Astronomy Foundation to hold annual meeting at NEAF

Posted by David Eicher
on Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Astronomy magazine is once again co-sponsoring the Northeast Astronomy Forum (NEAF) this year in Suffern, New York, which takes place April 27 and 28. This 21st annual event is the biggest telescope show and gathering in the United States, with several thousand people attending to see more than 140 telescope vendors and their wares and hear numerous astronomers speak on many topics. It is always an exciting event, and this year there will be some special treats awaiting attendees.

Moreover, for the two days preceding NEAF, the world’s greatest astroimagers will assemble at, the 7th annual Northeast Astro Imaging Conference (NEAIC), also held in Suffern. Astronomy magazine is proud to again be a sponsor of this event, as well.  

I want to alert you to a big event that will be held at NEAF: On Saturday evening, April 28 — which is also appropriately Astronomy Day — the annual meeting of the Astronomy Foundation (AF) will take place. The Astronomy Foundation is the first telescope industry outreach organization ever created for popularizing astronomy. Just three years old, the group has several goals: getting the most people possible their first looks at the universe through a telescope; spreading the joy of amateur astronomy as an activity; getting the word out on how easy telescopes are to use; and setting industry standards for the telescope business. The meeting this year will feature an agenda focused on these goals and more.

I want you to know who makes up the board of directors and officers of the foundation. I am serving a two-year term as president of the group. Alex Khachaturyan, founder of GammaFX Design Studio in Los Angeles, is the group’s vice president. Our secretary is Rick Hedrick, president and CEO of PlaneWave Instruments, and our treasurer is Robert Dibbell, a talented amateur astronomer and enthusiast.

The group’s board members at large are Vic Maris, president of Stellarvue Telescopes; Craig Weatherwax, president of Oceanside Photo & Telescope; Mike D. Reynolds, dean of Liberal Arts and Sciences at Florida State University.

The engine behind much of what the foundation does these days is the superpowered Frank Dibbell (Robert’s brother), a California amateur astronomer who has taken on much of the day-to-day business of the group. Whether it be communicating with astronomy clubs, members of the public, and thinking about and proposing new ideas, Frank is doing it and is a big driving force behind the foundation. You will see more and more of him as time goes on.

In addition to these folks, our meeting will include two special guests. For several months now, Karen Jennings has been increasingly active as chair of the Astronomy Club Committee of the AF. If you’ve seen the many posts on the group’s Facebook page, you may know most of those are the product of Karen. An enthusiastic Delaware amateur astronomer, mother of two, and wife of dynamic observer Chuck Jennings, Karen is taking an active role in making the foundation what it is becoming. She has produced several documents that we will distribute to astronomy clubs to help coordinate big star party events that will bring the universe to a wider audience. More on that coming soon.

Also present will be another guest, 16-year-old Ben Palmer, from New York. Last year Ben won our Youth Essay Contest, which brings a talented young amateur to NEAF, to celebrate and encourage young people in astronomy. At his young age, the multitalented Ben is chair of the AF Youth Committee. He will be encouraging other young astronomers to get active and show their peers the wonders of the cosmos.

This is going to be a very exciting and important meeting. I hope to see you all at NEAF!

For more info see:  NEAF; NEAIC; Astronomy Foundation; Astronomy magazine’s 2012 Youth Essay Contest.  Also check out the Astronomy Foundation page on Facebook!

Tags: NEAF
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