship of the Michele and David Mittelman Family Foundation. Disassembly began immediately after the 2013 Convention, when the optics, mirror cells, a spare primary mirror, and lighter parts were removed by Briggs and Launie with the help of Princeton staff and a rental truck. The process continued in late September, when Briggs and the Sliskis returned to prepare the instrument for heavy disassembly by riggers. The excellent telescope, built by the famed Boller & Chivens firm and second-to-none in quality, will allow expanded activities similar to those already underway at HUT Observatory in Colorado, operated by the Michele and David Mittelman Family Foundation.
Many more details and photos of this effort are reported here.
[2014-Jan-15] All of us at Stellafane are saddened to learn of John Dobson's passing on January 15. John was an hoary member of the Springfield Telescope Makers and attended many conventions in past.
Kelly Beatty has a nice article about John over at Sky & Telescope with many links if you wish to learn about this legend of telescope making. And here is a link to Dobson's obituary in the New York Times.
The 2014 calendar will be voted upon by the club on November 2, and the results will be added here shortly thereafter.