NEAF 2010

Photo courtesy of Pollux Chung

One of the biggest astronomy events of the year is Northeast Astronomy Forum & Telescope Show held at the Rockland Community College in Suffern, NY.

In 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 children’s activities by introducing them to astronomical sketching. The workshop was made very enjoyable by the active participation of those that attended. (Solar Sketching Tutorials)  We were meant to do live sketching after the Power Point presentation with the use of 25 Lunt h-alpha scopes and 5 Coronado Solarmax 60mm’s from Meade. The weather was overcast, however, so we made use of solar images and webcam video that Alan Friedman and Greg Piepol had generously supplied me with as a back-up plan.

Photo courtesy of B. Sims

Both Saturday and Sunday, I had a ball sketching with the children as part of the children’s activities. My plan was to do an organized tutorial, teaching them how to sketch. That plan quickly flew out the window as the children couldn’t wait to do their own drawings using the images Caroline Moore gathered for the activity as inspiration. One child, sitting next to me, created a very accurate drawing of the solar system by memory. I need to add that not only did create the Sun, Moon and planets proportionately correct, he had them in the correct order! He couldn’t have been more than 5-6 yrs old.

There was a raptor show for the children and all the kids jumped up and headed toward that area. One boy stayed behind. When I asked him if he’d like to see the raptors, he explained that he wanted to learn to sketch the Sun, but had missed the solar sketching workshop earlier that morning. I told him he was in luck and dug out my laptop with my personal sketching kit. Together, we sketched the Sun based on one of the images Greg supplied as a practice example for the workshop. I gave him one of the sketching packets that were handed out during the workshop as well as the actual field sketch I made for one of the tutorials. I have to say, that hands down, that was my fondest memory of the whole weekend.

Photo courtesy of Pollux Chung

Other than meeting up with old friends (and a lot of people for the first that I only knew of from astronomy forums and sites), it always feels like home visiting the Astronomics booth. Astronomics owns the Cloudy Nights Telescope Reviews site and provides it free of charge to over 50k members worldwide. In this photo, you can see the man that runs the NEAF event, Alan Traino, and my buddy Steph Hansen answering questions for CN members via the Internet. Alan and the volunteers do an amazing job putting this show together! He needs a pair of roller skates with rockets on them, as much as he gets around during the event.

Photo courtesy of Marcus Thompson

Speaking of Cloudy Nights, good friend, Tom Trusock, and I sat down for an interview where CN members could ask questions through Steph concerning sketching, past and upcoming astronomy projects that I’m working on or just any generalized question such as the equipment I use. Normally I would stammer in these situations, but having Tom as the interviewer put me completely at ease. He’s such a great guy. Interview with Tom Trusock

Photo courtesy of Pollux Chung

There is so much to see that it’ll leave you drooling and your credit cards burning holes in your wallets, not to mention the great line up of speakers that Alan brings in for us to enjoy. And if you’re lucky, you’ll run into this guy, Stephen Ramsden, who is touching the lives of countless children (and adults) with his solar outreach programs.

The solar man himself, Stephen Ramsden

I’ll end with this beauty from Meade, 20-inch SCT on a MAX mount. Wonder if I can strap it to the top of my CRV.

Photo courtesy of Pollux Chung

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~ by Erika Rix on October 29, 2011.

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