On the road: The Northeast Astronomy Forum, April 16, 2011

Posted by David Eicher
on Saturday, April 16, 2011

The first day of the 2011 Northeast Astronomy Forum (NEAF) got off to a big start on the morning of Saturday, April 16, 2011, at the Eugene Levy Fieldhouse at Rockland Community College in Suffern, New York. More than 140 vendors were on hand, including all the large telescope manufacturers and many retail dealers, as well as numerous accessory producers and media such as Astronomy magazine.

Astronomy’s booth after setup on the first day of NEAF, April 16, 2011. David J. Eicher photo
Inclement cold, rainy weather eliminated one of the daytime activities, solar observing, but many hundreds of people milled through the exhibits and looked over and bought telescopes and other equipment. Saturday activities included a workshop by Marni Berendsen and Vivian White of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific. They spoke on sharing astronomy outreach ideas with astronomy clubs. Chris Lintott of BBC Sky at Night spoke on making progress on cosmological research, and Alex Filippenko of the University of California, Berkeley, delivered a lecture on black holes.

Kevin Kawai of Celestron shows off the California manufacturer’s latest hot product, the Sky Prodigy 130, which features a completely automated setup system that will allow anyone to just set up the telescope and start observing, April 16, 2011. David J. Eicher photo
The real action went on with equipment manufacturers. Kevin Kawai of Celestron showed off the company’s new Sky Prodigy 130, which requires nothing more than to be set down to use — the first complete, fully automated telescope. Brian Deis of Vixen demonstrated a new camera mount that attaches to an ordinary tripod and tracks a camera with wide-field lens automatically. The folks from Great Red Spot Telescopes had a 40-inch Dobsonian on hand that was the object of many attendees’ attention. New products seemed on the rise again, with examples coming from Explore Scientific, Meade Instruments, Software Bisque, and Tele Vue Optics, to name a few.

Astronomy magazine’s Youth Essay Award winner, Benjamin Palmer, poses with his mother and sister on the first day of NEAF, April 16, 2011. David J. Eicher photo
The folks at Astronomy were proud to have our 2011 Youth Essay Award winner, Benjamin Palmer, in Suffern for the show. Ben enjoyed the day and had a marvelous time talking about astronomy and associated topics with dozens of people, and basked in the limelight of being a celebrated figure. Expect to hear more from this young man in the future.

Many friends and associates of the magazine were also at NEAF and spent time talking about the state of telescopes, the hobby, and its future. They included Contributing Editors Mike Reynolds and Martin Ratcliffe among the many others. Stay tuned for more, and check out all the pictures from NEAF in our Online Reader Gallery.

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