This week I return to Breezy Hill in Springfield, Vermont, for the annual Stellafane Convention. Stellafane is my favorite place in the world. It’s where I won 3rd prize in 1958 for my high school project telescope and 1st prize in 1972 for my 12″ scope. The rich association of telescope making with Stellafane is why this place is considered the “birthplace of American Telescope Making”.
I hope you enjoy the following slide show from last year’s convention. It features many images from the Telescope Competition.
By the way, “Stellafane” comes from the Latin words “stellar” (star), and “fane” (shrine) so “Stellafane” is a “Shrine to the Stars”. Never been there? All amateur astronomers should make a “pilgrimage” to this “shrine” at least once!
We received a nice account from Fred Miller of Portland, TX, relating his experience at this year’s Texas Star Party with a Tactical Night Vision Company (TNVC) night-vision monocular outfitted with our astronomy adapters. We called him on the phone to discuss putting his report on our blog . He agreed and added that the feel of sweeping the sky with night-vision setup was that of the proverbial “kid in a candy store”.
Mars will exceed 24-arc-sec in diameter between July 23rd and August 9th, 2018. This is 97 percent of the maximum of 25.13-arc-sec diameter attained during the last of the ‘favorable’ apparitions, which occurred in 2003.Association of Lunar and Planetary Observers
This year we received a phone call from Jeff Bennett with some questions about his new TV-NP127is scope. He’d only been using it since the fall of 2017 but was very enthusiastic and told us he’d tried other scopes, but the NP127is was the best he’d ever used. We viewed his astrobin.com page and we were impressed with his initial results. So, we asked him to tell us why he chose the NP127is for astro imaging and he told us in his own words.
Tele Vue President David Nagler recently received a “first-light” report from the very-first Tele Vue Bandmate Type 2 Nebustar filter owner. He purchased the filter at the Northeast Astronomy Forum (NEAF) this year where the filters were introduced. It turns out the gentleman has a long history with Tele Vue products, is a yearly attendee (like Tele Vue founder Al Nagler) at the Stellafane amateur telescope makers convention — and he even coined the moniker “Uncle Al” while at Stellafane. Read on!
At the end of this month, on July 27th, Mars will be in opposition and reach its greatest angular diameter — 24.3-arc-seconds — for the year. This is the best opposition since 2003. It’ll be greater than 21-arc-seconds tonight and well worth observing. For an explanation as to why some oppositions are better, what to expect from this year’s event, and accessories to better view and image Mars, see our blog post: Mars Opposition 2018 Preview.
Saturn is in opposition tonight: it glides above the horizon around sunset and will be over 18-arc-seconds in diameter for a few weeks. At about magnitude 0.0, it will pair well with the full moon that accompanies it across the sky this evening.
Alan Bean, who became the fourth man to walk on the moon and turned to painting years later to tell the story of NASA’s Apollo missions as they began receding into history, died on Saturday at Houston Methodist Hospital. He was 86.
His death was announced by his family in a statement released by NASA.
Mr. Bean stepped onto the lunar surface preceded by Pete Conrad, the mission commander of their Apollo 12 flight, in November 1969, four months after Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first lunar explorers.