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2014 Stellafane Convention

The 79th Convention of Amateur Telescope Makers on Breezy Hill in Springfield, Vermont, the 2014 Stellafane Convention, was held Thursday through Sunday, July 24-27, 2014.


Do you have a suggestion to improve any aspect of convention? We would like to hear about it! Please send them via email

We are very interested in feedback, comments or suggestions on any aspect of convention, we are always working to make improvements every year.

Thanks to All!

The Springfield Telescope Makers would like to thank all those who attended the 2014 Stellafane Convention and made it a success, especially all volunteers and club members who help with setup, program and operations and  cleanup, and all the excellent speakers who make their expertise and experience available through their talks and workshops. To those of you who brought homemade telescopes to display on breezy hill, a special thank you for sharing your accomplishments and inspiring the next generation of telescope makers - we had a large set of interesting and innovative scopes this year.

Courtesy of NOAA MODIS Aqua
Aqua satellite image shows high aerosol concentration over Vermont on Friday, creating cloudless but hazy skies. The Aqua satellite measures aerosol optical depth. Wildfires in Canada and the western US are the primary source. Thanks to first time conventioneer Frank Dempsey, for providing us the image and information - he is an air quality forecaster. Photo courtesy of NOAA MODIS Aqua
Aqua satellite image shows high aerosol concentration over Vermont on Friday, creating cloudless but hazy skies. Clik for more detail.

Convention Summary

Generally, although the weather threatened, we had three nights of observing and three dry days. Sunday morning, after most people had packed up and left (but not all) the sky opened up and an ocean of water dumped out, very hard, at approximately 10 AM. Fortunately, the STMs got most of the Sunday cleanup done before that. Some people left Saturday afternoon based on (incorrect) weather forecasts. Although it did cloud over late Saturday afternoon, the Saturday Evening Program was held in the Amphitheater, and by the end this program the stars were out, the sky was clear, and observing was good. See photo at right for info abut the haze we had on Friday.

Another outstanding Hartness House Workshop, this year on Binary and Multiple Star Astronomy, was held on Thursday with world class speakers. We have been trying to improve our teen programs, and Paul Fucile proposed a robotics construction project, which we dubbed the Stellafane Voyager Project, as the solar-powered, rope-running robots they built were a simple approximation of a space probe like voyager, with environmental sensors and radio telemetry. based on the feedback of the participants, this was a huge success. And has been the case in the past, the regular programs were limited by the number of venues we have available, with great speakers and presentations for all levels and ages.

An excellent field of 23 scope were entered in the Telescope Competition. Optical judging was completed on Friday, Mechanical on Saturday morning, and there were 18 awards presented on Saturday evening  to 12 winners.

Obviously, Bongo the Goat had a great time in 2013, because he was back next year. I understand he is planning to return in 2015, and we hope you will too!


The overall convention schedule at a glance and details for most events are listed here. Our keynote speaker this year was Dr. Christina Dunn of University College London who spoke on fabricating the mirrors of the European Extremely Large Telescope. Andy Paniros gave the Shadowgram talk honoring John Dobson.

You can also download the printable Convention Bulletin (PDF format) which is given to each attendee when they arrive.

Hartness House Workshop on
Binary & Multiple Star Astronomy

Continuing a series begun in 2009, this year's Hartness House Workshop focused on Binary and Multiple Star Astronomy. The program featured Hal McAlister, the Director of Mount Wilson Observatory. Click this section title for more details.


The Springfield Telescope Makers would like to thank the following people and/or companies for donating prizes to the raffle at the 2014 Stellafane convention or goods and services that are sold or used for the convention. We thank:

Tele Vue Logo

Special thanks to Tele Vue and Al & David Nagler for donating
sets of their Premium Eyepieces for many, many years.

Donated 4 sets of fantastic eyepieces; each set was valued at $570 to $2485!

Willman-Bell Logo

Special thanks to Willmann-Bell and Perry & Patricia Remaklus for donating sets of their excellent Astronomy and Telescope Making Books for many, many years.

This year's book prizes were four sets of Willmann-Bell books
.The sets were of varying values: $80, $175, $240 and $419 .

Dartmouth Printing

Hanover, NH

Howie's Laser Collimators

Howie Glatter

First Student, Inc.

and driver Cheryl

Astronomy Shoppe

Tony Costanzo

Telescopes Normand Fullum

Normand Fullum

Hands on Optics

Gary Hand

Joe Bergeron Martie & Jim Erickson Mario Antonucci
Dr. Kristine Larsen Dee & Stephen Forbes Peter Beaty

Call for 2014 Convention
Photos, Videos & Reports

We would like to add your photos or convention report to our web pages, and link to your hosted videos on YouTube or other services. Your experiences gives a much more comprehensive view of the convention than we can do ourselves. Please send them via email

Photo Gallery

The 2014 Convention Photo gallery, with candid images taken by the Springfield Telescope Makers and many attendees who send us photos they have taken (See the pink box at right if you have photos to send us for posting on our web page).


Videos from the convention - many of the Friday Night Talks and Saturday Evening Program, including the Shadowgram and Keynote are available.

Reports by Conventioneers

Reports on the experiences and observations of conventioneers by conventioneers.

Joseph Dechene
Joe Dechene and his wooden telescope and mount won 3rd place Optical, 1st place Mechnaical and 1st place Craftsmanship.
Joe Dechene and his wooden telescope and mount won 3rd place Optical,
1st place Mechanical and
1st place Craftsmanship.

Telescope Competition

Often considered the heart of the Stellafane Convention, the Optical & Mechanical Competition gives Amateur Telescope Makers a chance to show and share with others what they have done, and our expert judges pick the best in several categories to for recognition with awards. This page shows all the telescopes entered in the competition, and the awards that many have won.

General Information

This page contains important information about the convention, including lighting policies, pet policies, food service, on-site bus service and where to set up your telescope. Check this page for answers to any questions you may have.

Lodging & Campgrounds

If you are not camping at Stellafane, you will need some place to stay. Here is a listing of Motels, Hotels, Bed & Breakfasts, and Campgrounds in the area.

Directions & Maps

Need to know how to get to Stellafane? Here are written directions and a map for after you get off the Interstate. We also have a site map of the convention area. See also Local Airport Information.

Do you have convention questions we haven't answered?
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Do you have a comment, question or suggestion about
the web pages or online registration process?
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