[2008-Dec-14] The Stellafane Donation Scope was sold on eBay for $6,700 to a buyer in Los Angles. Congratulations to the buyer on having the winning bid for this superb telescope. Stellafane thanks all the vendors who contributed components to the scope to make this possible (listed below in the announcement article).
[2008-Dec-06] The Stellafane Donation Scope (SDS), a 12/5" f/4.8 state-of-the-art, fully outfitted truss-tube Dobsonian, is now being auctioned on eBay (Item Number 260328267262). The SDS was conceived by Rob Teeter of Teeter's Telescopes and sponsored by Astronomy Technology Today magazine, with many vendors contributing components to the scope. Take a look at the auction, you may want to be on this special edition telescope. The auction ends Saturday, December 13, 2008 at approximately 7:00 PM Eastern Standard Time.
Stellafane is grateful to the following vendors who supported this project:
[2008-Nov-22] At it's annual November business meeting, the Springfield Telescope makers elevated former vice-president Jeff Lowe to the office of President. With this vote, John Gallagher will continue on the board as Immediate Past President. New officers include Cary Cislak, Vice President and Dave Tabor, Secretary. Re-elected board members include Melinda Callis, Treasurer, Dave Prowten, Trustee and Ken Slater, Trustee. Wayne Zuhl leaves the board after 10 years as secretary. Images off all officers and trustees can be see on the Stellafane About page.
[2008-Nov-22] The Springfield Telescope Makers have set the dates for Stellafane Conventions in 2009, 2010 and 2011 at their annual November business meeting. In addition, they set club meeting dates for 2009. See the main Stellafane Convention page for future convention dates and the Events Calendar (below) for the 2009 meeting dates.
[2008-Oct-25] Rick & Debbie became Mr. & Mrs. Jones at an afternoon wedding on October 25 at the Stellafane clubhouse. The ceremony was out front and the reception was held inside. The Jones' and their children have been attending mirror class this year. Below are a few photos of the event taken by STM member Dave McGaw. Stellafane congratulates the happy couple and wishes them all the best in the future.
[2008-Oct-24] Melinda Callis has been an avid stargazer for decades. And for the last four years, Callis, a director of accounting for Individual Life Insurance at Prudential, has found the perfect way to combine her love of astronomy with her expertise in accounting.
Since November 2003, she has served as treasurer of the Springfield Telescope Makers in Vermont, an amateur telescope-making club. But she and her husband have been members of the club since 1989, and every month they make the trip from New Jersey to Vermont for meetings and events, and to do volunteer work above and beyond her duties as treasurer. "We drive up regularly to lend a hand with the general upkeep of the facility—the Stellafane Observatory National Historic Landmark—and we even helped build one of its observatories," Callis says. "Our members are a very motivated group of people with a deep interest in astronomy and a healthy respect for the history of the club."
They're also sought after by some of the best minds in the business. "My favorite story is when the Hubble Space Telescope was found to have flawed optics, NASA called us asking if they could send a speaker to our club's annual convention to discuss the root cause of the error and how they planned to fix it," Callis explains. "Our convention draws people from all over the world, and NASA recognized that we were the kind of audience they needed to engage."
The $250 Prudential CARES Volunteer Grant Callis earned is already slated to help support the club's next convention and, as she puts it, "extend the astronomical experience."
[2008-Oct-06] The 2009 Stellafane Convention has been moved one week earlier to begin Thursday, August 13 through Sunday, August 16. It had previously been set begin on August 20. The letter below from our president explains the reason for this change:
Dear Friends of Stellafane,
The 2009 Annual Stellafane Convention will be held on Breezy Hill from August 13-16. Because this represents a departure from our usual pattern, an explanation is in order. The July Solar Eclipse will be well attended, forcing many to make a difficult choice. We want to make it possible for our friends to attend both events! Other dates in July were inauspicious. The next new moon on August 20th conflicts with early school openings and the weather often turns brisk. More importantly, it coincides with Agricultural Fairs so food vendors are unavailable. The Springfield Telescope Makers recognize that the rising of the waning crescent will impact deep sky observing after midnight. We hope that our loyal Stellafane attendees will understand the unusual circumstances that have forced this compromise.
President, Springfield Telescope Makers
[2008-Sep-23] The Stellafane Open House and Up All Night Star Party was blessed with two nights of good weather and we had a strong turnout on both nights. Besides having the Porter Turret Telescope and McGregor Observatory operating, many members brought their own telescopes so visitors had a good selection of instruments to look through. While many objects were viewed, Jupiter was well positioned and proved to be a favorite with many guests who had not seen a planet through telescope before. Thanks to all the many members who organized and helped out with this fine event.
