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ASAE- Looking Ahead to 2013

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#1 Starhawk

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Posted 14 November 2012 - 09:06 PM

I thought it would be a good idea to start a post of what was good/ ideas for next year's ASAE while it was still fresh in people's minds. Remember, this is intended to be constructive/ things to do. If there is something you aren't happy about, post about what might be better. And please remember, this was the first time through- we were all learning. Every conference ends up having its own character, and this one is still developing.

-Rich

#2 Joe Cipriano

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Posted 14 November 2012 - 09:31 PM

I'd like to try for a group dinner again (My sincere apologies for not showing Saturday night - I was in bed by 7pm with a fever and sore throat). Depends on scheduling and lunar cycle - if next year's is held on the new moon again, dinner plans will be problematic; a group lunch is always an option.

I DO think the star party tie-in was great, though.

Up to Alan and the TCC's available dates.

Also - we need a group pic next year.

#3 rboe

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Posted 14 November 2012 - 10:12 PM

Some folks may want to do a little tour of AZ after/before the show - including vendors. Apache Trail, Botanical Gardens etc. Something of the southwest that had little to nothing to do with the show or telescopes.

#4 rtomw77

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Posted 15 November 2012 - 04:00 AM

A week end tour of or lecture on the AU mirror lab would be nice.

Tom

#5 Skylook123

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Posted 15 November 2012 - 05:13 AM

I wish the science demos could have been closer to the main vendor area, and some real signs pointing the way.

#6 Tom Polakis

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Posted 15 November 2012 - 12:20 PM

I already communicated my main suggestion to Alan (who was receptive), but here is what I can come up with.


Number one problem was with the speakers. It was a great roster, but there has to be a program handed out that is sorted chronologically and by conference room. On Sunday, I watched none other than Wally Pacholka and Babak Tafreshi speaking at the secondary room with less than a dozen in attendance. That was a travesty, considering how good these talks were. Other than by talking to them personally, there was no way of finding out when they would give their talks.

I only learned through the grapevine that Story Musgrave had canceled on Friday. Nothing was posted, and one of the Meteorite Men was called upon for Sunday's keynote.

To that end, ASAE should have an individual who is dedicated to the speaker program, not in getting them to make the trip, but also properly introducing them, making sure the A/V works, that sort of thing. This person should be somehow compensated for the effort. The speaker schedule for both rooms should be posted at a number of locations, and changes noted in big letters.

I don't think many attendees even know the secondary room existed. Perhaps a solution would be to split that huge room into two with that temporary wall that exists for that purpose. It didn't appear that the large room was ever more than one-third full. The other problem that would be solved by splitting the large room would be that of the lecturer in the middle, and your choice of two widely spaced screens to view. The podium could then be set up next to the screen so we can watch the speaker and the screen at the same time.


A couple smaller suggestions...

Moon phase: if amateur astronomers are really coming here from around the country, then by all means have it on a New Moon weekend in November. If it's mostly people from the Southwest, I wonder if Third Quarter might be a better choice. A number of people from Phoenix shied away from ASAE in favor of observing at their favorite dark site. New Moon weekend is precious time, and some folks (including me) are selfish enough not to want to do public star party duty. Frankly, I was exhausted after so much great stimulation from the conference, and wouldn't have been able to stay up past midnight observing on Saturday night.

Lunch options: There was so much to see that I didn't want to leave the site to search around for restaurants. I had a serviceable deli sandwich in the vendor room. Maybe they can get some concessionaires to show up, particularly with mom-and-pop Mexican food, since this is Tucson, after all. At the very least, include a good map with nearby restaurant suggestions.

Tom

#7 rboe

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Posted 15 November 2012 - 12:28 PM

I'll second the food maps, more vendors (even just a hot dog stand outside) and speaker schedule.

Alan manned the event booth (or someone was always there) so a large monitor with the schedule could be displayed there in real time for folks to check out just like flights at the airport.

#8 rboe

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Posted 15 November 2012 - 12:29 PM

From what I understand; Alan has to take the dates that are open, moon phases would be by shear luck.

#9 Gone caving

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Posted 15 November 2012 - 01:10 PM

I agree with the all the points above....

I am the first to say it was rushed this year. . We will get it right next year for sure... It was the first time for everything Tucson had to offer and throw at us...

