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RTMC bites the dust

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#1 Steve Dodds

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Posted 13 October 2019 - 04:17 PM

Just got word from the people who run RTMC that 2019 was the last year, apparently moving it to September wasn't a good idea.


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#2 GilATM

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Posted 13 October 2019 - 06:33 PM

http://rtmcastronomyexpo.org/

I have many fond memories of attending RTMC with my family. I will miss it.
Gil
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#3 Codbear

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Posted 13 October 2019 - 07:33 PM

That is truly sad. 

 

I only went once - in 1976 when I was 17. There were so many "firsts" it's hard to name them.

 

The first time I went to a truly dark site.To this day, I have never been to a darker sight than at that RTMC. This was well before LP started to intrude. I could see down to 7th magnitude.

 

First time I took a panorama of the Milky Way. It was 10 minutes and I did manual off-axis guiding of the camera.

 

First time I had my picture in S&T. The second time was when S&T did a spread for the 50th RTMC. They reprinted a picture from the September, 1976 issue but left it uncropped - and there I was in line to look through a Celestron 8 at the sun with hydrogen Alpha - another first!

 

The first time I ever saw Pluto.

 

The first (and last) time I fasted for 4 days - the entire length of the conference. Don't ask why...I was 17! Lol. But the stack of pancakes at iHop once we got down from the mountains was amazing.

 

While I was used to seeing John Dobson (as part of the San Francisco Sidewalk Astronomers, as well as taking a cosmology class and a telescope making class from him) it was a real treat for a teenager to see Ben Mayer, who had accidentally filmed the nova bursting forth in Cygna in September of 1975 and had become a celebrity and had his picture spread across everything that was astronomy.

 

The first time I attended lectures on astronomical subjects.

 

It was 43 years ago but I can remember those 4 days as if it just happened...a very fond farewell.

 

Sam


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#4 gnabgib

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Posted 13 October 2019 - 08:27 PM

I am very saddened to hear this news.  For 30 years I attended the RTMC conference.  I learned most of my telescope making skills from the attendees to this event.  Also made life long friends many of whom I only saw during the conference.  Witnessed new technologies emerge there as well as incredible craftsmanship!  The RTMC weekend was one of the highlights of every year I attended.  I will forever be grateful to all who shared their knowledge and helped promote our hobby of telescope making.  Some of the magic has gone out of the universe.

 

RIP  RTMC

 

Kevin Medlock


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#5 Darren Bly

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Posted 13 October 2019 - 09:12 PM

I went to 23 RTMC's and enjoyed every one.
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#6 GilATM

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Posted 13 October 2019 - 11:20 PM

a side story:

 

My son said "Out back!   Stir the pot! " at a science lab group meeting at what seemed an appropriate time, but which he then realized would only be understood by someone who had attended RTMC.   His attempt to explain the reference also fell flat.  Luckily, he found that amusing.

 

I'm glad he experienced the camaraderie of amateur astronomers that was present at RTMC.   

 

Gil


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#7 tim53

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Posted 14 October 2019 - 12:10 AM

The move to September was apparently because other groups interested in renting Camp Oakes had more resources to afford it over Memorial Day weekend.

 

I hope that someone else local takes up the mantle of telescope making as a theme.  There were several merit awards given this year (most were refractors!), so ATMing is still alive and well in southern California.

 

-Tim.


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#8 George N

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Posted 14 October 2019 - 11:19 AM

Sad in deed!

 

Let's hope it gets resurrected in some form.


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#9 Tony Flanders

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Posted 14 October 2019 - 05:53 PM

I find this very sad on many levels. I have very fond memories of attending RTMC. What a glorious location for a star party!


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#10 epenna

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Posted 14 October 2019 - 07:03 PM

I attended the RTMC once, and it was a great experience. I met wonderful people, especially Tom O, maker of scopes and platforms. I had the dumb luck to camp next to him. Someday I'll commission my dream scope from Tom. 

 

That was the year of the terrible windstorm --  and I remember sleeping in a shelter, in my bag, and being woken up by the howling wind throughout the night. My equipment was safe in my car, thanks to the warning the RTMC organizers gave. 

 

But the first night had excellent conditions, and I wrote a list of observed objects in a notebook, many of which I have not seen since. 

 

I also remember seeing Mr. M. White(?) With his slow 8" refractor... what a tube! I did not get to look through it, because I was too busy looking through my 10" dob.  But I had read about him on Sky and Telescope, and in online forums, and I felt like I was sighting a celebrity.

 

Robert Neave(?), former editor of S&T gave a talk that year.  I cleaned up at the swap and shop.

 

If I can find a photo, I'll upload it. 

 

Sad to see RTMC go. 

E


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#11 Diana N

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Posted 14 October 2019 - 07:22 PM

I never had the good fortune to attend RTMC, but this news still makes me sad.  When a decades-old star party comes to an end, it feels like a death in the family (particularly when it's one as famous as RTMC).


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#12 Neptune

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Posted 15 October 2019 - 06:56 AM

What sad news. I grew up in NE Ohio, but always read about the RTMC meetings in Sky & Telescope magazine from back in the later 1970's.  I always enjoyed the wide variety of different types of scopes fabricated by the members.