[2008-Aug-17] Stellafane will be holding a public Open House and "Up All Night" Star Party (viewing through telescopes) on September 19 & 20 from 7:00 PM on into the night. Admission is free. If you have ever wanted to look at stars, planets, nebula and galaxies through a telescope, please join us on Breezy Hill for as long or short a time as you would like.
In the event of inclement weather occurs on the evening of the event, we will have a message on (603)863-3975 of a Go/No Go. We hope to see everyone on on September 19th or 20th.
Get Directions to Stellafane by clicking this link.
[2008-Sep-09] The flier for this star party is now available online; click the image at right to see a large version.
[2008-Jul-03] 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 Mike Mattei of Littleton, MA at this year's Stellafane Convention in Springfield, Vermont on Saturday evening, August 2, 2008.
Mike Mattei has been an active observer for many decades and a member of ALPO and AAVSO. He worked at Harvard Observatory's Agassiz Station (now Oak Ridge Obs.), and met his future wife (Dr. Janet Akyuz Mattei 1943 -2004) at AAVSO. He became very active in optics and amateur telescope making, and later went professional, specializing in the fabrication of aspherical optics at Space Optics Research Labs, and Optical Systems and Technology Inc (O.S.T.I.). There he worked on optics for space exploration such as an Ultraviolet Telescope for Goddard Space Flight Center. Eventually Mike was asked to join the staff at Lincoln Labs to work on special Government 'Star Wars' projects using Laser Imaging Optical Radar Systems. He also worked at MIT's Wallace Astrophysical Observatory. He taught courses at University of Hawaii and spoke at local club events Mike is possibly best known for his hundreds of nights teaching beginners the art and craft of mirror making at the ATMoB workshop in Westford, Massachusetts. He still works full time at Lincoln Labs, and continues to spend his nights searching for Novae for the AAVSO in his home-built observatory.
We are very pleased to give this award to this innovative, self-educated man who took the time to pass on his knowledge to so many amateurs, while he worked alongside many professionals and researchers in astronomy.
Maryann Arrien, Chair: NERAL
The North East Region of the Astronomical League
845-528-7420 www.neral.org (recently updated!)
NERAL Regional Representative Paul Valleli
NERAL Vice Chairman: Jack Heinzmann
NERAL Secretary Alan Rifkin
NERAL Treasurer: Richard Roberts
[2008-May-29] On Sunday May 25, 2008, the Springfield Telescope Makers hosted a memorial service for amateur telescope maker Joseph LaVigne, who passed away unexpectedly at the age of 44. Before family and friends, Joe’s request was honored as his ashes were spread on Stellafane’s Observing Field. As a teen and young adult, Joe was a regular attendee at the Annual Convention and displayed his homemade reflector. He moved to Montana where he pursued astrophotography from his Weasel Creek Observatory. He authored the chapter “Imaging the Moon with an Astro-Video Camera” in Peter Wlasuk’s “Observing the Moon, A Practical Guide”, one of Patrick Moore’s Practical Astronomy Series.
[2008-May-15] The Stellafane Convention gets national exposure in the the June 2008 issue of Smithsonian magazine. In the regular short feature section "Points of Interest: Notable American Destinations and Happenings" the convention gets a quarter page write-up and is accompanied by a panoramic photo of the clubhouse area taken by long-time Stellafaner Phil Harrington. Check out our coverage on page 25.
[2008-May-15] The 2008 Stellafane Convention, to be held July 31 to Aug 3 this year, is drawing ever closer. You can now browse program information and register online for this years convention. See the 2008 Stellafane Convention Page.
[2008-Mar-11] The Springfield Telescope Makers are announcing a renewed fundraising drive for the Flanders Pavilion. Three years ago, the club took a big risk to take out a mortgage to get the construction of this important new convention facility underway. Clearly the pavilion has been great success, providing dry open space for convention activities that can be easily darkened for daytime presentations for the last two years.
We currently have an $80,000 mortgage on the building, and to date have raised $15,000 in funds to pay it off, so we have a long way to go. We are certainly happy to accept donations of any size or amount, every dollar helps. We are now offering a monthly payment option - consider giving $10 per month to help cover the cost of this great new building. If 120 people gave $10 a month for 5 years, we would be able to pay of the mortgage. Many club members have already signed up for this option, please consider it yourself (some didn't want to have to deal with a monthly payment, so they made the equivalent one time payment of $120).
Please see the main Flanders Pavilion fundraising page for more information about larger donations or pavers ($25 each with a plaque in the pavilion) or the new Monthly Fundraising section for details about this new way to give. Thank you very much for your support of the Flanders Pavilion and the Stellafane Convention.