August 18-20, 2006
held at the
NORTHFIELD MOUNTAIN RECREATION AND ENVIRONMENTAL CENTER
|The Conjunction kicked off with dinner at the Smokiní Hippo, a family restaurant and barbecue, on Route 2 in Erving, MA at 6:30 PM.|
|After dinner, we went to the Northfield Mountain Environmental Center to enjoy what proved to be the only clear night of the weekend. Although the sky was about average transparency, the lack of mosquitoes and dew, thanks to a slight breeze, made it memorable, as these three shots try to capture!|
Saturday Morning Program
morning featured a roundtable discussion on Stargazing Through a Small Telescope.
Our distinguished panelists included Sue and Alan French, Glenn
Chaple, John Davis, and Phil Harrington.
John prepared some great handouts that detailed many asterisms visible throughout the year using binoculars and small telescopes. If you did not get a copy, but would like one, click here.
Saturday Afternoon Program
|"ASTROPHOTOGRAPHY UNDER ADVERSITY" by Dr. Ruben Kier.
Dr Kier (http://www.stardoctor.org),
an expert CCD astro-photographer, spoke about the challenges of
celestial photography under the light-polluted skies of
|"ADVENTURES IN ASTRONOMY" by Susan French, expert observer, planetarium educator, columnist for "Sky & Telescope" magazine, and author of the recent book Celestial Sampler. Jack Megas interviewed Sue ala Larry King-style by asking her some interesting and provocative questions about her life, the world of astronomy, and the experience of writing a book.|
|"WAR OF THE WORLDS: A DEBATE OVER THE PLANETARY STATUS OF PLUTO." Timing couldn't have been better, given the IAU's decision to demote Pluto to dwarf planet that same week! Panelists Mike Kozicki and Rich Sanderson battled Kevin Kopchynski and Jack Megas over whether Pluto, as well as recently discovered 2003UB313, should be categorized as planets. The debate touched on a variety of topics, including the definitions of the terms "major planet" versus "dwarf planet," public input in scientific decision-making, the history and philosophy of science, and the mechanics of the English language.|
Saturday Evening Program: The Low Surface Brightness Universe
Schneider gave a fascinating presentation on his research into low surface brightness
(and possibly no surface brightness) objects.
He is investigating the amount of mass present in a wide
variety of objects, including planetary nebulae, galaxies, and
clusters of galaxies, and whether the human bias toward visible
wavelengths of light encourages astronomers to overlook certain
classes of objects. Dr.
Schneider has participated in surveys that have detected many
previously uncataloged objects, including giant dim galaxies, nearby
faint dwarf galaxies, and peculiar objects that defy easy
research has been carried out at a variety of observatories,
including the Five College Radio Astronomy Observatory, the