We are pleased to present an AAVSO Workshop: Monitoring Bright Planets for Fun and Profit. Also returning is the popular Deep Sky Imaging with a DSLR Camera, this year with a separate seminar and demonstration component.
A related event which requires separate registration and fees - The Hartness House Workshop on Meteorites, Meteors, & Minor Planets - will be held on Thursday, July 28 at the Hartness House with an outstanding list of speakers. Registration & Program details will be announced shortly.
This year, the Horseshoe Pitching Contest will be for children only; we have decided to discontinue the adult competition.
Major Convention Event
New to Astronomy Event
Telescope Making Event
Seminars and Workshops
Children's & Young Adults Event
[McGregor] In or near the McGregor Observatory, Stellafane East.
[Pavilion] In or near the Flanders Pavilion, Stellafane East.
[Clubhouse] In or near the Pink Stellafane Clubhouse on Breezy Hill.
[Turret] The Porter Turret Telescope, in front of the Clubhouse.
[Dome] The Domed Observatory south of the McGregor.
[Museum] In the Hartness House
in Springfield. (Map)
Click links to go to event details further down on this page. Sequences marked in brackets (example: <A1>, <A2>, <A3>) are scheduled so that you can attend the entire sequence of similarly themed topics, and you will be near the next event at the end of the previous one.
The fastest way to find event details is to click on the event of interest in the Overall Schedule above. Event Details are still being prepared and added; If you don't see the event information you are interested in, please check back later.
The evening program will begin at 7:00 p.m. Saturday in the hillside amphitheater (In case of inclement weather, the program will be held inside the pavilion). Bob Morse, of the Springfield Telescope Makers, will be master of ceremonies.
We had expected to have the Meteorite Men as our keynote speakers, but their third season production schedule required them to be filming in Europe during convention.
Friday evening at 8:30 p.m. Carl Malikowski, of the Springfield Telescope Makers, will conduct the informal talks in the Flanders Pavilion. If you wish to contribute a short talk during this session, you must submit a brief description of your planned presentation with your registration payment or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. Talks are limited to 10 minutes and 20 slides. The time limit will be strictly enforced! A 35-mm slide projector, overhead projector, VCR, and a digital projector will be available for your use. Note that if you plan to use the digital projector, you must bring your own laptop.
The following set of talks, identified by a yellow background in the header, are targeted at people who are still relatively new to amateur astronomy.
by Jay Drew, Brad Vietje and John Gallagher Friday, 3:00 p.m. & Saturday, 11:30 a.m. Meet at the Turret Telescope.
Located at the summit of Breezy Hill, immediately to the North of the Stellafane Pink Clubhouse, The Russell Porter Turret Telescope is one of three known “turret telescopes”. The primary advantage of this type of telescope is that the observers are inside of the observatory building, protected from the cold temperatures of long winter nights and biting mosquitoes of summer nights. Brad Vietje and John Gallagher, both members and past presidents of the Springfield Telescope Makers, and Jay Drew, past coordinator of the STMs Mirror Making Class, will talk about the history of the Turret Telescope, demonstrate how the telescope is used and observe the Sun, if the weather permits and the Sun obliges by displaying some sunspots.
by Allen Tinker Friday, 4:15 p.m. & Saturday, 12:30 p.m. Starts behind the Pink Clubhouse near the green shed.
To illustrate the vast size of outer space, the Springfield Telescope Makers have constructed a scale model of the solar system, based on the Sun being 12 inches in diameter. At that scale, the Earth would be approximately 1/10 of an inch in diameter and 107 feet from the Sun. Jupiter would be 1.2 inches in diameter and approximately 560 feet from the Sun.
The “Solar System Walk” begins behind the Pink Clubhouse and proceeds down the road going towards the Stellafane camping area. At the appropriate distance, from the scale model of the Sun, there are stations with the appropriate planet, built to scale, and a short description of each planet. The Solar System walk can be taken on your own at any time during the convention. However, a guided walk is available at the times mentioned above, when docent Allen Tinker will provide additional information about the “Solar System Walk” and each particular planet. The walk takes approximately ¾ of an hour, if you walk all the way to the planet Neptune, with a total distance of 3,232 ft, or a little over ½ of a mile.
by Kim Cassia, Dennis Cassia & Gary Cislak Friday, 5:00 p.m. in the McGregor Observatory & Saturday, 10:15 a.m. in the Pavilion.
