NEAF 2018 a spectacular success!

Posted by David Eicher
on Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Astronomy’s booth at NEAF 2018, with Steve Meni and Dina Johnston. David J. Eicher photo.

The Northeast Astronomy Forum, the largest telescope show and astronomy equipment fair in the United States, took place at Rockland Community College, Suffern, New York, April 21–22, 2018. As always, it was a great success, with more than 100 vendors showing telescopes, cameras, binoculars, and all manner of accessories, books, magazines, and collectible goods for the hobby of astronomy. I was privileged to represent Astronomy magazine at the show, along with my comrades in the advertising department, Steve Meni and Dina Johnston. 

On Saturday it became clear immediately that NEAF was better attended this time than during the last few years. It was crowded on the floor of the show for several hours, right away, and I hard to hunt for a parking space tot even get in. A younger, more diverse crowd seemed to wander the floor, enthralled by the equipment on display and hungry for knowledge of the cosmos. 

Among the speakers were John Mather, good friend and Senior Project Scientist on the James Webb Space Telescope, to be launched in 2020. Also there were Space Shuttle Launch Director Mike Leinbach; Tim Gasparrini representing the OSIRIS-REx mission; Tim Walsh, NOAA System Director; Hans Koenigsmann of SpaceX; Tom Mulder of Boeing; Kirsten Howley, who spoke on asteroid extinctions; and Don Bruns, who spoke on Einstein and relativity. 

I was privileged to host a round table discussion that followed presentations by three bright young astronomers, brought to NEAF by Celestron. Will Clodfelder, Grant Regen, and Pranvera Hyseni each spoke on their activities as young astronomy enthusiasts and popularizers. Will, who is from the Champaign, Illinois, area, is a tireless organizer of promoter of his local astronomy club and will go on to college next year. He has many exciting ideas. Grant is a past winner of our Youth Astronomy Award, a native of Los Angeles, and is an accomplished astroimager who is also about to start college. Pran, who hails from Kosovo, is a widely recognized astronomy promoter on social media channels who has attracted quite a following, is filled with great ideas, and has made many trips and media appearances promoting astronomy. It was great fun to discuss the future of astronomy with the three of them. 

The many important manufacturers and dealers who were present at NEAF also made a big splash. Celestron, Meade, Tele Vue, and Skywatcher Telescopes all had huge booths, and attracted omnipresent crowds, as did PlaneWave, Explore Scientific, Stellarvue, and others. 

What fun it as to see numerous readers of Astronomy there, to converse with many of you who stopped by to say hello. Thanks for that, and I look forward to doing it all again next year. 

Congrats to Ed Siemann, Vinny Coulehan, and all of the NEAF organizers who put on such a professional show, year after year. 

Young astronomers Grant Regen, Ben Palmer, and Pran Hyseni join Dave Eicher for a portrait. David J. Eicher photo.

Ben Palmer spoke on an exciting new outreach initiative, FirstLight. David J. Eicher photo.

Celestron’s booth was a constant beehive of activity. David J. Eicher photo.

Some of the friendliest people in the astronomy world: Charlie Warren and his wife Margie publish Amateur Astronomy Magazine. David J. Eicher photo.

Vic Maris of Stellarvue Telescopes enjoys a very active NEAF. David J. Eicher photo.

Astronomy Contributing Editor Martin Ratcliffe and contributor Jon Talbot compare notes at the Stellarvue booth. David J. Eicher photo.

The Tele Vue booth was constantly active. David J. Eicher photo.

The folks from Classic Telescopes were once again showing off a wide variety of telescopes from many of our youths. David J. Eicher photo.

PlaneWave scopes continue to set a very high standard for astronomical imaging. David J. Eicher photo.

Scott Roberts (center) and the team from Explore Scientific continue to strike with hot products. David J. Eicher photo.

Sky-Watchers impressive line of scopes surrounds Jeff Simon. David J. Eicher photo.

Steven Blum and Larry Rosenberg of Dark Sky New Mexico described their observing and imaging activities that take place under a very dark sky. David J. Eicher photo.

Meade Instruments Corp. as always had a large, impressive, and very busy booth. David J. Eicher photo.

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