Northeast Astronomy Forum (NEAF) 2007

A few years ago, April 2007 to be exact, I attended my first NEAF event and helped out as part of the Solar Party staff. The trip to New York was made in my old Ford pick up truck with my favorite telescope and mount tucked securely in the back along with my sketching kit and small suitcase. It wasn’t an easy trip to make, not so much because of the journey itself, but because it meant leaving my grandmother behind at Hospice while I took a few days off for myself. I had made a promise to help out at NEAF and needed the break. My grandmother (her name was Pauline, friends called her Polly…but to me she was Nanny) was very supportive of my astronomy and I knew she wanted me to go. Still, it was one of the hardest decisions to leave even though my mother was still there with her.

I picked up an astro friend, Jim Winters, in Philly on my way through and then was greeted by other great friends once we arrived at the Holiday Inn in Suffern. I met many people for the first time in person that I had only met through emails or through the Cloudy Nights Telescope Reviews forum. Of those people, it was wonderful to finally meet Sol Robbins in person, one of the co-authors of Astronomical Sketching. We had spent hour after hour on Skype together with the other authors and the moment I heard his voice in person, I knew it was him standing in front of me. Harry Bloom (Springer) was another.

Sol, Erika, Markus, Markus' son, Mark at NEAF 2007

It was great fun to finally meet Greg Piepol and Gary Palmer, not to mention other solar observers such as Barlow Bob, Paul Hyndman, Alan Friedman, and Ralph M. to name only a few. After the first day of solar observing and sharing views, the solar staff were invited to the local diner for supper.

As if the solar equipment wasn’t enough to drool over, such as this homemade solar spectrum scope, the countless vendor booths inside made you feel like a child in a candy store.

Barlow Bob Scope

The whole weekend was a bit of a blur to be honest. I had forgotten to bring my battery packs to run my mount. Thankfully with several other solar observers there with their rigs, Paul Hyndman kindly lent me his. As with star parties and other astro events, it was heartwarming to have friends there such as Gary Gibbs. My treasured Maxscope 60mm that I brought to NEAF for sharing solar views was originally his and I’ve named it GG after him. These types of events are fun, but it’s really getting a chance to spend time with good friends, both old and new, that send you home with treasured memories.

Other highlights that stick vividly in my mind were helping to tear down the BYO stand with Tom Trusock helping to support the beams next to me and us chatting about this and that with our arms extended above us, Mark Nordle (my first time meeting him) making me laugh with his antics until tears were nearly streaming down my cheeks, spending time Gary Palmer discussing solar outreach, a few meals with a dear friend John Crilly, meeting Marcus for the first time in person and feeling like I’ve just fun into an old friend that I’ve known for ages….and then there was the long drive home Sunday evening.

I’m not sure what time of the morning I arrived at my doorstep, but I remember struggling to keep my eyes open after I dropped Jim back off in Philly. It was a relief to be back with Nanny and you could tell by the look in her eyes that she was relieved to have me back as well.


~ by Erika Rix on April 30, 2007.

One Response to “Northeast Astronomy Forum (NEAF) 2007”

  1. […] 2007, I made the journey with my solar rig to join in on the solar party activities. Link to NEAF 2007. In 2010, I was privileged to be a speaker for a solar sketching workshop as well as help out with […]

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