Are you familiar with these terms: “The Pink”, “Tent Talks” or “The Turret”? If not, if this is your first time attending the Stellafane convention or if you are retuning and want to learn more about who the Springfield Telescope Makers are, as well as what is going on during the convention, then this presentation is for you. Topics include, but are not limited to: A short history of Stellafane, a description of our site, including the buildings and landmarks, descriptions of the scheduled talks and activities, services available at Stellafane, local services off site, etc., in addition to answering any questions you may have about the convention.
by Dave Siegrist Friday, 10:00 p.m. in the McGregor Observatory (held regardless of weather)
Dave will introduce beginners to observing the sky, including identifying the constellations, the Milky Way, etc.
by Liz Sharpe and Cark Malikowski Saturday, 10:30am - 11:30am, meets in front of the Pink Clubhouse.
During the “Telescope Field Walk”, Liz Sharpe and Carl Malikowski, experienced Amateur Telescope Makers, will guide small groups through the fields around the Pink Clubhouse, where the telescopes that will be participating in the mechanical competition will be set up. They will describe the various types of optical designs and mounting configurations that will be on display, point out the subtle details that go into award winning telescopes and be available to answer your questions.
by Richard Sanderson Saturday, 12:30 p.m. in the McGregor Observatory (held reguardless of weather)
Using stunning images of constellations, planets, and celestial objects, Richard Sanderson will lead an interpretive tour of the summer nighttime sky. He will describe how the sky appears to move throughout the night and from season to season, and explain the significance of the North Star. He will speculate about life on other worlds and show many of the prominent summer constellations. The presentation is aimed at beginners of all ages.
by Phil Harrington Saturday, 1:30 p.m. in the McGregor Observatory
“Collimation”, the process of ensuring that the optics of a telescope are aligned correctly, is critical to ensure that a telescope is providing the best images that it is capable of. This process may appear to be in the genre of advanced amateur astronomers but, in reality, is not nearly as difficult as you might think. This hands-on workshop will discuss the basic steps beginners can take to ensure that the optics of their telescope are properly aligned and adjusted.
If you are interested in learning how to collimate the optics of your telescope, set your telescope up in the observing field immediately to the South of the McGregor Observatory before 1:30 p.m. on Saturday, August 7th. Then, attend the brief class room lecture on basic collimation in the McGregor Observatory at 1:30 p.m. After this brief lecture, Phil Harrington will escort the group, weather permitting, out to the observing field to inspect each participant’s telescope and demonstrate the collimation process.
by Alan French & Glenn Chapel Saturday, 5:00 p.m. in the McGregor Observatory
Adults and youngsters often become interested in astronomy and acquiring a telescope for exploring the heavens. With the plethora of telescopes on the market, buying your first telescope, or a telescope for a child, can be intimidating. In this program Alan French & Glenn Chapel will cover telescope basics (types, mounts, and eyepieces), telescopes suitable for children, and introduce you to observing and finding sights in the night sky.
by John Briggs Saturday, 10:00 p.m. in the McGregor Observatory (held regardless of weather)
The beauty of the night sky is a driving motivation for telescope making, the Stellafane convention and astronomy in general. John W. Briggs, a physics & astronomy instructor at Clay Science Center, will show how to become oriented in the sky using popular references, recent new software and other tools of astronomy. The presentation will be appropriate for all ages. Weather permitting, after the program the group will use the historic 5-inch Alvan Clark refractor, originally installed at Abbot Academy in 1875.
There will be four 1-hour astronomy workshops for children held in the McGregor Observatory during the 2011 Stellafane Convention (Friday at 11:00 a.m. & 3:00 p.m. and Saturday at 11:00 a.m. & 3:00 p.m.). These astronomy workshops have been held at the Stellafane convention since 1995. Led by Dr. Kristine Larsen, of Central Connecticut State University and member of the Springfield Telescope Makers, each of the four 1-hour workshops includes several activities geared for children ages 5 - 12. Younger children are welcome but will need help from a parent. Each workshop has a different astronomical theme. Please inquire at the McGregor Observatory for the theme for each specific workshop. Due to space limitations, each workshop is limited to 25 children on a first-come basis.
There will be four 1-hour astronomy workshops for Young Adults held in the Amphitheater (weather permitting) during the 2011 Stellafane Convention:
by Al Takeda, Seminar 3:30 PM Friday in the pavilion; Demonstration near the Domed Observatory 8:00 PM Friday (8:00 PM Saturday if clouded out).
While the dedicated thermally electrically cooled (TEC) large sensor CCD camera is the instrument of choice for the professional and advanced astro-imager, the prices can be prohibitive for most astrophotographers. The alternative is the DSLR, which can double as a daytime and a nighttime astronomy camera. In this presentation, Al Takeda will discuss the DSLR camera’s ability to capture deep sky images. Topics will include the type of DSLR to choose, which lenses would work, adapters needed for a telescope, what targets to choose, the imaging session, and post processing of the images. Al will demonstrate those capture techniques in real time on Friday evening (Saturday evening if clouded out) using his astro-imaging system. The location will be next to the McGregor Observatory.
by Jeff Hutton, Friday, 4:15pm - 5:00pm, in the Pavilon.
