The hobby is alive and well at the 2013 Northeast Astronomy Forum

Posted by David Eicher
on Sunday, April 21, 2013

The Northeast Astronomy Forum 2013 gets underway at Rockland Community College in Suffern, New York, April 20, 2013. // all photos by David J. Eicher
Following on the heels of the very successful two-day Northeast Astro-Imaging Conference, the world’s largest telescope show and expo — the Northeast Astronomy Forum (NEAF) — got off with a bang Saturday, April 20. As usual, the event took place at Rockland Community College in Suffern, New York, about an hour outside of New York City, and was hosted by the Rockland Astronomy Club. Some 110 exhibitors showed off their latest telescopes, binoculars, accessories, books, and other fun stuff to several thousand attendees. The event will carry on with its second day today.

Speakers on Saturday included Bernie Sokolowski, who presented a telescope clinic for beginners, Yuri Beletsky of the Magellan Telescope in Chile, astroimager John Davis (who is also a Hollywood director, noted for Jimmy Neutron and other films), Rick Fieberg of the American Astronomical Society on pro-am collaborations, and astronaut John Grunsfeld on NASA science.

Youth Essay Winner Grant Regen of Los Angeles and his mother Beth pose proudly at NEAF, Suffern, New York, April 20, 2013.
Astronomy magazine again sponsored a Youth Essay Contest, and the winner, 13-year-old Grant Regen of Los Angeles, enjoyed his first NEAF, accompanied by his mother, Beth. Grant is already becoming involved with the outreach organization the Astronomy Foundation, so you will hear from him in the future.

NEAF’s new chairman, Ed Siemenn of the Rockland Astronomy Club, welcomed attendees, along with fellow club members Mies Hora and Jim Burnell.

The day was mostly consumed by numerous discussions with amateurs at the Astronomy magazine booth and the Astronomy Foundation booth, which was watched over carefully by Vice President Karen Jennings and Youth Committee Chair Ben Palmer. Much more on the foundation to come, with some exciting developments.

The second day of NEAF is at its height now — much more to report later.

For all images from this trip, visit the Online Reader Gallery.

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