All in all it was a great beginning.......Thank you to everyone who attended and supported the event. I will see you next year in a big way......... :jump:

#10 rboe

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Posted 15 November 2012 - 01:34 PM

So much went right that for the most part we are left with nit picking. Now having been to one; there are a few things I'd like to do a wee bit differently. :)

#11 Jay_Bird

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Posted 15 November 2012 - 01:48 PM

The side room that Tom mentioned for some under-attended 'surprise' Sunday talks was the site of the International Dark-Sky Association (IDA) annual meeting and speakers all-day on Saturday.

I also would have missed the stunning slide - music - video show by Babak Tafreshi on Sunday afternoon if my daughter and I hadn't *finally* seen the small easel marker board board with schedule updates beside the raffle desk. I missed Wally's part of that talk Sunday, but will long remember Babak's images!

We were working off a printout of the schedule from the ASAE web site on Friday made before leaving for ASAE, plus the color exhibit map and random speaker list handed out at registration.

Something simple (plain laser printed single page) could be made on site to show all the speaker schedule changes as a supplement, without replacing the color exhibit map. Such a simple printout could even be updated once or twice a day as needed...

Thanks for such a great experience, we enjoyed ASAE and the talks were great!

Please try to coordinate ASAE with IDA again too; they had excellent speakers and work at the heart of this hobby.

The vendors were good to meet as well, to leave ASAE with faces and people to go with several brands or stores.

One last thought about moon phase: for city outreach, if any evening viewing is added near the event for 2013, I think a young 1st quarter moon adds a lot, and complements the daytime solar views.

#12 Shneor

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Posted 16 November 2012 - 02:55 PM

I agree with comments above that third quarter would be best if the date is available. On the other hand, I really liked the TAAA's CAC site. It's very dark with the potential for excellent skies when the weather is suitable. I do think the intensity of the red lights on the rolloff roof observatory need to be reduced, however, and that star charts should be available...or maybe I'll just bring a Pocket Atlas next time. I really appreciated the star party!

I don't have any complaints about how the show was run. I just appreciated that it was there. But coming from the Sacramento area, I just want to note that it costs more to fly from Sac to Tucson than it does from Sac to the East Coast - only Southwest offers 1-stop service, all other airlines require 2 stops (this for a 1.5 hour flight!!).

Thanks for putting on the show!

Clears,
Shneor

#13 rboe

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Posted 16 November 2012 - 03:05 PM

If you need to rent a car anyway, fly into Phoenix and Tucson is only 80-90 minute ride south from the airport. An option anyway.

#14 Chucke

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Posted 16 November 2012 - 04:28 PM

I would have liked to have seen a listing of the speaker's subjects so I could plan which talks I was interested in hearing. Maybe there was such a listing but I couldn't find one. Also, some signs pointing to where activities were occuring. When I first walked in it was not obvious that the vendors were downstairs.

Chuck

#15 okieav8r

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Posted 16 November 2012 - 04:46 PM

I hope that dates for next year will be posted soon so that I can start planning a trip. I was supposed to come this year, but a buddy who was coming with me had to back out at the last minute. We were going to split expenses and driving duties from Oklahoma City. :bawling:

#16 Starhawk

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Posted 17 November 2012 - 12:11 AM

This sounds like a really good idea to me- a lot of people live here for reasons which have nothing to do with astronomy.

If there was some idea of how big a time window there could be, there are some really neat things to be able to set up.

-Rich

Some folks may want to do a little tour of AZ after/before the show - including vendors. Apache Trail, Botanical Gardens etc. Something of the southwest that had little to nothing to do with the show or telescopes.



#17 Starhawk

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Posted 17 November 2012 - 12:32 AM

One large factor to keep in mind is a new conference doesn't come with some tribal knowledge to help get the lay of the land known to all. But finding where people would notice an improvement is definitely helpful.

Having some descriptions of the area and the venue could help. I live in Tucson and went out on walkabout to find a regular lunch since I don't see downtown very often.

I was really amazed by the full-court press of star parties, but there is an issue where having them on conference nights does lead to a significant fatigue factor. I don't have an easy answer for this- it's the finite nature of the human condition.

I've been wondering if there is anything we could do for a "Vendors under the stars" night- again, this isn't trivial, but getting this group close to good skies is the sort of event which begs to find a way to try. Again, I don't have a trivially easy answer for this. It's almost like it could be a longer event. I've been to some star parties which were scheduled for longer. I don't know if the typical attendee (of any sort) can handle 1-2 more days programmed to get some of the extracurricular events on the schedule at a livable pace.

