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NEAF 2012- My first Experience-WOW...

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#1 Daniel Guzas

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Posted 05 May 2012 - 10:23 AM

This was my first attendance at the NEAF so I had high expectations. I have seen all the photos from previous years and it looked like a great thing to go to. I originally wanted to go last year but as I was really new to astronomy I felt it best to wait a year and gain more knowledge.

Well this year was it. I made the 4 hour drive from Boston to the NEAF. The day was beautiful and my first impression was…. WOW look at that field house. It’s huge!. Second was MAN there are no parking spots.!! (It was 11:30 a.m.). So I drove in low gear around the parking lot and followed someone with a Sky and Telescope bag back to their car. (Normally I hate to do that as I feel kind like a creep following someone to their car) But I had no choice. He got in…. drove off and parked I was… Now I was really getting excited. I texted my wife to tell her I made it safely and I was on my way.

Upon stepping out of the car I was struck by how beautiful the day was. Crisp cool and sunny. What more could you ask for.!! So I slowly strolled towards the entrance and of course the first thing I saw was the cool Explore Scientific trailer. So after a couple of pictures I went in and took a look around in their trailer. By this time I couldn’t wait till I got inside the field house… if they had all this great stuff “outside” what awaits me “Inside”.?? I had to tear my self away to get my ticket.

Second distraction the SOLAR STAR PARTY…. WOW look at all those scopes. I almost immediately went down to the courtyard but I said to myself…. No go inside and get your ticket first… So I did. 20 bucks, ticket in hand, to the entrance with the guy who stamps my hand and on to the balcony….

I stood in silence for about 5 minutes with a grin on my face ear to ear. The hum of the crowd below and look at all those vendors…!! I was like a kid on Christmas morning. I wanted to run down the stairs and get started…

But wait. What about the Solar Star party?? I almost forgot… After checking that I could get back in with my hand stamped off I went to the courtyard. Down the steps and there I was. It was a cool sight to see all those scopes aligned and pointed at the sun. So I made my way around and all I can say is that each and every image I saw of our closest star was nothing short of breathtaking. Hydrogen Alpha you say???? Now I am in trouble. I have a white light filter for my scope but these BLOW THAT AWAY!!!. So now I am obsessed with getting a solar scope. Nevertheless… after about 30-40 mins. in the courtyard with all the friendly individuals, I had to go back inside and see all the good stuff.

So inside I went. Went up and down each isle about 2 times taking my time to absorb at an arms distance at all the stuff. I have to say I was a little overwhelmed. It was great to see in person companies and people with whom I have already done business on the internet. Namely Explore Scientific, Astronomics, Wood Wonders, Howie Glatter, Televue, Dark Skies Apparel, and most namely Teeters Telescopes.

I have to admit my main objective of the trip was to meet Rob Teeter in person and to drool over his scopes. I have one on order so I had to check that booth out right away. It did not disappoint. The scopes were beautiful and I was transfixed… What beautiful equipment and I will get mine later this year.

After about 20 minutes of waiting to get Robs attention I finally met the man. He was a great guy. I only wish I was able to occupy more of his time but he was flooded with people asking questions. So I didn’t talk to him long as I knew he was busy. Oh well. I achieved my goal of at least introducing myself to him. He said he always likes to put a face to the name of people he makes his scopes for. Overall I am glad I was at least able to talk to him even though it was brief.

I spent the next hour up and down the aisles. Man what great stuff. I only wish I was in the market for buying some equipment. However at the time I was not. But I had to leave with SOMETHING!!!. So I bought a NEAF t-shirt which was pretty nice, and the $$ goes towards funding the Rockland Astronomy Club so why not….?

After some more wandering around I came across the Dark Skies Apparel booth. I have one of their black observing vests and use it every time I am out at my scope. But what’s this??? White versions with mesh backs for Solar Observing…. Hmmmm. Now that’s something I need. So it didn’t take long to plunk down the $70 bucks for this. I was happy… Now I only need an H-alpha scope to go with it,… but not today. The vest will have to assist me observing with my white light filter for now.

