Barlow Bob’s Corner – Think Outside Of The Box – NEAF 2014 & Occultation Email Highlights

Greetings fellow astrophiles!

I am very happy to summarize some recent emails and a new article from Barlow Bob, founder & organizer of the NEAF Solar Star Party and regional event host & lecturer on all things involving solar spectroscopy. You can read more about Barlow Bob and see some of his other articles at www.neafsolar.com/barlowbob.html.

NEAF 2014 Dates

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The 23rd Anniversary edition of the Northeast Astronomy Forum, America’s Premiere Astronomy Expo and certainly the largest event of its kind on the East Coast, will be April 12 (Saturday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.) and 13 (Sunday 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.) at Rockland Community College in Suffern, NY. Both days of the event feature the NEAF Solar Star Party and its organizer Barlow Bob. Get those taxes done early!

See www.rocklandastronomy.com/neaf/index.html for more info.

Occultation Of Regulus – March 20, 2014

Barlow Bob forwards the following from Glenn Chaple on the occultation of Regulus by asteroid Erigone. Better still, CNYO members may be helping the International Occultation Timing Association (IOTA) with their monitoring experiment. We will keep you posted as March 20th approaches. Meantime, check out the video below to see what to expect.

And, without further ado…

Think Outside Of The Box

By Barlow Bob

 
There are a wide variety of amateur astronomy products available today, manufactured by astronomy suppliers including Celestron and Meade. These types of companies are a great resource to amateur astronomers.
 
However, if you think outside of the box, there is an even larger variety of other suppliers of amateur astronomy products including Stanley, Cabela’s, L.L. Bean, Gander Mountain, Eastern Mountain Sports, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Home Depot, Sam Ash Music, Ritz Camera, Bass Pro Shops, Titleist and most any art supply store. These other companies supply a wider variety of padded, rugged, waterproof cases to hold expensive guns, tools, cameras, golf clubs, music instruments, and fishing equipment. They also supply warm waterproof sportswear and camping equipment. 
 
Some stargeezers are downsizing their amateur astronomy equipment. The 25” Obsession bought for their 30th birthday is now too hard to use on their 60th birthday. It has become a problem to move my variety of heavy amateur solar astronomy equipment at various amateur astronomy events, like NEAF – The Northeast Astronomy Forum – each year.
 
I use a padded drum case to hold the top cage of a Dobsonian telescope, then small cases for mount parts.  I store my Herschel wedge in a diced foam camera  equipment case.  I store the wooden legs of a mount in padded rifle cases. The tripod legs are covered with knitted gun socks. Shorter knitted gun socks cover PowerMate lenses and imaging extension tubes. Padded pistol cases hold smaller toys. I use a two-wheel golf bag cart to move heavy surveyor tripod mounts. I use a large art carry case to hold a big square piece of heavy duty clear plastic.

A smaller art carry case holds a TV swivel stand. Large sturdy plastic food storage containers hold mount weights. A large canvas tool bag holds the head of my equatorial mount and mount parts. Several small Stanley canvas tool bags allow me to store all of the parts of one astro toy in each separate bag, each bag labeled with the contents enclosed. When I go to an event, I can just take a toy and the small bag containing the parts for the toy – no more lost toys or parts.

Larger bags carry more equipment, but become extremely heavy.
 
You probably have already found many other similar products that you use.

I encourage you to think outside of the box and make it easier for you to move your own astro toys.

Poster’s Note: Great minds have thought alike! During our last phone call, I had mentioned to the Barlow’ed One that I not only use a molded, hard floor tom case (you can get locally from Guitar Center or, my personal preference, The Music Center on James St.) for the secondary cage of my New Moon Telescope Dobsonian (and the case doubles as a table and storage bin during observing sessions) and a drum stool for my sitting duties, but I also put together my own custom Coronado PST case from a Sterilite container and green foam from Michael’s (shown below, at a savings of $70 over the official case).

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