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NEAF 2021 Virtual Event

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#26 George N

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Posted 11 April 2021 - 12:11 PM

I enjoyed the talks but the audio ranged from super quiet to loud and that was in the same presentation. Wish they had spent some time doing some audio post processing since these were all pre-recorded. 

 

Looking forward to being at NEAF and NEAIC in person next year!

Well -- I'm thinking they did the best they could under the circumstances - remembering that NEAF is run by volunteer members of a smallish astronomy club located in the "Covid Capital of New York" - a place already experiencing an outbreak of Measles when covid hit. Over the last 30 years some of the club members have developed an expertise in runing the on-site event -- built on taking a small local event to the world stage - but I don't think they have much experience with 'live stream events'.

 

I'm looking forward to in-person NEAF/NEAIC in 2022 too!


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#27 George N

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Posted 11 April 2021 - 12:26 PM

Here's to next year - in person!

 

Another set of 'losers' in this "virtual environment" was (despite the click-thru adds) the clubs and groups that normally set up Booths to advertize, fund raise, and sign-up visitors. I'm thinking of the Northeast 'public observatories' and star parties like Cherry Springs, Black Forest, and Stellafane - who often sell out their last spots at NEAF - or see more visitors to their sites thanks to their NEAF Booth. it also impacted groups like the the International Dark-Sky Association -- who always have sucess with fund raising and member sign-up thanks to their NEAF Booths.

 

Plus -- I aways enjoyed attending the 'pro/am workshops' discussing "citizen science" activities - they were always full to capacity.



#28 John Fitzgerald

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Posted 11 April 2021 - 12:32 PM

Just saying.....

With most events being forced to go virtual, or cancel, it was proven in 2020 and this year that virtual can be viable. 

 

 I used to go to a lot of "software user group" meetings.  I think a lot of them will be virtual from now on, with the high cost of travel, hotel rooms, meeting halls, food, time away from work for travel, etc.  May not apply so much to events that are more hands on, IDK.   



#29 Napp

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Posted 11 April 2021 - 12:36 PM

The comments that some expressed that they wished the talks were more "astronomy" and less "aerospace" are probably valid.  However, Mercury/Gemini and Apollo were during my childhood.  I also worked on the Space Shuttle program at the Kennedy Space Center early in my career.  Getting to again hear astronauts from that time was wonderful for me. 

 

I am looking forward to next year and attending in person.  I've never been to NEAF and want to go at least once.  I think there is a pent up demand for in person events that will drive attendance once we are past the pandemic.



#30 galaxyman

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Posted 11 April 2021 - 03:21 PM

?????

 

That's not the announced plan.

 

It may be easier to do 'virtual' -- but -- I saw like far less than 400 people streaming the event when I was watching - a far cry from the thousands who normally attend in person, ( plus those who still only watched on-line) - and I bet it was a lot less "valuable" to the vendors/makers as the "world-wide astro-product show" - no sales, no big 'splash' to present new products, no 'excitement', no big adds in the astro magizines, no "free party" for the vendors put on by Sky & Tel in the evening -- no chance to 'rub sholders' with the 'famous' or long-lost friends, no money going to the locals for hotels, security, meals, etc -- no NEAIC - always a big $$ draw...... for the hotel and vendors. Another big draw of NEAF -- it was a chance for vendors/makers to compare notes in person - and meet the users in person. I remember iOptron asking me to 'sit in the back' for a short discussion because "this is the one place we get to meet our customers in person and discuss needs." I can also remember eating with, or having an evening beer with, some of the 'biggies' in the industry - plus friends from Europe, etc - not anything like the 'talking head virtual experience'.

 

The future of NEAF will depend on the future of covid -- like just about every big in-person event in the world. Otherwise - despite all the competition ( mostly failed ) and predictions that vendors would not come, and people would not come -- 2019 was the biggest ever -- and NEAIC 2019 sold out well in advance. Now we just need to wait and see what happens with covid before predicting the end of NEAF.

I've been to every one of them since it's very humble beginning, and always look forward every Spring to head to the event. I hope in 2022 I will be seeing NEAF in person again!


Karl

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#31 George N

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Posted 12 April 2021 - 11:19 AM

The comments that some expressed that they wished the talks were more "astronomy" and less "aerospace" are probably valid.  However, Mercury/Gemini and Apollo were during my childhood.  I also worked on the Space Shuttle program at the Kennedy Space Center early in my career.  Getting to again hear astronauts from that time was wonderful for me. 

 

I am looking forward to next year and attending in person.  I've never been to NEAF and want to go at least once.  I think there is a pent up demand for in person events that will drive attendance once we are past the pandemic.

I too 'grew up' with Mercury/Gemini/Apollo - and enjoyed the discussions by the old moon guys - and they won't be with us that much longer. I loved meeting Alan Bean the year he talked at Stellafane. He spent one afternoon sitting under a tree selling copies of his lunar painting books - and talking to anyone who stopped by. Alas, he is now gone on that final big mission in the sky.

