ASRAS Activities

This book contains records of various activities engaged in by the ASRAS members.

ASRAS at 2013 Science at Technology days.

We had a great time at the 2013 Science and Tech days yesterday !
We spoke with approx 75 – 80 people including kids, parents, and grandparents.
We had a great response to our setup and drew lots of interest.
We handed out quite a few tri-folds and had at least three or four potential new members promise to be at our next meeting to join us !

Thanks to all our volunteers :
Joe Alteri
Tom Kohler
Chris Pryor
Dave Jouppi

RochestarFest 2013 !

Another AWESOME ROCHESTARFEST is in the record books !

Despite the cool and cloudy weather we all managed to have a great time.
We certainly had a jam packed day of activities :

Lots of interesting talks from knowledgeable members both young and old :

We had great activities for kids like making astronomy jigsaw puzzles, sundial wrist watches, and face painting :

Of course we lots of interesting (and delicious) things for adults too !

We had tons of great door prizes and silent auction items :

And a demonstration of a hand built Camera Obscura built by Nick Lamendola :

A great barbecue FEAST cooked up by master chief Frank Bov :

We concluded a fantastic event with our feature lecture of the day by Dr Robert Sullivan on whats happening on Mars.

Thanks to all the hard work and participation of the many members, Ionia community volunteers, and family members for helping make Rochestarfest 2013 another top notch event !

Summer Astro-Camp 2013 !

Our very first Summer camp for kids was a great success !
We had 18 participants who took part in a fantastic variety of science and astronomy related activities :

Group photo at the Farash Center

Learning the basics of flight from Bob McGovern

Viewing the sun in the solar observatory with Leo Kellet

Checking out the mirror of the Cave telescope

The kids all had a great time and learned a lot !
We hope to see all of you (and your friends) again next year !

ASRAS General Members Meeting and Farash Gift Announcement May 3 2013

The May 3rd 2013 ASRAS general members meeting was made very special by the announcement that ASRAS will be receiving a yearly gift from the Farash Foundation to help support the many wonderful member and community activities that we participate in each year.
To help celebrate this occasion we had a special presentation from Al Ureles about the history and humble beginnings of our fantastic observing site in Ionia:

April Open House and Work party 2013

Well, it worked! Scheduling an open house along with a spring work party seemed to kill to birds with one stone. It turned out to be a great day for both with nearly all of the listed jobs being accomplished.

I'm sorry if I missed anyone as there was so much activity but I counted 32 people who worked very hard to kick start the observing season at the Farash Center.

Even though there were hazy skies into the late hours, a few of our newer members stayed until around 10 p.m. or so trying their hand at astrophotography from the Farash Observatory building. Congratulations to Kim Horan, Stephanie Carlino, Alan Aufderheide and Ryan Brown for giving it a try and imaging the crescent Moon, M42 and M13 with guidance from Leo Kellett!

Thanks to:
Joel Schmid, Leo Kellett, Carol Latta, Dave McEneany, Ken Kressler, Mel Stebbins, Gary Opitz, Peter Blackwood, Kevin Cosgrove, Peter Bonneau, Larry Arbeiter, Karen Johnson, DAVE THOMPSON (!), Dave Jouppi, Nick Lamendola, Chris Pruzenski, Doug Kostick, Allison and Chris O’Brien, Al Russell, Stephanie Carlino, Kim Horan, Bob Crumrine, Ryan Brown, Vicki Rotolo, Alan Aufderheide, Chris Cassidy, Ray Ptucha, Mark, Vanessa, Alex and Catlin (a visiting family and I did not catch their last name).


There's nothing like the holidays.
And there's nothing better to kick them off than the annual ASRAS holiday party at the Strasenburgh !

As usual we had a wide assortment of fabulous goodies to munch on before the meeting in the main star theatre.
Our program featured lots of volunteer recognition, followed by a very cool star show featuring some of the darker mysteries of our universe, and finally the members images show.

This year astronomer of the year was long time member Lori Englund :

We also recognized outstanding volunteer efforts from :
Don Chamberlin
Gage Slade
Doug Kostyk

Joel Schmid once again outdid last years show with all kinds of special effects, rocket blastoff, and a wonderful presentation of outstanding members images.

What a great way to start off this years holiday celebrations.

Special thanks to Steve Fentress for being such a gracious host and making everyone feel welcome.
Thanks Steve !

ASRAS Halloween Party 2013 !

We had another great ASRAS Halloween party at the Farash Center this year !

Attendance was good and almost everyone came in costume.
Bob McG had some new scary toys this year
That jumping spider got everybody good !

Early Spring Open House at the Farash Center March 17 2013

The turn out was very good with 3 of our observatories operating. We were able to catch some views of the sun from the solar building, view the moon, Jupiter, the beehive, the Pleiades, a number of the brighter M-objects and comet PanSTARRS. Everyone who stayed viewed the comet either with the naked eye, binos or through the 10" RC in the Farash Observatory. Kim & Stephanie took charge of opening the Cave building and it was in use until everyone left. The new focuser proved to be a nice upgrade to that telescope but the rolling staircase will need new wheels this spring. There were maybe half a dozen of us up in the big dome sweeping the western horizon and having a difficult time finding the comet. I believe it was Alan who first picked it up with his binos and after that, it was pretty easy to find ( Roger was mentally marking some trees that don't have much time to live ). Some were able to see it with the naked eye but I could not. The pink horizon glow right after sunset made it pretty difficult. Some members also were able to take some great photos. What a nice time and it was good to see so many new members! Nothing beats having your corned beef dinner at midnight!

