Speaker: Pete Johnson
Topic Amateur Telescope Making (ATM) for the 21st Century
Abstract: Pete Johnson has been a member of NOVAC for over 20 years filling roles as club president, vice president, secretary and founder of the NOVAC Amateur Telescope Making Group (ATM) which was active for several years. With the assistance of the ATM group, many members successfully built, enhanced or repaired their own telescopes, in many cases, producing high quality telescopes than they could not have otherwise afforded. Subsequently, over recent years with the flood of reasonable quality inexpensive commercial telescopes, interest in telescope making has waned.
In recent years the advent of the ‘Maker’ movement has resulted in bringing affordable advanced manufacturing tools and capabilities within the grasp of the individual making it possible for anyone to design and build their own creations using tools never before thought possible outside the commercial manufacturing industry.
This presentation focuses on how Amateur Astronomers can leverage these new technologies to create, modify, and enhance their own astronomical equipment.
Location: Research Hall, Room 163
NOVAC’s general meetings are open to club members and the general public alike, and are held on the campus of George Mason University (directions) in Fairfax, Virginia. Research Hall is easily identified by the observatory attached to the side of the building. Paid parking is available in the Shenandoah parking structure. Some members have also chosen to park across the street in the far reaches of the Patriot Center’s parking lot, then walk up the path to Research Hall.
Meetings start at 7:00 PM, generally on the second Sunday of every month (with the exception of May, when we meet earlier or later to avoid a conflict with Mother’s Day). If you come earlier you can do a little socializing. The first part of the meeting is club business, during which the officers make reports about their activities and areas of responsibility. The next part of the meeting usually includes:
- Show and Tell, where members share gadgets, books, techniques, etc.
- The Observing Report, describing the astronomical events for the next month.
- Q&A, where beginning astronomers are encouraged to ask questions to be answered by more experienced members.
- The Sky Tour, describing what’s where in the sky for the next month.
The final part of the meeting is a program, usually by one of the members, but sometimes by “outside experts”. We’ve had presenters from all aspects of Astronomy. Here is a listing of upcoming speakers, a listing of past speakers, their lecture topics, and copies of slideshow presentations and video coverage where available.
There’s a good deal of socializing before and after meetings, allowing members to put faces with the voices they’ve heard in the dark.
Whether you’re an longtime club member, a new or prospective club member, or simply an interested member of the public, you’ll be warmly welcomed at our meetings.
Please Join Us For Dinner!
Meeting attendees (and their guests) are invited to come out for our informal pre-meeting dinner. We have recently been meeting at Oh George! (in University Mall across from GMU at 10659 Braddock Rd) at 5:30 p.m. The pre-meeting dinner is an excellent way to meet club members, welcome newcomers, and renew old friendships.
If you’d like to join us, stop by the restaurant at 5:30 PM. See you there!
PARKING is available at the Shenandoah parking deck (enter via Sandy Creek Way) for $3/hr, up to a daily maximum of $14. Though the club recommends the use of the paid parking deck, we’ve also had members report success parking in Lot A (a permit-only lot also associated with the Patriot Center) without trouble on Sunday evenings (tickets are $85, however, so assess your own risk tolerance before considering this option).