 

Astromnauts - especially 'moon walkers' - and 'space program' stuff is always popular with the "general public" - which is a part of NEAF's "audiance". Refering to Bean at Stellafane - that year they had a huge number of 'locals' who just came for his presentation - buying a day ticket at the entrance.

 

Also -- I think of New Horizons and Pluto as "Astronomy" - and Alan Stern from that program is always a captivating speaker. The year he talked at Stellafane - it was a stormy/rainy night - so he stayed around another 2 hours - til about midnight - answering questions and talking to people - while handing out 'NASA swag' - mostly to kids. He's done a good job at NEAF in the past too.

 

What was partly missing this year - NEAF's kind of 'secondary' lecture area on the main floor, which often features speakers talking "backyard astronomy equipment" -- plus NEAF's "pro/am program" - a classroom with presentations on 'hands-on citizen science' - often featuring both astronomy prof's and 'science' movitated amateurs discussing how to collect data, etc. These are first-come - first-served - and always filled to capacity.


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#32 Dan Crowson

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Posted 12 April 2021 - 11:37 AM

I don't remember seeing the Camera Concepts discount mentioned in a few posts? Where was this?



#33 skybsd

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Posted 12 April 2021 - 12:22 PM

I don't remember seeing the Camera Concepts discount mentioned in a few posts? Where was this?

First occurrence., 

 

skybsd 



#34 Dan Crowson

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Posted 12 April 2021 - 07:16 PM

First occurrence., 
 
skybsd


I know it was mentioned in these posts but I don't see where it was mentioned with the NEAF stuff. Looking at their site, I don't see any special pricing as others have mentioned.

Dan



#35 bunyon

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Posted 12 April 2021 - 08:05 PM

I disagree that we learned this year that “virtual” works. It works for some things and for those things, yes, virtual is the future. But we also learned it doesn’t work for a lot of things. A virtual event with low attendance and sales won’t survive any more than a live event with low numbers would.

Organizers have to decide if their virtual event “worked”. Just holding it isn’t enough to proclaim that.
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#36 George N

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Posted 13 April 2021 - 12:05 PM

I know it was mentioned in these posts but I don't see where it was mentioned with the NEAF stuff. Looking at their site, I don't see any special pricing as others have mentioned.

Dan

Give 'um a call and ask..... they can only say 'yes' or 'no'.



#37 kreegan99

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Posted 16 April 2021 - 07:39 AM

I disagree that we learned this year that “virtual” works. It works for some things and for those things, yes, virtual is the future. But we also learned it doesn’t work for a lot of things. A virtual event with low attendance and sales won’t survive any more than a live event with low numbers would.

Organizers have to decide if their virtual event “worked”. Just holding it isn’t enough to proclaim that.

Yeah, I agree with you on this.  Some things can work really well virtual.  For example, me winning the raffle worked REALLY well!  Ha! wink.gif   The streamed talks were great, and I had a lot of fun on the Youtube Live Chat.  It was nice to see names there that I haven't seen in two years.

 

But MANY things did  not.  I wasn't able to spend the weekend with my KAS buddies like George N.  I wasn't able to meet and hang out with those astronomy friends that I only see at events like these.  I wasn't able to score face time with the wonderful space enthusiast friends that attend NEAF for the sole reason of getting together. I wasn't able to attend "how to" discussions on topics like astrophotography.  I wasn't able to bicker with HighPoint Scientific over the price of an item. grin.gif  I wasn't able to ask questions to the innovative and creative vendors who make all of these amazing products.  I wasn't able to discuss some of my mechanical challenges with Anthony from ADM.  I wasn't able to drool on some wonderful telescope at the Stellarvue booth. 

 

Like George said too, it is one thing to watch a "Moon Walker" on YouTube, it is entirely a different experience to shake a "Moon Walker's" hand, and share a few minutes.  Loved seeing Alan Stern, he is a favorite of mine, and an inspiration to me.  So great to see him virtually, BUT he is very approachable and just an all out interesting guy to have a personal chat with.

 

And all the traditional stuff that goes with NEAF and NEAIC - like a wonderful attack on the heart at the Airmont Diner, a fantastic bagel sandwich at Bagel Boys Cafe or sharing a beer with astronomers and astrophotographers at the Crown Plaza hotel bar.

 

I really miss NEAF and NEAIC, and I for one cannot wait to get back to them!  waytogo.gif



#38 GUNER

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Posted 16 April 2021 - 08:13 AM

It's much easier and way less logistics involved to put on a virtual event.  My take is that it will remain virtual.

I could almost guarantee that NEAF will not remain virtual.  RAC counts on income from NEAF for a large part of their operating budget.  I watched the virtual event,which was free, but even if the had charged the highest view count I saw was around 350.  I'm pretty sure the 2 day live event brings in more then 350 paying people.  Plus the fees from the vendors for booths.  There is also the networking aspect thing.  They will return to a live event as soon as they can. I think they would have done it this year but couldn't because of the restrictions placed on them by the state or the college.


Edited by GUNER, 16 April 2021 - 08:14 AM.

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