The spring Central Texas Star Party is a 2-day event for the members of the Austin Astronomical Society and their guests. It’s held at the Eagle Eye Observatory. This year, we had two special dedication ceremonies held on the second evening of the event. The first was in honor of the late Larry Forrest by rededicating the Ealing Educator Telescope in his name. Larry was instrumental in acquiring and restoring the 16″ CAT. I never had the pleasure of meeting Larry as he passed away just months after I moved to Texas and joined the AAS. I have been able to hear all the wonderful stories about him from the other AAS members and know he’s truly missed. His wife, Sharleen, attended the dedication ceremony and I was happy to have met her.
The second was in honor of AAS member Fred Ruof. Fred and his wife moved here from Pennsylvania and donated an observatory, an 11-inch CAT, a 4-inch refractor and a PST to the club. In Fred’s words:
“My offer is very simple. I’ll give AAS my three best instruments – TeleVue 101 refractor, 11-inch Celestron Schmidt-Cassegrain, H-alpha solar scope. This is a good thing for all of us. I expect the AAS will be around for at least several score of years. I may poop out in just a few.”
This was my first time meeting Fred and his wife, Melissa. What a fun couple. I also managed a hug and kiss from Fred, but only because he mistook me for someone else. Hey, I’ll grab a hug whenever I can regardless if it was intended for me or not!
Larry and Fred are wonderful examples of how dedicated and generous people can be, whether it be with their time or donations. We can carry on their efforts by using the equipment and being generous with our own time and support through public outreach and teaching others about the night (and daytime) skies.
The rest of the star party was filled with great company, great food, and particularly great cookies (thanks Kass Brown!).