Saturday morning program
|Richard Sanderson: The Conjunction at 25.
Richard presented a great slide-show retrospective on the 25-year
history of the Conjunction. Were you there in the early
days? If so, you probably saw yourself in some of Richard's
slides! Click on the thumbnails below to see full-size images
Megas at first Conjunction, 1982
Hawn (center) was our chef and bottle-washer at the first
Conjunction. We dedicated the 2007 Conjunction to
Russ, who passed away in 2006.
Ron Woodland at an early Conjunction
of us early Conjunction attendees fondly remember Jack Welch
and his 1960s VW camper.
early audience members. Phil Harrington is seated in
Dave Kelly (left) and the late Dick Gerry look at one of
Dave's great homemade telescopes, circa 1984.
Bohemier, an active member of the Springfield (MA) STARS
Club, did a morning presentation on observing back in 1988.
Rudenko (left) shows us and Dan Green how many comets he had
discovered up to that point. Mike's 3rd discovery came
just the day before the Conjunction that year.
Gallup goes spelunking at America's Stonehenge, one of our
Sunday field trips.
of our coordinators: Dave Gallup (left), Phil Harrington
(center), and Jack Megas (right) in 1992.
|Carl Lancaster: The Lancaster Observatory.
Carl detailed the design, construction, and function of his
automated backyard observatory. With a push of a button(s),
Carl can open his observatory, initial his computerized telescope,
and begin CCD imaging without ever leaving his upstairs
office. Sounds just like a professional astronomer -- he never
has to look at the sky! :-)
|Jack Megas: Who Are Those Guys?
Jack interviewed Phil Harrington and Richard Sanderson about
their new book The Illustrated Timeline of the Universe as
well as the 4th edition of Phil's book Star Ware, which just
came out in April. What inspired them to write the book?
Why did Richard have to write 80% of the contents? These and
other thought-provoking questions were answered in this lighthearted
Saturday afternoon program
afternoon program got underway at 1 PM with three of our best
Briggs: The Adventures and
Confessions of a Large Telescope Collector
- John gave an excellent presentation
on some of the antique telescopes that he owns, as well as
some confessions on how he came into their possession.
Just don't buy a used car from this man! Seriously,
John's presentation was both educational and entertaining,
and wonderfully illustrated by several small refractors that
he brought along for show and tell.
- John is well known as
an expert in observatory instrumentation and
engineering. Johnís experience with telescopes and
observatories spans nearly three decades and extends over
the globe. Before the age of 20, as an employee of Wesleyan
University, John was selected for deployment as a visiting
observer for objective prism spectroscopy with a 1-meter
Schmidt camera at the remote Venezuelan National
Observatory. Afterwards he joined the staff of Sky &
Telescope magazine and was promoted to assistant editor. His
employment history features astronomical work at Maria
Mitchell, Van Vleck, Chamberlin, Harvard College, Apache
Point, and National Solar observatories, including a year in
residence at Mount Wilson and a 1994 winter-over at Amundsen-Scott
South Pole Station.
Peter Schultz, Brown University:
Digging a Comet: Results from the Deep Impact Mission
- As you know if you attended
the 2004 Conjunction, Peter Schultz is a dynamic speaker who
is passionate about his role in the Deep Impact
mission to Comet Tempel 1. In his previous appearance
with us, Peter told us of things to come. Now, he
returned to tell us of things that occurred and how the
successful 2005 mission unlocked many surprises about the
comet. The surface of comet Tempel
1, hit by NASA's Deep Impact space probe during a
spectacular July 4, 2005, experiment, bears evidence of
impact craters, suggesting that the comet has collided with
asteroids or other space travelers in its journeys around
"This comet is a geologic wonder," says Schultz, a
co-investigator on the mission team. "There are smooth
surfaces, filled-in craters, ridges, cliffs. Tempel 1 also
features an area marked by innumerable bumps and valleys.
This all suggests a long history of evolution."
You can read the mission's findings on NASA's Deep
Impact web site.
Andrewes: A History of
2004, we also invited Dava Sobel to give a fascinating
account about her book Longitude. Continuing that
theme during Conjunction 2007, we had William
Andrewes, creator of the Longitude
Dial and her co-author for the book The
Illustrated Longitude. The editor for The
Quest for Longitude , William makes exquisite
time-measuring instruments for a wide variety of customers,
both institutional and individual consumers. You can
see his amazing work on his web
William was born and
educated in England. He trained as a clockmaker and
designer, graduating from Kingston College of Art in 1972.
During his career in the history of time measurement, he has
worked at Eton College (1973-1977), the Old Royal
Observatory and National Maritime Museum (1974-1977), The
Time Museum (1977-1987), and Harvard University, where he
was the David P. Wheatland Curator of the Collection of
Historical Scientific Instruments (1987-1999).
Saturday evening program
McGonagle, PhD: Science and Religion: Two
Sides of the Same Coin
- A favorite son of the Conjunction,
Father Doug McGonagle returned on his birthday to present
a thought-provoking evening talk with the premise that,
unlike much popular thought, science and religion
are not at odds with each other. Rather, they can work
with one another to give each further meaning.
Regardless of your personal persuasion, Fr. Doug's talk
gave you much food for thought and reflection.
(What's with the gorilla? In honor of Fr. Doug's
birthday on the day of the Conjunction, he received a
surprise visitor, who presented him with a birthday
balloon bouquet, to the delight of the audience.)
- While pursuing his
undergraduate degree in astronomy at the University of
Massachusetts in Amherst, Fr. Doug was one of the
founding members of the Amherst Area Amateur
Astronomersí Association and served as its president
for several years. He received his PhD from the
University of Massachusetts in 1995 and specializes in
radio observation of nitrogen-bearing molecules in
space. After working on the Large Millimeter-Wave
Telescope Project as a post-doctoral fellow, Fr. Doug
entered the Pope John XXIII National Seminary, where
he received his Masters of Divinity and was ordained a
Roman Catholic priest in June of 2000. He is currently
Director of the Newman
Catholic Center at the University of