Category Archives: Observing

U.S. Star Parties And Astro Events Calendar For 2015 – Continuing A Great Idea

Greetings fellow astrophiles,

For several years, those in the Barlow Bob email loop were treated to a Word doc containing a list of East Coast Star Parties, complete with web links and locations “Courtesy Barlow Bob and Friends.” Starting two years ago, this event list was compiled by Barlow Bob and Chuck Higgins of the Mohawk Valley Astronomical Society. For my part, this list served two great purposes. First, it allowed me to keep track of (and pass along) astro events not too far from Central New York (many an easy drive for overnight stays). Second, it was a great way to see how other clubs had their websites arranged (which was great for stealing ideas and widgets – it’s a large enough community where you can see what seems to work and not work with only a few hours of snooping around!).

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Barlow Bob at the center of the 2014 NEAF Solar Star Party.

As a way to continue Barlow Bob’s tradition of outreach beyond his own solar observing sessions (I often called him the “Postman of Amateur Astronomy” for the number of emails he would forward along), I am pleased to report that the compilation of 2015 Star Parties has been completed (and we’ve only missed a few events already) by Chuck Higgins and myself. The link can be found when you hover over the “Calendar” link above and an official page has been setup on the CNYO website, complete with PDF, DOCX, and HTML versions (the HTML case so you can copy + paste the table into your own pages if you like).

2015 U.S. Star Parties And Astro Events

PDF VersionWord DOCX VersionTable’d HTML Version

(www.cnyo.org/2015-u-s-star-parties-and-astro-events/)

The list is, as of 6 April 2015, as accurate as our web searches and other organizations’ websites has allowed – but we expect a few changes to appear as situations require and as some organizations announce their official dates. We’ll keep the official page here updated accordingly.

In the meantime, I see this list and can only remark on how many clubs we have in the US full of members who enjoy and appreciate the Night Sky. As you’ll see checking out event info pages, these Star Parties are usually wide open to the public as well. As someone who’s organized such events, I can say with certainly that it is no trivial matter to arrange all of the details for a successful Star Party. That is to say, the hosts for these events really want *you* to enjoy and appreciate the Night Sky as well.

If you see a problem, want to add an event, or have any other comment about the page, please drop a line to info@cnyo.org and Chuck and I will reply accordingly. Otherwise, get yourself outside a few times this year!

Star Party Announcement: Mountains of Stars Amateur Astronomers Weekend, 24-26 October 2014

Greetings fellow astrophiles!

The following announcement came through our website recently. For those not considering a drive South to attend the Kopernik AstroFest that same weekend, consider a drive East for a long weekend under high, dark (hopefully) skies!

First Annual – Mountains of Stars Amateur Astronomers Weekend – In The White Mountains

The Appalachian Mountain Club and the Carthage Institute of Astronomy announce the first annual Mountains of Stars Amateur Astronomers Weekend, to be held October 24th to 26th 2014 at the Appalachian Mountain Club’s Highland Center in Bretton Woods, New Hampshire. Surrounded by the White Mountain National Forest, the Highland Center is a wonderful place to enjoy dark skies. Less than a day’s drive from one-quarter of the US population, the location offers outstanding hiking and outdoor activities, and the area is wonderful for families. Bring your telescopes and observing gear – and several facility telescopes will also be available. The Mountains of Stars Weekend will include opportunities for presentations and short talks, and two nights of dark sky observing around New Moon.

Please contact AMC Reservations at 603-466-2727 or amclodging@outdoors.org for more information or to make a reservation.

The Carthage Institute of Astronomy is a branch of Carthage College, a liberal arts college founded in 1847 and located in Kenosha, WI. The Institute conducts research in astronomy and astrophysics, operates the Griffin Observatory, offers courses in physics and astronomy, and delivers outreach and education programs. The institute’s director is astrophysicist Dr. Douglas Arion, who will be the host of the Mountains of Stars Weekend. He also heads the Galileoscope program, which has delivered more than 200,000 high quality, low cost telescopes for education and outreach to over 106 countries.

Founded in 1876, the Appalachian Mountain Club is America’s oldest conservation and recreation organization. With more than 100,000 members, advocates, and supporters in the Northeast and beyond, the nonprofit AMC promotes the protection, enjoyment, and understanding of the mountains, forests, waters, and trails of the Appalachian region. The AMC supports natural resource conservation while encouraging responsible recreation, based on the philosophy that successful, long-term conservation depends upon first-hand enjoyment of the natural environment.

The Mountains of Stars event is part of an NSF-funded joint Carthage/AMC astronomy outreach and education program, bringing astronomy and nature education to the public.

CNY Photographer Stephen Shaner Hosting A Class On Astrophotography At LightWork – Sunday, March 2 At Syracuse University

Greetings fellow astrophiles,

The following message was forwarded along by Ryan Goodson about a class on astrophotography being held at LightWork by CNY photographer Stephen Shaner. Having purchased a DSLR last year specifically for doing some simple astrophotography, this introductory course sounds to be right up my alley – and I encourage anyone who might not know just how straightforward and fun it can be to set some long exposure shots in your backyard to give this class a look! More information and the registration link can be found on the LightWork website: www.lightwork.org/workshops/

Get directions to the LightWork office below:


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Dear local astronomy enthusiasts:

My name is Stephen Shaner and I want to let you know about an astrophotography workshop I will be conducting on Sunday, March 2 at Syracuse University. This three-hour workshop is aimed at anyone who wants to get started or improve their existing astrophotography skills. We will be discussing the tools and techniques to create a variety of night sky images including: moon and constellation portraits, star trails, planetary imaging, time-lapse video and stunning shots of the Milky Way. We will survey astrophotography software and see how digital photos are processed to bring out the detail and colors of the night sky. There also will be an introduction to long exposure, prime focus astrophotography with a hands-on demonstration of the equipment required to capture amazing deep sky objects, such as nebulae and galaxies.

Current members of local astronomy clubs who want to register for the workshop will receive a discounted Light Work member rate of $25 off the normal non-member rate.

You can find registration info online at www.lightwork.org/workshops or by calling 315-443-2450. If you have any specific questions, feel free to contact me directly at stephen[at]stephenshaner[dot]com.

And for those wondering just what can be done from CNY with a decent sky and the right equipment, I include a post from our Facebook Group below featuring one of Stephen’s images: The great Orion Nebula (M42):

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Hi all. Here’s a small jpg of M42 quickly taken during the last new moon period under the (always perfect) CNY skies.

I’ve received several questions regarding the workshop Ryan was kind enough to post about last week and thought I’d answer them here. In addition to a technical overview and the best ways to get started, we’ll be setting up a complete outfit for guided, long-exposure work with all the various gear required as well as cameras for capturing brighter solar system objects. We’ll demo stacking and processing images (stretching images) plus various tricks, plug-ins and tools for better image control. Also, one big manufacturer is sending a neat piece of astrophoto gear to demo.

Overall, the focus will be on getting great results without spending a fortune!