Tuesday, March 8, 2011

"Wishing You Clear Skies and Sunny Days" -WSP 2011

Under development...more coming...

Under development...more coming...

The Winter Star Party
, long anticipated and suddenly gone, puts us back in the mood of waiting for next year's event. Still, while looking forward to next year, we have plenty of time to reflect on the night sky observations and the talks. We've had our, "Omega Centauri Fix," (Thanks, Al and Judi) , the, Best Brownies in the Universe," (Thanks, Micki), and can go back home satisfied that we had such wonderful nights, despite the wind. And as Jack Horkheimer (1938-2010)always reminded us, we can "Keep looking up."

Tippy D'Auria delighted us with, "Amateur Astronomy- Frustrations and Rewards," ...The tales of different astronomers and their observations and tools, told in a way that still makes us feel part of each spell-binding saga.

Sheldon Faworski gave us an insightful historical perspective with. 'Amateur Astronomy - through the Prism of "Sky and Telescope."' Sheldon pointed out that "Sky and Telescope" archives are available at a very reasonable price ...He showed how they would make a great addition to any school or home library.

Alan Friedman's talk, "Catching Sunlight - The Art and Science of High Resolution Solar Photography," brought us the expertise of an amateur whose photographs are featured on NASA websites and in their exhibitions. More details are found at avertedimagination.com.

Warren Keller

Mark "Indy" Kochte

Al Nagler

Donald C. Parker spoke tales of the Gas Giants in, "The Gas Giants put on a Show."

Mike Reynolds' talk, "Are [You] Sure This Isn't Astrology? Crazy Astronomy Adventures from Around the World," culled adventures from over 30 years experience in astronomy...academics (teaching and research), museum work, NASA, writing... Plenty of exciting experiences were shared.

Russell Romanella gave a talk that should call us to action: "NASA - Exploration at a Crossroad." While he spoke from his experience at NASA of all the accomplishments, he also spoke of the shuttle's last missions. Having grown up in the Space Age, Russell Romanella's talk had me glued to my seat.

I will add the following comment outside the scope of what was presented in the talk: Since we live in a Democracy, we have the power and ability to contact our elected representatives in the White House, Senate, and Congress. Space has created innovations, excitement, industries, jobs, and a national focus, a striving to be top in math and science, and many other great things. These are things we need today as much as when NASA started. Let your voice be heard on this matter: Continue our Space Exploration. You can now even, "tweet," the government, so, there's no excuse. From snail mail, to e-mail, to tweeting, and beyond, let your voice be heard.

Bob Summerfield

Keith Venables spoke on, "Preserving Dark Adaptation," and let us experiment, too. He gave us a better understanding of bright lights at night. Take a look at lights all over the World. See if you can put any lights out at night. He spoke to us of a movement to darken the night skies that began in the Netherlands and moved to the UK. He is encouraging everyone the World over to join the Dark Skies movement.

Dan Joyce is greatly appreciated for teaching the skills of mirror grinding needed for reflecting-telescope-making.

In addition, we were able to have informal discussions with ...
Matt Baum
and Al Nagler who both worked on the flight simulators NASA used to train the Apollo astronauts for their safe flight to the moon and back, that is, their safe flight, descent, ascent, rendez-vous, and, what we all waited for on the edge of our seats, the return home. Matt worked on the electronics, especially the cameras and displays, while Al worked on the necessary optics.

Special thanks go to the vendors and manufacturer's representatives that provided wonderful door prizes and who participate in the WSP in many other ways. I invite them to submit their links either to me (Dr. J ) or in the comment lines below for readers to "click: at will.

  • Astro Gizmos
  • Astronomic's
  • Astronomy-toGo
  • APM Telescopes
  • ATIK Cameras
  • IP4AP
  • Bootleg Astronomy
  • Apparel
  • Camera Concepts
  • DiscMounts, Inc. &
  • Explore Scientific, LLC
  • Galileo Visions, Inc
  • Hamilton's Name Game
  • Howie Glatter's Laser Collimators
  • Infinitees
  • Meade Instruments
  • Micki's Kitchen
  • Model Optics, Inc.
  • Normand Fullum Telescopes
  • Software Bisque
  • Spirit of the Mountains
  • TeleVue Optics, Inc.
  • Vernon Scope/Yeier Optics

more coming, so come back

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