Education at NEAIC

Posted by Michael Bakich
on Friday, April 25, 2008

Today is Friday, the second day of the 2008 Northeast Astro Imaging Conference (NEAIC) at Rockland Community College, in Suffern, New York. Because the college’s classes are still in session, NEAIC annually asks one of the participants to lecture to one or two classes about an astronomical subject.

This year, conference organizers asked Astronomy Contributing Editor Mike D. Reynolds to give one of the lectures. And what a great choice it was! In the past, invited speakers have lectured about their passion — imaging. In some cases, however, such talks tended to be technical and above the level of non-astronomy college students. Not Mike’s.

He chose “Return to the Moon” as his topic. For more than half an hour, Mike regaled the class with tales of spacecraft old and new, and what they had taught scientists about the Moon. Although Mike spoke at a basic level, he conveyed an incredible amount of information the students found fascinating. Afterward, lots of questions convinced me that Mike had spoken at just the right level about a subject at least one college class now finds “cool.”

Rumor has it that tomorrow’s speaker won’t arrive at the airport until the time scheduled for his talk. NEAIC organizers already approached Mike about doing another talk, and he’s agreed. I may sit in on that one, too. He’ll be giving his meteorite talk. That’s a good one, as I recall. Mike is a long-time meteorite collector and hunter. He’s traveled to some pretty exotic locations to search for meteorites. The stories should be good ones.

Day 2 was fun and valuable. Tomorrow, NEAF proper starts, and I’ll interact with all the vendors. I expect to see lots of great, new equipment. Look for a report here soon.

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