HOTS 2007 & HOTS 2006 PHOTOS!
Posted 12 April 2007 - 01:02 PM
Hope to see many of you there! If you're planning on going, feel free to post here so that we can all meet up at the conference!
Posted 12 April 2007 - 01:06 PM
Hope to see some familiar faces and new people there this year!
Posted 18 April 2007 - 09:43 AM
Posted 01 September 2007 - 02:17 PM
I'm coming out from New Orleans to go to the HOTS 2007 for the first time. I can only buy astronomy stuff online, since there are no New Orleans stores. What large astronomy stores with scopes and mounts on display are closeby the HOTS 2007 site that I might sneak out and visit?
Posted 01 September 2007 - 02:34 PM
About 40 minutes south is Oceanside Photo & Telescope (www.optcorp.com) and 30 minutes north is Scope City (www.scopecity.com). They have two of the best and most complete displays in the country. About 1 hour north is Woodland Hills Telescope, another great display and inventory.
Posted 11 October 2007 - 01:59 PM
As an owner of a Coronado solar telescope, I wanted to get better informed on how to use it, learn a bit about solar imaging and get to know Meade in general.
In one word, I'd describe the weekend as "fantastic!" It was well organized and the presentations were interesting, informative and well-done. We heard a talk by Bill Richards of Meade, who explained in detail how the Coronado filters work (including light curves and theory of operation), how they're designed, and how they're manufactured. The assembly of the etalon sounds like somewhat of a black art! Two surfaces are held together face-to-face by surface tension, after tiny scraps of paper-like separators placed on one by hand. The separators are only the thickness of an an atom1
Meeting some of the top solar imagers & researchers in the world was exciting and invaluable! We heard an inspiring talk by David Levy, who turned out to be remarkably personable and accessible, even after having been thrust into the media limelight years ago by SL-9.
We saw an amazing presentation on solar photography by Gary Palmer of www.solarminimum.com. We heard Mike Simmons give a fascinating historical account of Mt. Wilson observatory (along with lots of old B&W photos). We heard a great talk by Tony Phillips, the www.spaceweather.com -guy. There were some 15 different presentors, each compelling in their own way. And being able to quiz someone like Paul Hyndman of www.astro-nut.com on how he processes his solar images, or ask a research scientist from JPL a question about spectroscopy was fun and invaluable!
Both days, Meade had a dozen different Coronado scopes set up outside for viewing. I was able to compare all sorts of scopes: the PST to a 60, to a 90, stacked and unstacked, etc.
On Saturday, Vice President Scott Roberts took us on a tour of the Meade factory. Scott conducted a lively, amusing, and very interesting tour, pictures of which are at the bottom of this page.
Photography was not permitted in some of the rooms, and we were not allowed into the final assembly room (dubbed, "The Secret Sauce Room!") where the telescopes go through their final assembly, matching, and tweaking. But, we did see mirror grinding rooms, coating machines (which looked like big refrigerators: metal boxes with heavy doors and a few dials... ), and the Coronado manufacturing area (which was also off limits to photography.)
The rooms in which photography was not permitted may have had some valuable trade secrets to a trained eye, but to my eye, they were held just more grinding machines and assembly stations.
I came away from the tour (and the entire weekend) with an enormous respect for the Meade organization. Whether it was management or the front-line employees, every single Meade employee I met had a deep love of astronomy and a passion for quality.
I also came away excited to get their new DS mount for small scopes. Because I do a lot of sidewalk astonomy with my PST, I really need a solid, but light mount that tracks so I'm not frequently having to re-aim the telescope. Earlier this year, I purchased an inexpensive, clock-driven equatorial mount (Orion's EQ-1) but wasn't happy with the results. At HOTS, I was able to try out the DS mount, which has been available from Meade for some time, bundled with an OTA for night observing . The DS looks like a wonderful mount, and will be available standalone (unbundled) in the next month or two. It's fully a computerized goto-mount, which means it will also work wonderfully at night with a small telescope! I lug my solar and my night scope (a Pronto) all over the place, from downtown sidewalks onto planes when I'm travelling. The DS is light enough (and inexpensive enough!) that it will work really well for me. Hopefully, although it's inexpensive, it will be accurate enough for solar tracking as well as non-demanding night viewing.
Another product about which I was pleasantly surprised was their mySKY viewer. I played with the Celestron equivalent (SkyScout ) last month and was unimpressed. SkyScout felt like a solution looking for a problem. You aim a tube at the sky, and then turn it sideways and read about the object you pointed to. On the other hand, Meade’s mySKY is quite cool... as you point it at the sky, an LCD display pans and scrolls, showing a real-time star map annotated with the stars and constellations in that part of the sky. It still seems like a novelty item more oriented at newcomers. But, it's a cool novelty item that I might even recommend to a friend who wanted to learn the night sky! There was some discussion about mounting it on a large dob as a guide-scope!
It was interesting to learn that Meade faces the same challenge that other US manufacturers face in the retail market -- customers claim that they want quality products and good support, but then they vote for the opposite by buying cheaper, inferior products. I was also interested to hear about the inevitable ebbs and flows in the astronomy equipment marketplace. Big astronomical events (SL-9, Mars oppositions, etc.) that get main stream media attention, heat up the market. And lulls in big events cause lulls in the market. It's a far tougher business than I suspected.
The most touching thing about the conference was that I discovered a community of like-minded people: excited by the sky and eager to share what they know. If you've made it this far reading, then I bet you probably are similarly natured. And, that being the case, you're probably also someone who would enjoy the conference next year! See you there!
Pictures can be found at the bottom of this page: www.campparadox.com/hots
Posted 30 December 2007 - 05:02 PM
Does anyone think there's sufficient demand?
YouTube channel: https://www.youtube....jc2Y0j7-UoRD6lg
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