Arrived in Chester Vermont, a couple of days before Stellarfane. Coming to Chester was like stepping back 40 years in time. People here don't lock doors and leave keys in the car, a lot of the time.
I stayed at the Inn Victoria and that was also like stepping back in time. The owners and staff treated me like family and they were, genuinely, enthusiastic about me being there. It really was like a home away from home. Truly lovely people. And guess who was staying in the room next door? None other than the author Sue French and her husband. A lovely couple and Sue was a very delightful person, and very knowledgable. She was there for Stellarfane and has been going for over 20 years.
Had a couple of interesting things happen here in Chester. First night I went to the hotel for dinner and met a lovely couple who lives there. The lady bought me a drink and whilst chatting she said "If I wasn't married, I'd pick you up" What
Then she said it was the accent and that I was funny
Her husband was sitting there. Well, the next night I went to the Scottish Pub, apprently the only place to be, and people there kept buying me drinks, and didn't know the concept of "shout". they wouldn't let me buy one for them. The end result was I got "pissed", not very, but enough, but didn't make a fool of myself. The last time I got drunk was 20-22 years ago, at best reckoning
These people are a bad influence, in the nicest possible way.
Thursday saw me attend the Hartness House workshop on Solar Astronomy which had some great speakers including Dr DeVorkin from the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum. He is an awesome speaker. Hartness House is an interesting place as it has a entirely enclosed observatory which is connected to the hose by an underground tunnel and workshops. Apparently he didn't like to go out in ther snow.
Friday of Stellafane saw it rain. Arrived early to be given a person tour by Dr Tom Spiroz along with Drs DeVorkin and Harvey (who also spoke at the workshop) Awesome guys. Coming from WA, I didn't take an umbrella. Umbrella, what are they?
I told them I was ok, I'm drip dry
We went to the Pink House clubhouse which was used by Russell Porter, even got to see the original springfield telescope, which is actually not used anymore.
It continued to rain as we walked around, it is a big property, and hilly. my poor legs
It continued to rain constantly and my first view of the observing fields were poor, as only a few scopes were set up and under cover, of course. Did I mention it rained?
By mid afternoon, the rain finally stopped and then telescopes sprang up like desert flowers after a storm. It managed to clear somewhat by nightfall and we got to see some pretty awaesome Perseids meteors. As a storm was coming, pretty much, everyone kept their telescopes covered.
Saturday was also cloudy and it wasn't looking good for the night, but it eventually cleared then rolled in again and then cleared completely. By this time, the fields were packed with evey type, age and size scopes you could imagine. And some you just couldn't
The highlight of the night was seeing the Veil Nebula through a 32" Dob, it was so bright. Saw many other things, of course. It was really interesting to see Scorpius on its side parallel with the horizon. Its not supposed to be there
The keynote speaker Brother Guy Consolmagno SJ from the Vatican Observatory gave a great talk on Comets. He was awaesome and very funny. It was enjoyed by all.
Stellafane was, in a word, "awesome"
I met many of the luminaries of the amateur astronomy scene, including Dennis DiCiccio (S&T), Al Nagler and many others, they were all great and friendly people. Made a few new friends, who all want me to come back again, and I probably will. It was the best two days of fun I have had in my later life. Also got the prize for the longest distance travelled to get to Stellafane. Damn, you just can't get much further away than Perth.
Thoroughly recommend anyone to go. Some interesting telescopes can be seen there. It was amazing to be there, particularly considering the battle I have had to recover from an accident. For a long time, I didn't think it would happen. I am sure glad it did!
Well, that ends my Stellafane experience. there was much more too it, but my fingers are getting tired typing
I also went to Springfield massachusetts and visted on the Science Museum on the recommendation of the curator. well, I did and when I walked in who happened to be out of his office organising a new display, Richard the curator. He showed me their 20 SCT, which was made in the 70's and I got a private show in their planetarium, which has a 75 year old project. These guys are awesome.
Driving around Vermont and back to Albany via Springfield Mass. was starnge as I have never seen so many trees. They calkl this the Green Mountain State. trees everywhere, mile after many many miles.
Now I am in Albany New York and am heading to Albuquerque tomorrow. There I hire a car and drive up the Hwy 550 into the San Juan Mountains in Colorado. The train ride around the US has been awesome. Screw flying, you can't see anything at 35,000 feet.
Cheers until next time.