In that vein, the number of possibilities is a challenge- only so many places we can be at once. Alan mentioned this was put together with 4 months notice.

-Rich

#18 fnowat

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Posted 17 November 2012 - 01:52 AM

Reading all of this... I wonder if the "planners" can offer a posting/blog on the designated website of car pooling/transportation sharing? Then maybe the west-coasters can pool it, or they can meet up at Phoenix/Vegas then share the ride (my wife and I knew the flights were ugly into Tucson so we just had more chances getting into Phoenix and taking the Shuttle from there- but next time car rental=freedom).

Better signage or even over-head announcements of the next speaker and where that speaker would be. We were concentrating on the vendors and missed so much of the presentations upstairs.

Over-all I thought it was successful! But also maybe asking the vendors what they thought of it. We the general public need the vendors to come back and/or bringing more or new vendors next time.

Good luck to all,
Frank

#19 Joe Cipriano

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Posted 17 November 2012 - 01:52 AM

We have no idea what weekend this will be scheduled for, so this is wishful thinking at best. First quarter moon is Sunday, 10Nov, which would make for some nice terminator/crater views on the 9th for some sidewalk astronomy in the TCC parking lot. Uranus & Neptune will both be favorably positioned (although Neptune will be fairly close to the moon), and Jupiter should be high enough by midnight (if anyone's hanging around by that time). With the moon setting around 2300-0000 that weekend, any star parties would necessarily start a bit late, so dinner gatherings could be set at a reasonable hour.

New moon is the 3rd (first sunday in Nov), full moon is the 17th, and last quarter the 25th.

#20 Joe Cipriano

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Posted 17 November 2012 - 01:56 AM

...But also maybe asking the vendors what they thought of it. We the general public need the vendors to come back and/or bringing more or new vendors next time.

Good luck to all,
Frank


Every vendor I spoke with was happy with the event, and stated emphatically that they would be there next year. Several have stated that fact in the main ASAE thread.

#21 Starhawk

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Posted 17 November 2012 - 03:31 PM

Joe,

I asked a couple and they appeared quite happy. Sergei, Yuri's son, indicated they were quite surprised; they seemed to feel they had really good engagement with the user community at this conference. It's not a secret there's a veritable observatory field in this part of the country, so that may mean this is an inherently good spot to find the observers.

I have a suggestion which really conflicts with my nature- stride. Try and not do everything in one year if we have tours or such beforehand. So, if we get a list of items together, we can draw from it and do different things so people coming to ASAE for several years would have different experiences every year:

Near To Town

Old Tucson Studios
The Desert Museum
The International Wildlife Museum
Biosphere 2
Mount Lemmon Sky Center
University of Arizona Mirror Lab
Pima Air and Space Museum
Davis Monthan Boneyards
Tucson Botanical Gardens
Colossal Cave

Out of Town

Kitt Peak National Observatory
Whipple Observatory/ MMT
Titan Missile Museum
Chiricahua National Monument
Cochise Stronghold
Portal/ Jack Newton Sky Village

Some of these clearly are all-day events, while others are nearby, so there isn't a big time commitment. Likewise with some being obviously related to astronomy and others being quite diverse.

Thoughts?

-Rich

#22 Shneor

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Posted 17 November 2012 - 04:33 PM

If you need to rent a car anyway, fly into Phoenix and Tucson is only 80-90 minute ride south from the airport. An option anyway.

That's what I wanted to do...wife nixed it.
Clears,

#23 rboe

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Posted 17 November 2012 - 08:14 PM

:shakecane:

#24 Vince Tramazzo

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Posted 17 November 2012 - 09:01 PM

One thing to take in consideration, when planning next years ASAE. This weekend is the El Tour De Tucson bicycle race. With several thousand riders, this could be a traffic problem. Last year over nine thousand cyclist entered the all day race.

#25 Joe Cipriano

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Posted 17 November 2012 - 10:29 PM

One thing to take in consideration, when planning next years ASAE. This weekend is the El Tour De Tucson bicycle race. With several thousand riders, this could be a traffic problem. Last year over nine thousand cyclist entered the all day race.


Any idea if El Tour has a date set for next year? Alan would probably want to take that into account.
With the relative dearth of hotels in the TCC area, driving is an issue.






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