Happy campers at Starfest 2010
Two clear nights at Starfest at the peak of the Perseid meteor shower. Life for a Canadian amateur astronomer doesn't get any better than that. Well, except for Kevin Salwach. He won a telescope at his very first Starfest!! I'm thinking he may be back next year...
Last year's near miss by a tornado was almost repeated at this year's Starfest. The organizers had a trained Canwarn volunteer on hand and just as the Saturday night door prizes were to be given away, Malcolm Park (president of Starfest's host astronomy club, the NYAA, and the resident trained Canwarn volunteer) announced that a tornado warning had just been issued for the area. He asked the crowd for a decision on whether to go ahead with the evening's planned events or not. With a thunderous roar from the crowd and nearly unanimous show of hands, the night's activities carried on. (Nothing stands between amateur astronomers and a table full of amazing door prizes - not even Mother Nature!)
Door prizes at this year's Starfest ranged from gift certificates to a Meade 6" Lightswitch telescope. The only prize won by an HAA-er was a beautiful Maksutov-Newtonian telescope and that was the prize that Kevin won.
We met many of our old friends and made many new ones at this year's Starfest. There were a lot of new faces at Starfest this year. It's great to see such a big influx of newcomers to astronomy! The campground has put in a new, larger pool. (Much appreciated!) This summer's constant heat and humidity accompanied us to Starfest and made it uncomfortable (for me,anyway) to stay in the big tents for many of the talks. One of the campground's seasonal tenants made the mistake of putting their sprinkler out on their front garden and a few of us spent more than a few minutes standing under it with the pretense of admiring that garden. One of the park's more entrepreneurial residents operated a tractor ride/tour of the park that many of the younger kids were enjoying.
This year's list of speakers was as impressive as always with the highlight being David Levy. "Crazy" Bob Summerfield's 'Physics of Rainbows' talk was amazing, too.
Although my mount was giving me grief, I managed to get a couple of astrophotos:
Lagoon Nebula (M8) taken through 80 mm refractor.
Trifid Nebula (M20) taken with 80 mm refractor.
All in all, it was a memorable and fun Starfest and I'm already looking forward to next year!!
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