The descriptor of "amateur" is often used in a derisive way, to describe a person who lacks serious involvement in an area, or even incompetence. Did you know that an amateur astronomer was the first to suggest the true nature of galaxies 50 years before Edwin Hubble? Today, amateur astronomers are at the for front of astronomical discovery. It's even possible for an amateur to get observing time on the Hubble Space Telescope. Contributions by William Parsons, O.M. Mitchel, Russell Porter and present day amateurs will be highlighted by Jeff Hutton, Director of Secondary Education at Xavier University and volunteer presenter at the Cincinnati Observatory Center.
by Dr. Mario Motta (member, Springfield Telescope Makers), Friday, 5:00pm – 5:45pm in the Pavilion
Amateur astronomers are very much aware of the deleterious effects of excessive night lighting. Beyond sky glow, energy waste, and environmental degradation, however there are other less well known adverse effects on human health. Excess night lighting can cause disability glare and sleep disturbances, and effect mood, memory, and by circadian rhythm disturbance, even leads to a rise in the level of certain cancers. Dr. Mott will use published data on increased breast cancer risk to demonstrate this effect
by Noreen Grice, Friday 5:45pm – 6:30pm in the Pavilion
According to recent census statistics, one out of every five Americans has a disability. However, having a disability does not have to exclude people from enjoying and actively participating in astronomy events. In this presentation Noreen Grice will feature creative strategies on how to make astronomy outreach and star parties more accessible for people of all ability.
by Dr. Sara Schechner, Friday 6:30pm – 7:15pm in the Pavilion
In May 1761, John Winthrop packed up two students, two telescopes, a clock, and an octant, and embarked for Newfoundland, to observe the Transit of Venus. Winthrop’s departure was hasty. Only days before had the President and Fellows of Harvard College approve Professor Winthrop’s request to take the college apparatus behind enemy lines during the French and Indian War, to serve the cause of science. Winthrop knew he had no time to waste if he were to reach St. Johns and properly calibrate his equipment before the Transit.
In 1761 Winthrop was the sole North American astronomer in a global network helping to determine the distance from the Earth to the Sun. The expedition was a major achievement for colonial astronomy. Winthrop, however, was unsatisfied and looked forward to a second chance to observe a transit in 1769. Benjamin Franklin urged him to go to Lake Superior, but preparations for the transit were thwarted by two events: the loss of Harvard's apparatus in a 1764 fire; and pre-Revolutionary War politics in the American colonies. In the end, Winthrop was forced to content himself with observations in Cambridge.
Dr. Sara J. Schechner, the David P. Wheatland Curator of the Harvard Collection of Historical Scientific Instruments and past chair of the Historical Astronomy Division of the American Astronomical Society, will discuss John Winthrop the political obstacles and scientific achievements of John Winthrop’s observations.
by David Gaynes, 1 Hour, in the Pavilion, various times Friday & Saturday (see master schedule above)
It’s 2004 and humankind is poised to take a giant leap backward when NASA threatens to cancel the famed Hubble Space Telescope. But when the facts don’t add up, professional scientists and ordinary citizens unite to save their beloved telescope from becoming space junk. Astronauts, Astronomers, Physicists and Farmers reflect on exploration, curiosity, and hope in this love letter to the cosmos. David Gaynes spent 7 years making this soon-to-be-released documentary, a story about one of science's great achievements and humanity's unstoppable curiosity. Portions of the film were recorded at Stellafane in 2008 and this sneak preview is one of the film's first public screenings!
by Arne Henden (Director, AAVSO), 12:00pm – 1:30pm in the Pavilion
Professional astronomers keep building bigger and better telescopes, trying to image fainter objects to understand the beginning of the Universe. At the same time, thousands of important, nearby stars are being neglected. Naked eye stars like epsilon Aurigae have unknown companions; hundreds of small-telescope stars have transiting exoplanets; a dozen novae occur every year in our galaxy. You don't always need to take the one-millionth color image of M51 to enjoy the sky! During this workshop, Arne Henden will show you a few simple hardware setups that can be used from your backyard to monitor these stars, and give some scientifically valuable projects to which you can contribute valuable observations.
by Richard Parker (Member, Springfield Telescope Makers), Saturday 1:30pm – 2:15pm in the Pavilion
In June of 2010 Richard Parker had the opportunity to test one 15 inch mirror made by Henry Draper in 1862. Henry Draper was, perhaps, the first person in America to recognize the importance of the amateur in making telescopes and pioneered the development of (not the invention of) silvered glass mirrors, here in the US. This talk will show the results of the test of this mirror and outline the history of what was known technology for making and validating mirrors at that time.
