I’m off to PATS

Posted by Michael Bakich
on Wednesday, September 19, 2012

I’m once again headed to Pasadena, California, to attend the fifth annual Pacific Astronomy and Telescope Show (PATS). This manufacturers show, to be held Saturday and Sunday, September 22–23, at the Pasadena Convention Center, exists on three levels. First, it gives lots of visitors the chance to look at and discuss the latest astronomy gear. The newest telescopes, mounts, cameras, eyepieces, and accessories all will be on display — and for sale. And each booth will have up to half a dozen staff members ready and eager to impart their knowledge to interested visitors.

Second, visitors have the chance to sit in on exciting and educational lectures. For example, Bruce Betts of the Planetary Society will lecture about the Curiosity mission on Mars. Mr. Eclipse, Fred Espenak, is doing a program called “Predicting and Chasing Solar Eclipses.” (And, really, is there anyone who knows those events better than Espenak?) Plus, I’ll be giving an illustrated talk Saturday afternoon titled “Star Death.”

And third, on Saturday evening, PATS attendees and anyone else can attend an outdoor movie, Christa McAuliffe: Reach for the Stars, presented across the street from the convention center at the Paseo Colorado shopping area. The film, a 75-minute-long documentary that shows how a social studies teacher from Concord, New Hampshire, became NASA’s first civilian astronaut, is an inspirational look at McAuliffe’s life.

Prior to PATS, astroimagers can spend Thursday and Friday, September 20–21, at the Riverside Astroimaging Workshop (RAW), hosted by the Riverside Astronomical Society. Onsite registration begins at noon on Thursday, and the program starts at 1 p.m. RAW will occur at the convention center, in the northeast corner (at Euclid and Greene) just above the parking structure. Friday’s registration begins at 8 a.m., and the program runs from 9:15 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Two-day registration costs $130.

Thursday’s RAW features an extended session with Astronomy columnist and Contributing Editor Tony Hallas. That night, Tim Puckett will conduct a remote imaging session, showing participants how to acquire images from far away (or from your own backyard).

Friday’s lineup features nearly a dozen speakers, including Hallas (again), solar imager Gary Palmer, and Fred Metzler from Canon, who will talk about DSLRs for astroimaging.

I’m looking forward to a great time. Be sure to look for my full report after the show.

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