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2011 Convention Reports

Here we present reports contributed by convention attendees, giving another perspective on what went on or was important to them.

As always, there was quite a variety of things to see and do during the 2011 Stellafane Convention. Unfortunately, a few friends that I'm accustomed to seeing on the Vermont hillsides were absent. Al Nagler, Phil Harrington, and John Vogt and his wonderful 32" ATM Dob were not at Stellafane this time around. A repainted 28" StarStructure LE Dob was the largest aperture at this year's Stellafane.

We got in a few hours of observing on Thursday night, July 28th, under mostly clear to mostly cloudy skies. Highlights included seeing the fading supernova SN 2011dh in M51 and Comet C/2009 P1 (Garradd) once again and viewing three geostationary satellites through Scott Ewart's award-winning 12.5" split-ring equatorial Newtonian. SN 2011dh was not a particularly easy target through a 12.5" aperture. The supernova would flicker in and out of view but the field stars to the east and west were readily visible. I had a ball using Scott's 4" Tele Vue Renaissance refractor. I also spotted a number of bright meteors through­out the night.

On Saturday morning, my wife and I spent some time at the swap meet. Afterwards, I watched the movie entitled Saving Hubble at the Flanders Pavilion. In the early afternoon, I attended the presentation on Newtonian collimation at the McGregor Observatory Library.

Jeff Hutton took first place in the Mechanical Design and Craftsmanship categories form his 16" f/4.3 Dobsonian. Unfortunately, the Meteorite Men weren't able to make it for the keynote talk on Saturday evening due to a change in the shooting schedule of their show on the Science Channel.

Saturday night offered fine skies for observing. I viewed a great many celestial objects through numerous telescopes. Iridium 59 flared to a magnitude of -7, as a meteor streaked across the sky above the satellite. What a great moment! I saw supernova SN 2011dh again through a 20" Obsession Dob. It was a relatively straightforward observation with a 20" scope.

After my wife and I departed Vermont, I attended the RAC's Summer Star Party, which is held near Savoy, Massachusetts, for one night on the way to a side trip to Rhode Island. While there, I had a chance to observe with 7 and 9" TMB apochromats and a number of other telescopes. SN 2011dh was visited one more time through a homemade 20" Dob.

Dave Mitsky (ASH, CAS, DVAA)

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