[2007-Nov-09] The Springfield Telescope Makers plan to make more use of on-line information and print less paper for the 2008 Stellafane Convention. Click to read about the New Registration Process.
[2007-Sep-25] We have moved our web site to a new server / hosting service, and took the opportunity to correct what we have considered a mistake made in the early days of our web site: We have changed our primary site to be Stellafane.org from Stellafane.com.
The .org designation is consistent with our non-profit status as an organization (whereas .com is short for commercial which we are distinctly not). You may also notice that the "www." is no longer needed in our URL, its use is strictly optional. The net result is that our new, streamlined address is now http://Stellafane.org.
We realize we are well known as Stellafane.com, after all we have used that since we first went online in 1994. All Stellafane.com and Stellafane.net references will be automatically redirected to http://Stellafane.org and your browser will show http://Stellafane.org in the address field.
Moving a large site like Stellafane is always a bit risky, there is a chance we forgot to move something or we broke something inadvertently. So if you notice any problems, please send us an e-mail to let us know - we will repair the problem as soon as possible. Just click on the Webmaster e-mail link at the bottom of every page. Thanks...The Stellafane Webmaster
[2007-Sep-24] Sky & Telescope is reporting that a 16" rusting mirror cell used by Russell W. Porter was found near Porter's house in Port Clyde, Maine. The finders, Greg Mort and Walter DeVault plan to donate it to our museum (Thank you!). See the full Sky & Telescope report with pictures here.
[2007-Sep-20] The Stellafane web site is moving to a new hosting service. While this should have little or no impact on our visitors, there may be short periods of time when parts of the website are not available or do not work right. If you are having difficulty with some aspect of the website, please let the Webmaster know, so we can correct the problem as soon as possible. Thanks!
[2007-Sep-20] Today the Los Angles Times reports that the fire is now 86% contained, and 100% containment is expected later today. Evacuation orders have been lifted.
[2007-Sep-18] The Los Angles Times reported today the fire is 53% contained, up from 10-12% on the 17th, so things are looking up.
[2007-Sep-17] These dramatic pictures of the wildfire near Big Bear Solar Observatory (BBSO) were taken in the last few days by Springfield Telescopemaker Tom Spirock, a post-doc who works there on solar research. Over 17,000 acres have burned in the San Bernardino mountains, just east of Los Angles, CA. Big Bear Solar Observatory, operated by the New Jersey Institute of Technology, sits on a man-made peninsula jutting out into Big Bear Lake, with the support buildings and offices on the forested lake shore. The entire facility is at risk if the fire comes down the ridge to the lake valley, as is the town and resort areas of Big Bear, CA. The last image is a map provided by Tom showing just how close the fire is to the observatory. At noon eastern time, Tom reported "the wind has shifted to the worst direction so far, and tends to pick up quite a bit after noon. So, it may be bad later today." We wish Tom and his colleagues the best of luck.
Photo Notes: All images by Tom Spirock.
[2007-Sep-16] The Webmaster is pleased to announce a new Search feature that will only search the Stellafane web site. This is a Google Custom Search, so you have the full power of Google to to find things on our site. There is a search link in the page footer of every page, temporarily highlighted to draw your attention to it. Since we introduced our new look last year, we attempted to make our content more accessible by grouping it into topic areas on the home page. We also included a very complete site map to help you see what pages were available. With the addition of site search, we complete our navigation improvements, enabling you to search for what you are looking for and getting a comprehensive list of results.
[2007-Sep-16] The 15th annual Public Star Party and Open House was a success, report Carl Breuning, one of the club members who organizes this event. Friday night saw heavy rain, and the only guests we had for Friday night were 8 students from Putney College in Putney, VT. They actually came for information on starting their own Astronomy Club. They saw the announcement of the Open House on the Web page and decided to seek our advice.
While Saturday started out rainy, by nightfall the rain had stopped and clouds started to break up. By 9:30 PM the sky was cloudless, dark and steady. We had several telescopes, including the Porter Turret Telescope available for our guests to view and enjoy. All in all, a good night was had by about 50 guests and about 15 club members.
On behalf of your Stellafane hosts, Carl & Cheryl Breuning, Tom Gorka, Cherie and Ray Wilder, we would like to thank everyone who attended and all those who helped with the event for a very enjoyable evening.
[2007-Sep-09] Stellafane will hold an Open House and Star Party on Friday and Saturday September 14th & 15th. This is the 15th annual public observing event where we have our observatories open to the public -- see the moon like never before, and other celestial objects that are in the sky that night. This event was previously called the "Up all Night Star Party". We will also provide tours of the Stellafane Observatory National Historic Landmark early in the evening. This is a Free event. Start time is 7:00 PM, and we will be there well into the night -- come early, stay late! Directions to Stellafane. For further information, please call (603) 863-3975.
[2007-Aug-30] Tony Ortega spoke at the 2007 Stellafane Convention about Robert Burnham Jr., author of the beloved Burnham's Celestial Handbook, and a plan build a memorial to him. See our Convention Report on this to learn more.
[2007-Aug-29] Several scenes in Seeing in the Dark were shot at the 2006 Stellafane Convention. Now you can see this film on PBS the evening of September 19th.
Stargazing is the subject of Seeing in the Dark, a 60-minute, state-of-the-art, high-definition (HDTV) documentary by Timothy Ferris that premieres on PBS September 19, 2007 at 8:00 p.m. The film, Ferris' third, is based on his book, Seeing in the Dark (2002), named by The New York Times as one of the ten best books of the year.
"Seeing in the Dark is meant to alter, inspire and illuminate the lives of millions," said Ferris. "It introduces viewers to the rewards of first-person, hands-on astronomy — from kids learning the constellations to amateur astronomers doing professional-grade research in discovering planets and exploding stars. I hope it will encourage many viewers to make stargazing part of their lives, and a few to get into serious amateur astronomy."