So leaving the NEAF vendor floor I just HAD to go back out to the Solar party… and spent another 20 mins. gazing at that beautiful fiery orb in our sky…

So about 2:30 I called it quits (I know 3 hours pretty short) but I had a 4 hour drive back. All in all I was very satisfied and during the drive back to Boston I felt extremely pleased with my experience. I think the Solar Star party made my day. And I was very happy to have purchased my Solar Observing Vest. Which I plan on trying out for the first time today if the sky clears…..

So I think I will be back in 2013. NEAF you were all I expected you to be and much more.

Thank you all who take the time to organize and put this all together every year. My hats off to you all!! It’s a wonderful event to attend and great for the small tight knit astronomy community. I will be back!

#2 Scott in NC

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Posted 05 May 2012 - 12:14 PM

Nice report, Daniel! This was my first NEAF experience as well, and like you, I had a blast! But I really envy people like you who "only" have a 4-hr drive (I drove 650 miles each way). The drive was worth it, though, and I'll definitely plan on coming back again. :)

#3 Steph

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Posted 05 May 2012 - 01:39 PM

Leave earlier and stay longer next time! :D Great report, glad to hear you had a wonderful time. Next year, stop by the Astronomics/CN booth and say 'hey'!

#4 Daniel Guzas

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Posted 05 May 2012 - 02:41 PM

Will do!

#5 contedracula

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Posted 05 May 2012 - 09:30 PM

I Live in Italy and I made 9.20 hours of Flight for NEAF :drool5:

Great Show and very nice location.
This is my first too.

Ciao

#6 Steph

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Posted 05 May 2012 - 10:06 PM

I *think* Sedat has you beat, coming from Turkey, but 9.2 hours coming from Italy is quite impressive also! Glad to hear you enjoyed the show as well, and I hope you'll be able to return next year or another time. :)

#7 Dob Frog

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Posted 06 May 2012 - 05:09 AM

Wonderful report Daniel! So glad you were able to attend.

#8 Bart

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Posted 06 May 2012 - 08:47 AM

Some year I hope to make it to NEAF, maybe 2013.

#9 Steph

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Posted 06 May 2012 - 01:01 PM

It'll be time well wasted! :grin:

#10 okieav8r

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Posted 07 May 2012 - 09:55 PM

Some year I hope to make it to NEAF, maybe 2013.


Me too! I've wanted to go so badly for the last 3 or 4 years, but it's just never materialized. One of my observing buddies said he'd go with me awhile back, but he crawfished out soon afterward. Maybe next year... :question:

#11 George N

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Posted 08 May 2012 - 12:26 PM

Some year I hope to make it to NEAF, maybe 2013.


Me too! I've wanted to go so badly for the last 3 or 4 years, but it's just never materialized. One of my observing buddies said he'd go with me awhile back, but he crawfished out soon afterward. Maybe next year... :question:


NEAF is like Stellafane, TSP, WSP, opposite hemisphere observing, and maybe a few other trips….. Ya gotta do it at least *once* in your life. :cool:

#12 Boot

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Posted 08 May 2012 - 05:22 PM

We talkin' Bucket List?

#13 Steph

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Posted 08 May 2012 - 05:47 PM

Kinda sounds like it, doesn't it? I'm thinking 'opposite hemisphere observing' at least should be put on mine. I think I have a generic 'visit Australia' but I should be more specific. ;)

I have NEAF and TSP checked off already though it won't stop me from continuing to try them both annually. :grin:

#14 George N

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Posted 09 May 2012 - 10:25 AM

..... I'm thinking 'opposite hemisphere observing' at least should be put on mine. ......


Somehow we always hear about going south, but 2 years ago on an ‘off weekend’ at PA’s Cherry Springs dark sky park I was set up next to a guy from Brazil. He had traveled to “the wilds of PA” just to see the northern sky for the first time in his life.

#15 doctordub

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Posted 10 May 2012 - 10:42 AM

It was my first NEAF as well and I only had to drive about 40 min to attend. I had an excellent time as I had stated in the other thread discussing disappointment with the forum. I hope my schedule allows me to attend next year.

CS
Jonathan






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