Reliving the 24th annual

August 18-20, 2006

held at the




Click on the thumbnail images below to see full-size photos

Friday Evening

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. 06-6512.jpg (152665 bytes)
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! 06-6548.jpg (193100 bytes)  06-6547.jpg (158751 bytes)

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Saturday Morning Program

Saturday morning featured a roundtable discussion on Stargazing Through a Small TelescopeOur 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.

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Saturday Afternoon Program

"ASTROPHOTOGRAPHY UNDER ADVERSITY" by Dr. Ruben Kier.  Dr Kier (, an expert CCD astro-photographer, spoke about the challenges of celestial photography under the light-polluted skies of Trumbull, Connecticut.  He discussed how to use Adobe Photoshop, Maxim DL, and Russell Croman's Gradient X Terminator for Adobe Photoshop to get some amazing photographic results under less than ideal conditions.  After, he showed the progress he has made constructing an observatory in the Berkshires. 06-442.jpg (100727 bytes)
"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. 06-445.jpg (103776 bytes)  06-446.jpg (86254 bytes)
"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.  06-453.jpg (87010 bytes)

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Saturday Evening Program: The Low Surface Brightness Universe

Dr. Stephen E. Schneider, University of Massachusetts

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Dr. 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 classification.  His research has been carried out at a variety of observatories, including the Five College Radio Astronomy Observatory, the Arecibo radio telescope in Puerto Rico, Kitt Peak, and New Mexico's Very Large Array.

2006 Conjunction photo album

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