[2011-Nov-19] The Springfield Telescope Makers held their annual business meeting on Saturday evening, November 19th. Officers and Board members were elected for a one year term: Gary Cislak (President), Dave Tabor (Vice President), Carl Malikowski (Secretary), Al Monkowski (Treasurer), Jeff Lowe (Immediate Past President), Dave Prowten & Ken Slater (Board Members at Large). Photos of the current board may be seen here. The meeting dates for 2012 were also set and can be seen below.
[2011-Oct-23 The Springfield Telescope Makers had a busy fall, participating in four public events:
[2011-Oct-23] The International Observe the Moon Night event held October 8 at the Vermont Institute of Natural Science was a huge success with about 75 guests in attendance. It started with Dartmouth Professor Brian Chaboyer’s talk on the moon and its phases, as well as how it helps us see eclipses. After that, participants all went outside where the guests could wander back and forth between Quechee Library’s activities on how craters are formed, VINS live owl display and STM’s telescopes for viewing the moon and it’s craters, as well as some of the brighter deep sky objects. Representing the Springfield Telescope makers were Norm Frederick, Ray Morits, Julie Tabor, Samantha Tabor and, David Tabor. There were a great group of excited guests of all ages, who asked a lot of good questions, and the evening was fun for all.
[2011-Oct-03] Stellafane, Quechee Library, the Dartmouth College Dept. of Astronomy, and VINS are collaborating for a public program at VINS on International Observe the Moon Night, Saturday, Oct. 8, at 7 p.m. Several activities for all ages will follow a talk by Dartmouth professor Brian Chaboyer on moon phases and eclipses. Three members of Stellafane, the Springfield Telescope Makers organization, will offer telescope viewing opportunities along with an explanation of their craft. Hands-on activities and storytelling will be offered at the free event as well. It will also be the first opportunity to use the new large binoculars and tripod awarded to Quechee Library by the Lunar and Planetary Institute of Houston, Texas, and now available for borrowing. More information available at the organizations’ websites and at www.observethemoonnight.org
[2011-Sep-25] On Saturday, October 1 7:00 - 9:30 PM, Stellafane will present a program examining Vermont's pivotal role in the history of Astronomy at the Calvin Coolidge State Historic Site in Plymouth Notch, Vermont.
The roads to Plymouth Notch are now open, after having been closed to due damage from Hurricane Irene earlier in the month. As foliage season opens in Vermont, please join us this evening for an interesting program and, weather permitting, telescopic viewing after the program from a very dark site.
Click on poster at left for the Historic Vermont phone and web site information.
[2011-Sep-04] Stellafane held a successful star party at the Saint Gaudens National Historic Site in Cornish, NH on Saturday, September 3 in partnership with the National Park Service and park superintendent Rick Kendall. During the afternoon about 60 park visitors attended the solar viewing sessions. That evening, about 50 visitors turned out for the evening star party. There were six telescopes set up and various planets, star clusters and nebula were viewed. A special viewing treat was Comet Garradd near the Coat Hanger asterism. Members of the Springfield Telescope Makers had a great time hosting this event, and answered the many questions guests had, as well as operating the telescopes.
[2011-Aug-31] Hurricane Irene did widespread damage to Vermont due to flooding - there is extremely little wind damage. We are happy to report that there is no significant damage to Stellafane. We took precautions, such as chaining down the roof of the McGregor and building up the water bars on our roads. Even though the eye of the storm passed almost directly over Stellafane, we have only minor clean-up to do. The US Army Corp of Engineers North Springfield flood control dam worked perfectly - it filled from 0 to 80 feet, and spared the Springfield from any significant flooding from the Black River. Other local towns did not fare as well, and many have significant road damage from flooding. As far as we know, all members of the Springfield Telescope Makers are safe, and we are thankful for our good fortune.
[2011-Aug-12] The Springfield Telescope Makers will be offering three free fall star parties in our local area, two of them in conjunction with other local cultural and historic organizations:
Saint Gaudens National Historic Site, Cornish, NH
Details in this Press Release (PDF). Note: Solar Viewing
2-4pm requires admission fee; Star Party at 8pm is free.
Stellafane, Off Breezy Hill Road in Springfield, VT
Come before dark to tour the National Historic Observatory, View celestial objects in modern and historic telescopes after dark. Stay as late or early as you wish. See poster at right for more info and phone number.
Calvin Coolidge State Historic Site, Plymouth, VT
Join Stellafane members for a program about Vermont's role in the history of astronomy; afterwards, weather permitting, view the night skies with a period telescope. Rain or Shine.
See http://historicsites.vermont.gov/events/index.html and scroll down to Oct 1.
[2011-Aug-02] On Wednesday, July 27, 16 club members and volunteers took a break from preparing for the 76th Stellafane Convention and hiked up Hawks Mountain to view the plaque placed by Porter's Telescope Makers in 1922. Hawks Mountain is within the Hawks Mountain Wildlife Management Area in Cavendish and Baltimore, Vermont.
John Martin lead Gary Cislak, Michael Patterson, Dave Prowten, Michael Costanzo and Joey Tuliano up the steep west slope from Baltimore, the traditional route. Ken Slater lead Dave McGaw, Phil Rounseville, Jay Drew, Eileen Myers, Dave Siegrist, Steve & Patrick Dodson, Trish McCormick and Bert Willard up the gentler but longer west slope. Both parties met at the top and admired the brass plaque at the summit.
Russell Porter took members of his mirror making class up to the Hawks summit in 1921 due to his interest in navigation and surveying; he believed the coordinates of Springfield might not be accurate. They found the triangulation station and erected a tower made from small diameter trees so it could be sighted easily from Springfield to check its position. In 1922 they returned and installed the plaque.
The Springfield Telescope Makers were founded by this group
in December 1923. "The Porter Telescope Makers of
Springfield" was the mirror making class Russell Porter
started at Jones & Lampson in Springfield, and predates the
founding of the Springfield Telescope Makers or the creation
of Stellafane on Breezy Hill.
It was a pleasant day for hiking, and everyone enjoyed the outing. Several participants found rocks with many garnets in them. By mid-afternoon, everyone was back at Stellafane and preparations continued for the convention that coming weekend.
[2011-Mar-20] The Springfield Telescope Makers are please to announce a new web application for designing Newtonian-Telescope: Newt-Web V1.0. This application is web-based and does not need to be installed on your computer - it runs on any desktop, netbook, tablet or smart phone that has an up-to-date browser. Older browsers will not work because it requires features that are just being released (in fact, our release was held up for a month until Fire Fox 4 and Internet Explorer 9 became available). It does run on Android 2.1, iPad 1 and iPhone 3, so you can now design telescopes on-the-go (please don't use this while driving!).
Based on Dale Keller's popular but aging Newt-Win, Newt-Web removes the Windows-only restrictions and adds additional help for diagonal sizing. We used NewtWin extensively last year in our Build a Dobsonian Telescope pages, and have updated all references to New-Web and redid all the illustrations to use the new application.
Windows or Unix users will want to use the Google Chrome 10 or the Fire Fox 4 browser. If you want to use Internet Explorer, you will have to upgrade to version 9, but IE9 still lacks the ability to read saved files. Apple users will want to use Safari 4 or 5. Mobile users can probably use the browser that came with their device. If you are on an Android powered platform, the beta of Firefox 4 mobile works well also.