by Matt Considine (Member, Springfield Telescope Makers), Saturday 2:15pm – 3:00pm in the Pavilion
In 1929, Russell Porter envisioned the installation of a Hale-style spectrohelioscope on Breezy Hill. Efforts were begun to make that happen, but a variety of circumstances conspired to prevent it from coming to fruition. Decades later, an example owned by Gustavus Cook - and coincidentally reviewed by Porter – became available. In this talk, Matt Consodine will give an overview of the instrument, the restoration needed and its pending installation at Stellafane."
by Paul Shulins, Saturday 3:00pm – 3:45pm in the Pavilion
As an amateur astronomer, Paul Shulins has been imaging for more than 30 years. Recently, with the advent of CCD Cameras, goto mounts, and the internet, it has become feasible to do remote imaging from the comfort of your own home. Paul started exploring remote imaging about 10 years ago, with the purchase of a fiberglass dome and the electronics to remotely control the dome, telescope and camera. Initially Paul located the dome about 15 minutes from his home, in Massachusetts, in a dark area of town. Over the next decade Paul learned about the challenges and benefits of unattended imaging and wrote custom software to control the electronics, used the internet to access the equipment, and took advantage of imaging on weeknights, when he normally would not be able to afford to image due to his day job. About a year ago, Paul moved his observatory to the western Arizona high desert. Operating the dome almost every night from his home in Massachusetts, Paul is able to acquire more data than he can handle. While his focus is shifting to developing image processing techniques, his real joy comes with operating the hardware, and getting the best data possible. Pauk’s talk will focus on setting up a remote observatory, some of the logistics he faced getting the bugs out, and what the benefits and drawbacks are to going this route. Paul will give practical advice and show photos of the observatory, and diagrams depicting how his systems has come together to make things operate.
by Bart Fried, Saturday 3:45pm – 4:30pm in hte Pavilion
Bart Fried will discuss the past and current sources of glass for mirror making blanks and definitions of various brand names for material and their properties.
by Arne Henden (Director, AAVSO), Saturday 4:30pm – 5:15pm in the Pavilion
Every 27.1 years, epsilon Aurigae is eclipsed by a mysterious dark cloud. The most recent eclipse started in 2009, and ended in late Spring of 2010. Thousands of amateur astronomers contributed observations of the eclipse, and professional astronomers worldwide trained their telescopes on this unique event. During this presentation, Arne Henden will talk about the competing models of the system and what we think happens every three decades!
The Swap Tables (located at the northeast edge of the main camping/parking area) are provided to give amateurs an opportunity to trade, buy or sell their surplus astronomical and telescope related items. They operate from 7:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Saturday.
POLICY OF THE SPRINGFIELD
TELESCOPE MAKERS REGARDING COMMERCIALISM
AND THE SWAP TABLES AT THE CONVENTION
The Springfield Telescope Makers, Inc. has clarified its policy regarding commercialism and Swap Table sales at the Stellafane convention. For the sake of historical continuity, to preserve the uniqueness of the Stellafane convention and to encourage conventioneers to build their own instruments, the Springfield Telescope Makers, Inc. do not allow commercial sales, of any kind, at the Stellafane convention. All swap table sales must comply, in concept, with the above objective but are also specifically subject to the following criteria:
The Springfield Telescope Makers, Inc. may choose to grant a limited exception to the above policies to astronomy related organizations for their fundraising. Any request for an exemption must be made, in writing, at least one month prior to the convention. If granted, the President of the Springfield Telescope Makers, Inc. will notify the requesting organization in writing.
Any member of the Springfield Telescope Makers, Inc. has the authority to determine whether a party is in compliance with the established regulations. Any person who is found to be in violation of the stated policies will be required to comply. Failing compliance, the offending party will be asked to leave the convention and may be escorted from the premises by convention security.
The Springfield Telescope Makers, Inc. encourages those with questions
regarding this policy to contact the Club
via the Stellafane About web page. During the convention, any questions regarding this policy, the appropriateness of items being displayed, or any information being disseminated should be directed to a member of the Springfield Telescope Makers, Inc.
The Shuttle Bus makes two stops in Stellafane East, one by the Food Tent and one by the main Camping Area (See Stellafane East Site Map). It makes one stop on Breezy Hill near the Clubhouse.
The 14th-Annual Stellafane horseshoe pitching contest is scheduled to begin at 1:30 p.m. Friday near the Flanders Pavilion. There will be only be a kid’s competition this year, we have decided to discontinue the adult contest. “Astro” prizes will be awarded.
Detailed information about the Telescope Competition is on the Telescope Competition Page.
Back to the 2011 Convention Main Page