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2004 Convention Report

Here we present reports contributed by convention attendees, giving another perspective on what went on or was important to them. We usually have quite a few reports sent in, but for some reason this year we only have one.

Well, the 2004 Stellafane convention is over and, although the skies were not particularly kind to us this year (in fact, Aquafane might be a more apt description) I, had a great time schmoozing with various friends and acquaintances including such notables as Al Nagler, David Levy, John Bortle, Dennis di Cicco, Sue and Alan French, and Phil Harrington. We even got a bit of solar observing in on Saturday once the remnants of Hurricane Bonnie had passed. John Vogt had a dual H-alpha rig composed of a Coronado 40 and a Coronado PST f/10 refractors both of which provided great views. The PST was particularly impressive considering its relatively modest cost. In addition to sunspots, solar prominences and filaments I saw a solar flare emanating from AR 10649. Uncle Al's binoviewer equipped TV-NP101 provided great white light views as did several other larger Newtonians, an achromatic refractor, and a Gregorian.

There were the usual mirror grinding demonstrations and talks in the big tent. Careful maneuvering was required to avoid the small lakes produced by the copious Stellarain that fell on Thursday and Friday.

The Saturday morning swap meet provided its usual assortment of truly odd items. I bought a book of lunar sketches and a 50mm finder scope.

There were many innovative and beautiful telescopes entered in the ATM competition. Especially noteworthy were Norman Pullum's two incredibly ornate Newtonians, a Herschelian Maksutov Dob (how's that for an exotic design?), and an automated, self-propelled (I kid you not) 16" classical Cassegrain.

As usual I won nada in the raffle and as usual John Dobson was the oldest Stellafane attendee.

Charley hasn't reached us yet but its outlying clouds certainly have, ruining the partly clear skies that graced the beginning of Saturday night. I did have the opportunity to do a little binocular observing and to behold NGC 6826, the Blinking Nebula, through a 14.5" ATM Dob. My significant other and I also saw a fairly impressive meteor and a few satellites.

This morning I'll have the pleasure of driving back through pouring rain just as I did on the way here on Thursday but that's a small price to pay for the magic of Stellafane.

Dave Mitsky

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