Thanks to Alan Adams for fabricating a quality aperture diaphragm for our 130mm refractor, to Leo Kellett and Dave Bradley for continuing work on the observatory networking system, to Bob Easterly 1 and Joel Schmid for opening the site up and to everyone else for being there and sharing their experiences!

Scout Pack 110 April 27 2013

Last weekend we had one of our many Boy Scout Troops camping over the weekend at the Farash center.

Some of our members joined in on the fun on Saturday as well.

They had great weather most of the time and they took full advantage of it !

Winter Sledding Party 2013 !

Yesterday we held the 7th Annual Sledding Party at the Farash Center in Ionia and the conditions were absolutely perfect! There were approx. 30 people that attended and enjoyed one of the most beautiful winter days I've ever seen for sledding, playing in the powder or hiking in the woods.

I can't thank everyone who was there and helped make it happen but a special thanks goes to Tom Yale who shoveled off the deck, ramps and walkways, to Joel Schmid for opening the site up, to Glen Cummings for helping remove the snow from the roll-offs and to Bob McCombs for plowing.

We were able to view the sun with the new solar telescopes but the high cirrus clouds prevented us from seeing much if any detail. The snow was perfect, about 7" deep and it packed just right for sleds, toboggans, skies and ski boards. A few of us hiked the yellow trail and the railroad bed to the biggest sugar maple ( I think, we'll have to wait till see some leaves before we rule out that it's an oak ) that I've ever seen. The woods were really beautiful and Bob Crumrine measured the total distance as 1.5 miles with his GPS.

2012 ASRAS MEMBERS HOLIDAY GALA at the Strasenburgh Planetarium

Whats the best way to cap off a wonderful yerar of ASRAS activities ?
Why the annual ASRAS holiday gala of course !
Each year ASRAS members get to take over one of our favorite places in Rochester for the evening at the Strasenburgh Planetarium.
This year was no exception - never let it be said that ASRAS members dont know how to throw a holiday party !
We had several tables loaded with all kinds of delectible holiday treats.
We also had a great presentation from the Young astronomers who displayed some very interesting and welll thought out topics in astronomy :

This year we gave special thanks to a couple of "behind the scenes" special contributers - Gail Smith and Dee Sharples.
Thanks girls for all the hard work you do to make ASRAS so much more enjoyable !

This years ASTRONOMER OF THE YEAR award was presented to Proffessor Mike Richmond. Mike personifies making astronomy and physics fun, enjoyable, and down to earth so the rest of us can understand "almost" as well as he does !

Mike joins the ranks of many past winners :

And as aways, many thanks to our gracious host at the Stras - Steve Fentress !

2012 Halloween Party !

Well, Sandy put a bit of a damper on us this year, as Our Spook-master Bob McGovern had to restrict his ghastly decorations to inside the Farash Center - but we still managed to have a great time !

Bob had the Farash Center decked out in all its finest ghostly glory :

And all the kids had great costumes :

There was lots of treats, Crafts with Gage Slade and Vicky Rotolo, and pumpkin carving in the basement :

And of course the grand finale is the LIGHTING OF THE PUMPKINS !

Ionia Fall Festival 2012 !

We had a great time at the Ionia Fall Festival this year !
We had a nice table set up at the fire hall fairgrounds :

Lots of folks caught the hay wagon up to the observatory to see the sun !

And of course - the highlight of the day - the TRACTOR PARADE !

Open House at the Farash Observatory Nov 11th 2012

ASRAS held an open house at the Farash Observatory this past Sunday and invited members, thier families, and guests out to our site in Ionia to share in all the great oppertunities we have available to our members.
We were able to get a little bit of solar viewing in, but the clouds showed up early afternoon so we just sat back and enjoyed the day.

Rochesterfest 2012 !

Another fantastic Rochestarfest is in the books !

We had a great time at the Farash center this year - despite the very warm tempratures. :

This year we really got into solar observing on Saturday. We had a total of 4 solar setups going including the new outreach scope, Luke Leege's big refractor, the Cave scope with a solar film, Bob Mcgoverns refractor with Corinado solar filter in the big dome, and the new solar observatory scope. This plethora of solar observing entertained the crowd all day with fantastic views of sun spots, solar flares, and surface details on our closest star.

Meanwhile, we had some great talks from members like Marty Pepe and Brandon Doyle :

And lots of items for sale in the silent aution down in the basement :

As always, there was a full schedule of kids activities like rocket launches :

Telescope pad decorating :

Lots of great door prizes :

Of course all that fiun works up a hearty appetite, which was expertly handled this year my our master chef Frank Bov and his able assistent Roger Mcdonough :

This years dessert was themed after the best astro event of the year so far - the 2012 Venus transit !

