Tuesday, April 11, 2017

NEAF 2017 (April 9)

Location:  Rockland Community College, Suffern, NY, USA

Date Time:  April 9, 2017 1130-1710hrs

Weather:  Sunny, warm, slight breeze, 22C.  First leaves have started on bushes and some trees.
From the parking lot after the Conference.  First buds of the spring!
Attendance:  David McCashion and hundreds of attendees.


  •  Spent more time today checking out more of the booths.  Talked to Kelly Beatty from Sky and Telescope Magazine.  He used a globe of the Moon to point out where there is a very deep impact creator on the southern half of the Moon on the far side.  Its massive and very deep.
  • Talked to a gentleman from another booth who said he was working with Hubble Space Telescope and a Telescope in Chile to image a 26 magnitude asteroid which was going to eclipse a 15 magnitude star.  This asteroid is the target object of a New Horizons spacecraft flyby.  By studying the asteroid eclipsing the star image, experts hope to more accurately determine it's size.
  • Here are some more images from the Field House where booths of all sorts, astronomy related were set up.

  • After the Field House, went outside were there were multiple telescopes set up for solar observing and at least one was set up to view a daytime, crescent Venus.  Though someones, Coronado 90 Solar Max with 25mm eyepiece, viewed two filaments, two different solar activity areas across the face, and one bright prominence..  In someone's, 80 APO with unknown eyepiece, viewed a very thin crescent daytime Venus.  Looked at area of sky where telescope was pointed, but could not see it with unaided eye.  Talked to someone else who had scope set up observing the Sun all day, and he said he had different  people at the eyepiece all day, but didn't get a count.

  • A huge topic of conversation during the talks was the upcoming solar eclipse on August 21, 2017.  According to Professional TV Meteorologist and astronomy enthusiast, Joe Rao, who also gave a talk in the Theater, the best place in the US to see the Eclipse, weather-wise, was Mandras, Oregon.  He also pointed out another, very interesting fact that Carbondale, Ill is going to be host to two total solar eclipses within 8 years.  He said that any one place on Earth normally experiences a total solar eclipse once every 375 years.  Carbondale, Ill is on the crossroads of two total solar eclipse paths and will experience the phenomenon in 2017 and in the year 2024.  Below is an image of Joe Rao and the huge mural of the 2017 eclipse path across the US all of which were located in the hall adjoining the field house where all the booths were set up to the Theater.  Note the times of the start of the total solar eclipse for that particular area and the time zone.  Also note the duration of the eclipse for that area.  The duration of the eclipse is longer the closer you are to the center of its path.

  • Mr Rao also talked about an eclipse in 2016 when he noticed that the eclipse was going to cross the flight path of an airplane.  He contacted the airline and it decided to delay the flight by a half hour, so that the plane could enter the shadow of the Moon.  Mr. Rao was on-board for the flight, and a News crew filmed the whole thing and the episode has been nominated for an Emmy!  Could not find the news report, but here is a youtube video from one of the other passengers of the flight.
  • Caleb Weiss, ULA, Commercial Crew Program Manager gave a talk on the current state of Rocketry in terms of sending humans into space from the USA.  Currently all our Astronauts are flying out of Kazakhstan.  Mr. Weiss says that there is currently a rocket system that is almost ready to go and that they have four astronauts already picked for the first flight.  It will fly out of Cape Canaveral, FL in 2018, if all goes well. 

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