Summer is a lousy time for imaging or star parties in the southeastern US, so I am currently in imaging withdrawal. The chills and night tremors are the worst...
As a small bit of therapy, I was able to attend the recent Astronomical League Convention (ALCON) in Atlanta Georgia last week. Steve Bisque was there too, and in the picture here you can see my oldest son who tagged along for the drive up from the Orlando area to help with booth duty. He's inherited already some of my older equipment and asked after one of the talks if I had the right adapter to connect his DSLR onto _his_ telescope at home. Makes a dad so proud<g>. Deep sky scares him, but the people at ALCON tipped him over as he's interested now in starting on the moon, sun, and maybe planets. I'd say if the point of ALCON was to encourage the younger generation to get into our hobby, it seems to have worked at least once. Of course it doesn't hurt that he comes along frequently and sees what I'm doing all the time. He was even able to answer some questions about the Paramount MX and Veloce RH-200 that I brought for display. He's come along and prefers visual to the hard work of imaging... but it seems his resistance to the zombie-imaging virus is beginning to weaken - Muahahahha!
The Atlanta Astronomy Club and the Fernbank Science Center were the hosts of this year's conference. The talks were a mixed bag, but some of the speakers were especially good. I really enjoyed Kelly Beatty's (from Sky & Telescope) talk on light pollution. He started off by saying that if you think you know about light pollution, you probably don't know as much as you think you do. A bit bold I thought at first, but after his talk I knew he was right, and he convinced me to join the IDAS myself. It was also really great to see some industry friends. World renowned meteorite expert Mike Reynolds and his wife Debbie were there, and we were set up right next to Christi Whitworth from PARI (Pisgah Astronomical Research Institute). PARI is getting ready to celebrate their 50th anniversary in October (www.pari.edu), and I plan to be there for the solar eclipse in 2017! Of course my son and I both added to our meteorite collection from the Reynold's booth, and I picked up a couple of new books. Shopping is of course the _real_ reason we go to these things - right?!
The ALCON conference was a bit smaller than I had anticipated, but it was still a very worthwhile event to drive up for, and even for Steve to fly out from Golden to attend. We met a lot of astrophotographers, customers, and future customers at our table, and there's no substitute for actually seeing a mount there, with a scope on it, and being able to touch it and ... well.... play with it! There is also no substitute for meeting people face to face to talk over problems, feature requests, or share the occasional war story about a troublesome nights imaging run. Group therapy ;-)
The only thing better is DEMONSTRATING our equipment. I can't wait for the Fall/Winter Star Party season to get here!
07-28-2013 7:27 AM