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#13 macdonjh

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Posted 15 October 2019 - 07:55 AM

I'll have to comment as a non-attendee.  It always makes me sad, though, to hear about gatherings of do-it-yourselfers going by the wayside.  Two trends I don't like are the trend toward disposable items and the trend away from being capable of doing things for yourself.  

 

I know it wasn't within the scope of RTMC, but several of my friends and I sure had a lot of fun comparing notes and working side-by-side while we built our observatories.  There is a lot of satisfaction to be had in building or crafting something your self. 


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#14 mr70inch

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Posted 15 October 2019 - 12:04 PM

So sad....however, Jeff Schroeder’s 11 inch refractor...a la Volvo...was a show stopper! As it turned out, a very befitting “swan song” for R.T.M.C. 

R.T.M.C........R.I.P.      


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#15 Codbear

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Posted 15 October 2019 - 02:43 PM

So sad....however, Jeff Schroeder’s 11 inch refractor...a la Volvo...was a show stopper! As it turned out, a very befitting “swan song” for R.T.M.C. 

R.T.M.C........R.I.P.      

You said a fitting "swan song". Did he come up with his refractor this last year? In my post I should have mentioned that 1976 was the first year Jeff came to RTMC with his refractor. I remember lying on the ground looking through it. Astounding workmanship. 

 

On the last day of the convention, I nervously approached Jeff about how I could make an OTA for my " f/10 Jaegers objective. Being the good guy he is, he did it for me as a favor and shipped it up to me. It took a few years, but I finally did finish that refractor.


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#16 mr70inch

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Posted 15 October 2019 - 04:07 PM

You said a fitting "swan song". Did he come up with his refractor this last year? In my post I should have mentioned that 1976 was the first year Jeff came to RTMC with his refractor. I remember lying on the ground looking through it. Astounding workmanship. 

 

On the last day of the convention, I nervously approached Jeff about how I could make an OTA for my " f/10 Jaegers objective. Being the good guy he is, he did it for me as a favor and shipped it up to me. It took a few years, but I finally did finish that refractor.

Yes, I too, remember crawling under it when pointed overhead when he had it on that huge pier/ tripod......But yea, he showed up this last RTMC 2019....and like faithful disciples, we followed his trusty Volvo down to the grassy field, near the lake, and we were graciously rewarded with excellent views!


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#17 mr70inch

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Posted 15 October 2019 - 04:31 PM

I am very saddened to hear this news.  For 30 years I attended the RTMC conference.  I learned most of my telescope making skills from the attendees to this event.  Also made life long friends many of whom I only saw during the conference.  Witnessed new technologies emerge there as well as incredible craftsmanship!  The RTMC weekend was one of the highlights of every year I attended.  I will forever be grateful to all who shared their knowledge and helped promote our hobby of telescope making.  Some of the magic has gone out of the universe.

 

RIP  RTMC

 

Kevin Medlock

Hi Kevin, I remember visiting your booth about Group 70, and being so blown away by how awesome it would be for amateurs to build 70 inch telescopes! Thank you for the inspiration! 


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#18 mr70inch

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Posted 15 October 2019 - 04:37 PM

So sad...I feel with the demise of RTMC, I have been punched in the gut. Thank you for all who were involved, and contributed to this outstanding event....


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#19 Neptune

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Posted 15 October 2019 - 08:24 PM

Let's hope this trend DOES NOT continue.  What's next no more Stellafane?


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#20 Retsub

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Posted 15 October 2019 - 11:38 PM

We went to RTMC several years ago, also stopped at Paul Jones optical shop, Coulter Telescopes, Ed Byers shop. Instead of reading the magazines and looking, going to these places was like being inside the magazine. *BW*

"It takes time for a star to be born and some die too quickly,
Barbara was my star". RIP/BMW 9-24-2019
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#21 Kasmos

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Posted 16 October 2019 - 03:32 AM

It’s been a very long time, but I’d always hoped to attend again.

Memorial day weekend was always bad timing for me so the date change sounded promising.

 

Sad news. frown.gif


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#22 Chuck Hards

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Posted 16 October 2019 - 09:42 AM

Just got word from the people who run RTMC that 2019 was the last year, apparently moving it to September wasn't a good idea.

I would "like" this post, Steve, but it's just too sad.

 

The world we knew is gone.


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#23 mr70inch

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Posted 16 October 2019 - 09:50 AM

I would "like" this post, Steve, but it's just too sad.

 

The world we knew is gone.

Hi Chuck....yes, I am in a state of bereavement.....like losing an old friend...


Edited by mr70inch, 16 October 2019 - 09:52 AM.

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#24 Chuck Hards

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Posted 16 October 2019 - 09:52 AM

Mike, I didn't believe it but it's on the RTMC website.  bawling.gif



#25 tim53

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Posted 16 October 2019 - 09:57 AM

I will admit that every year I've gone, I would sit in the mess hall and read all the camp signs on the walls, marvel at the laminated beams holding up the roof, and take some pride that I never missed one since my first in 1979.


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