From Kopernik Observatory & Science Center:
Astrofest is an annual Star Party at Kopernik that features extraordinary speakers and night sky observing. Join the Kopernik Astronomical Society at the 39th Annual AstroFest. Enjoy astronomy workshops, talks, exhibits, demonstrations, and solar and nighttime observing. Check out the detailed schedule of the event below!
Doors open at 7 PM and the program will begin at 7:30. After the programs, if skies permit, you are invited to view the night sky through Kopernik’s telescopes. See Jupiter, Saturn, and a multitude of deep-sky objects such as the Andromeda Galaxy, Ring Nebula, and the Globular star cluster in Hercules! The moon will be coming up late so we should also get a good look at the Milky Way.
While inside Kopernik’s main building, masks are required regardless of vaccination status.
For those unable to join us in person, Kopernik plans to livestream this program on our YouTube channel. Kopernik’s Friday Night Livestreams (FNLs) have become very popular as they are both entertaining and educational. We have over 2500 subscribers to our YouTube channel and they are from literally around the world. Through the chat, you can ask questions directly to the presenter.
If you are not already subscribed to the Kopernik YouTube Channel, click on the subscribe link to get yourself connected.
Friday – September 10
7:00 Doors open to the public, facility tours, view and photograph a Moon Rock, on loan from NASA,
7:30 Welcome to AstroFest 2021 – Drew Deskur, Executive DirectorKopernik Observatory & Science Center
George’s Best Images, a Video Slide Show – most captured right here at Kopernik Observatory! – George Normandin, KAS President
8:30 Meteorites presented by Patrick Manley, KAS (Kopernik Astronomical Society)
After the program: Night Sky Viewing – in the Domes and in the Yard, Night Sky Laser Tours, “Learner’s Land” – bring your scope and set it up with help from the KAS and Kopernik staff, hot beverages and snacks available, bathrooms and domes open all night, Lobby closes at Midnight
Saturday – September 11
7:30 – 9:00 AM Coffee, tea, hot chocolate, juice, donuts available in Lobby
9 AM – all day Vendors in Physics Lab, Dark Sky Exhibit, Facility ToursView and photograph a Moon Rock, on loan from NASA
10:00 Brief Remembrance of the Lives Lost 20 years ago during 9/11/2001
10:00 AM – 5:00 PM Solar Viewing in the Yard (H-Alpha and white light), in the Domes (Herschel Wedge on 6” Astro Physics Refractor, and with the Heliostat, Refractor, dedicated to the memory of the “Legendary Barlow Bob” Godfrey in 2014, in the Physics Lab)
10:00 – 11:00 Show and Tell Meteorites – Patrick Manley, KAS
11:00 – 11:55 A new generation updates the classic Dob –The technologies and techniques used to make telescopes cheaper, more capable, and more portable than ever before including 3D printing, DIY interferometry, sub-f/4 mirrors, spray silvering, and cellular/meniscus mirror blanks will be discussed. With the implementation of these methods, Zane hopes to usher in a new generation of portable, affordable and practical large Dobsonian telescopes for visual observing and outreach. Presented by Zane Landers, University of Connecticut.
12:00 – 12:55 ICE to OCEAN, The search for life among the Ocean World Moons of the Solar System – As humanity has sent probes into the Solar System, we have discovered icy moon water worlds in Saturn’s Enceladus and Jupiter’s Europa. The NASA mantra in searching for life, just follow the water. Now humanity has two water world targets to explore. The first, and closer, will be Jupiter’s moon Europa via the NASA mission Europa Clipper. Then, some day we may also journey to Saturn’s moon Enceladus for a peek under its icy surface crust via the NASA mission Enceladus Life Finder. Both missions will be presented. Presented by Keith Werkman, PhD, KAS.
1:00 – 2:00 Astronomy Clubs Roundtable DiscussionsLunch and Musical Entertainment by Robert Siegers
2:00 – 5:00 Swap Meet – buy and sell your treasurers (in vendor’s area), used equipment for sale to raise funds for our new scope.
2:15 – 3:15 Telescope Resolution – A detailed look at the way telescopes form images and what are the limiting factors for image quality and resolution. Discussions of image scale, magnification, Airy disc size, focal lengths, and focal ratios. Useful info for both visual observing and imaging. Presented by Robert Piekiel, followed by Q & A and book signing.
3:30 – 4:45 Where are the aliens? – While it seems a safe assumption that Earth is not the only place in the whole cosmos with life, the question of how common or rare it is, and how often it evolves into beings such as ourselves, are impossible to answer . . . for now. We’ll play with some exercises in philosophy and basic math to explore how we would even answer such questions, exploring the Fermi Paradox and using Fermi Problems to understand the Drake Equation. Presented by Zoe Learner Ponterio, Manager, SPIF (Spacecraft Planetary Image Facility), Cornell University.
5:00 – 5:45 KAS Report on July 2019 trip to the Green Bank National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) – In July 2019 Lew Hecht and his grandson, Jacob, (a recent graduate of Kopernik’s summer programs) visited the Green Bank NRAO, which is in the middle of no place. This tiny town in eastern West Virginia (Green Bank) has the Green Bank NRAO which hosts 8 radio telescopes. This star party had about 120 attendees. Lew’s report includes basic information about radio astronomy and comments about observing at a very dark sky location. Lew will also be telling us a little about Cherry Springs State Park. Presented by Lew Hecht, KAS
6:00 – 7:00 Dinner Break
6:30 Raffle and Door Prize Drawings – you need not be present to win!
7:30 Welcome to AstroFest 2021 – George Normandin, KAS President
8:00 Planning for Astrophotography – Living in the Northeast of the US, and particularly in the Southern Tier of NY, our area is well known for its cloudy skies. When those few nights of clear, dark sky bliss come along, make sure you are ready for your astrophotography. Be organized and prepared and go at it with a plan. This presentation shows some of Patrick’s tips, tricks, and routines he uses get that shot. Presented by Patrick Manley, KAS.
After the program: Night Sky Viewing – in the Domes and in the Yard, Imaging Demo of FLI Camera on 20” OGS RC, Night Sky Laser Tours, hot beverages and snacks available, bathrooms and domes open all night. If cloudy: Automated ZWO Astrophotography Ecosystem Demonstrations and Discussion – Presented by Patrick Manley, KAS. Patrick will setup his GM811 rig, SVX102T, hook up his ZWO gear, and demonstrate the ASIAir device. Movie in Space Science, Lobby closes at Midnight.