Thanks to all who volunteered setting up, tearing down, and all who attended. We hope everyone had a great time.
Hope to see all of you next year !

Venus transit ! June 5 at the Farash Center in Ionia

We had a great turnout at the site for the Venus transit on June 5th
The weather was looking dicey - but it cleared up just in time to see the event !





Hopefully the site and ASRAS will still be there for the next tansit in 2117 !

Young Astronomers: YA January 21 Event at Ionia

Saturday’s Young Astronomers get together and Joshua DeBell’s birthday party combination at the observatory was a great success! The head count was about 55 people!

The day started out sunny and we had hopes of viewing some solar activity but, as often happens, the clouds rolled in about 2 p.m.
A fresh 2” coating of snow made for some very good sledding and for tracking animals on the observatory grounds and adjacent properties. We were able to identify and track deer, coyote, perhaps a dog or fox, rabbits and a couple of birds. Joe had excellent track identification hand outs for this activity.

After gorging on slices of fresh (98.6 degree) brain food, a program on Optical Illusions was presented by Bob McGovern followed by a workshop in electric motor construction by Rich Mulvey and son and the construction of models of Saturn by Valerie Rapson.
Someone needs to let Bob know that Halloween is over !


During this time, the clouds never parted and we ended the evening around 8 p.m. Photographs will be posted on our website and shown at the monthly meeting on February third. By the time I got our 3 GK’s home, the skies were pretty clear. Figures.

Farash Observatory open house 2012 & Scout Troop 130

What a fantastic weekend we just had on May 18th and 19th !

Bob McGovern and his dedicated crew had the Farash site Super Spiffy for our open house 2012. Members of all the surrounding town boards were invited to come out to the site and see what a great facility we have.
In addition, the scouts from Troop 130 we able to take advantage of great weather, awesome food, and lots of fun at our site.
Quite a few members also got a chance to partake in some really outsatnding sky conditions Sat night.

2011 ASRAS Halloween Party !

We had a great time at the 2011 ASRAS Halloween party this year !

Bob Mcgovern created a "spooktacular" haunted graveyard at the observatyory in Ionia :

And everyone enjoyed the costume contests, Halloween crafts, and pumpkin carving !

Thanks to Bob Mcgovern for all the awesome spooky decorations, and everyone who attended.

Hope to "scare" you next year !

2011 ASRAS Holiday Party !

What is the height of merriment and holiday cheer for an ASRAS member ?

Why the Annual ASRAS Holiday Party at the Strasenburgh Planetarium of course !
This year we all had a fantastic night of feasting on all manner of delicious goodies, a facinating galaxies show in the planetarium star theatre, and beautiful slide show of images taken by our talented members.
We also got a chance to honor our "Astronomer Of The Year" - Mr. Joe Alteri !
Joe was a very well deserved recipient for this year award, and I will bet that this years holiday party was one he will remember for a long time !
A special thank you goes out to everyone who helped setup, brought food, or contributed images to the members image show.
Also a big thankyou to Planetarium Director Steve Fentress who makes such a gracious host for our festivities !

If you missed out on this year, make plans to join us next year !

Sledding Party at Ionia Observatory Site Jan 15 2011

What do you get when you combine a nice snowy day in January and some steep hillsides ?

The 2011 ASRAS Sledding Party !

Thanks to everyone who showed up yesterday afternoon for our annual sledding party at the observatory in Ionia. We counted about 32 adults and kids on the hill or in the main building throughout the afternoon. The snow was great with a pretty stiff breeze out of the SW and totally overcast sky. The heavy overcast was a great benefit as seeing the sun could frighten some of the younger members unaccustomed to seeing their shadow. Anyway, it was great fun and good to be out of doors for a few hours. A special thanks to those who operated the grill (Lori, Chris P., ??) and helped clean up after it was over. Also, Thanks much to Ken Kressler who was there hours before it all started and removed all of the snow from the deck and building ramps!
Now, let spring come!

Science and Technology days at the Rochester Museum And Science Center 2010

ASRAS members Joel Schmid, Tom Kohler, and Joe Alteri attended the Science and Technology days at the Rochester Museum and Science Center this year on Dec 28th.
Science and Technology days is an annual series of days where families can come to the museum and visit with representatives from a wide variety of local clubs and organizations having to do with science and technology.

This year we were located on the second floor near the stairs on the west wall.
We had a nice display of Membership sign-up forms, Astronomy books, Astrophotos, and overhead projectors. Joe Alteri entertained many visitors with displays of google earth, Google mars, and Google universe.
Tom Kohler was also in attendance and provided lots of good info to our visitors.

All in all it was a great day and I thank Joe and Tom very much for their assistance and enthusiasm.
Thanks also to Jim Seidewand for his help in getting me in touch with the right people at the museum.

Astronomy Day 2003 Images

Black Forest Star Party 2002

The BSF 2002 articles/pictures

Tree Planting at Cherry Springs 2002

The stuff about Cherry springs - article here, page with gallery of photos.

Living the Dream

This is the article about John Davis