Click on the link above to see video promos, photos and additional information. We have previewed this film, and it is excellent - don't miss it!
[2007-Aug-17] The auction ended this evening, with a winning bid of $7,500, which will go directly help pay off the Flanders Pavilion mortgage. Thanks to Al Nagler and Stephen James O'Meara for making these fine item available for auction, and to all the bidders who supported this effort.
[2007-Aug-7] The auction of an Historic Tele Vue Genesis & Nagler Eyepiece to benefit Stellafane is now open on eBay. See our original Auction Article below for details, or see our Auction Web Page [No longer available], or better yet go right to eBay and Bid! The auction will end on Friday, August 17.
[2007-Aug-2] It is my great pleasure to announce that by unanimous vote of the NERAL Executive Committee, this year's Walter Scott Houston Award of the North East Region of the Astronomical League (NERAL) is being awarded to Dr. Daniel W. E. Green at this year's Stellafane Convention in Springfield, Vermont on Saturday night, August 11, 2007.
Although Dr. Dan Green is best known for his professional work as Director of the Central Bureau for Astronomical Telegrams, and his work with comets, he is also the principal founder of the New England Light Pollution Advisory Group (NELPAG). The awareness of the problem of light pollution in our region has been greatly influenced by the efforts of the NELPAG group. Dr. Green also helped revising the draft Massachusetts Outdoor Lighting Bill, which we hope will be passed in the not too distant future.
We wish to congratulate you, Dan, on this award!
We thank you for your contributions to astronomy as well as all you have been doing to help protect dark skies here in our the North East. You are highly deserving of this award, and appreciated by amateur and professional astronomers around the world, as well as here in your own region!
In memory of Walter Scott Houston, we salute you.
Very sincerely, Maryann Arrien
Chair: NERAL, The North East Region of the Astronomical League
[2007-Jul-15] Stellafane Webmaster Ken Slater was awarded second place in the annual Astronomical League's Webmaster Awards. The award is given to "acknowledge the club Webmaster who does an outstanding job of website design and administration."
Before becoming overall webmaster for Stellafane, Ken lead the the Stellafane Mirror Class for several years and created the Mirror Makikg Guide section of this web site. He is currently also serving as Trustee on the club's board.
[2007-Jul-11] Springfield, Vermont has been the home to Stellafane since 1924. Today, based on a contest run by the USA Today newspaper, we learned that it is also the official home of the cartoon family "The Simpsons". The Stellafane Webmaster received several e-mails congratulating the club on this event. We thank you, but really folks, Stellafane and Springfield Telescope Makers had nothing to do with this at all. Honestly, there is no record of Bart Simpson making the telescope he used to discover the killer comet in our mirror class. :-)
[2007-Jul-06] Stellafane was the featured topic on Astronomy magazine's podcast. The Springfield Telescope Makers president was interviewed about the upcoming convention, mirror making and other topics. You can listen to the interview here (you do not need an iPod to listen to the podcast, just an MP3 format player on your computer, such as Windows Media Player or iTunes).
[2007-Apr-29, Northeast Astronomy, Forum Suffern, NY] The Tele Vue Genesis refractor owned by noted author Stephen James O’Meara and Al Nagler’s prototype Nagler 13mm eyepiece, one of only three prototypes which were manufactured in Peekskill, NY, will be auctioned on eBay in late July to benefit Stellafane’s Flanders Pavilion Fund. Springfield Telescope Makers President John Gallagher announced the generous donation of these historic instruments at the opening session of the Northeast Astronomy Forum (NEAF).
While introducing John to the NEAF audience, Sky and Telescope Editor in Chief Rick Fienberg quipped that in the interest of full disclosure, the auction winner might look through Mr. O’Meara’s Genesis, but was unlikely to see as much as the legendary observer. Gallagher focused on the roles played by Stellafane, Nagler, and O’Meara in amateur astronomy. Stellafane was pivotal in the explosion of interest in astronomy that occurred during the 1920s. Sixty years later, Al Nagler changed observing with the release of the Nagler 13 eyepiece, and proved that amateurs desired optimal performance from their instruments. Mr. Nagler also led in the introduction of high quality, short focal length refractors.
The Tele Vue Genesis refractor being auctioned is the one used by Stephen James O’Meara for his drawings and descriptions and is the one pictured and referenced in four of his Deep-Sky Companion Guides. From high atop Kilauea, O’Meara’s mix of humor, poetry, and precise description has delighted us with his writing. Stephen James O’Meara continues to inspire us with new volumes. Tele Vue and Al Nagler astound us with new products. Stellafane continues to grow and delight attendees. New facilities, including observatories and the Flanders Pavilion, provide a dry, comfortable facility to house convention activities. The auction of these legendary artifacts, through the generosity of Mr. Nagler and Mr. O’Meara, will help Stellafane meet its future needs.
[2007-May-20] The 2007 Convention web pages and online registration are available here.
[2007-May-07] The 2008 Stellafane Convention will be held on Thursday, July 31 through Sunday, August 3. Observing should be great with the new moon occurring on Friday, August 1.
[2007-Apr-20] We are pleased to announce the availability of an Early Entry Permit option, which will allow the holder entry to Stellafane East on Thursday, August 9 beginning at 3:00 PM. This will give you the opportunity of another night of observing, and a longer, more relaxed and enjoyable convention (Breezy Hill, the Clubhouse and the Porter Turret Telescope will not be open to conventioneers on Thursday).
This Permit will only be available through pre-registration for an additional fee of $10, and will not be available at the gate. Complete details will be available in May, when our 2007 Convention web site and Convention Bulletin will become available.