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The RTMC Astronomy Expo  

Astronomers! Whether you are a beginner or an advanced amateur astronomer, we welcome you to attend the RTMC Astronomy Expo, Memorial Day weekend, to:

         See the stars from the clear air of YMCA Camp Oakes
         Learn of new developments in amateur telescope making
         Check out commercial telescopes and equipment brought by vendors for observers
         Listen to excellent presentations covering observing, telescopes, and getting started in astronomy
         Enjoy all the swap meet astro-goodies on both Saturday and Sunday, and
         Socialize and observe with friends.

May 26-30, 2016 (Thursday through Monday morning)
Camp Oakes
Big Bear City, California

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Main Telescope Field at the RTMC Astronomy Expo

The Riverside Telescope Makers Conference (RTMC) was founded in 1969 by Clifford W. Holmes for amateur telescope makers to share their craft. In 1975, the RTMC moved to its current home at Camp Oakes, a YMCA camp near Big Bear City. In 2000, the official name of the conference was changed to the "RTMC Astronomy Expo." Located 50 miles northeast of Riverside in the San Bernardino mountains, the site offers space for camping, several dormitories and 18 three-sided shelters, a meeting/dining hall, and the Charles Walker Observatory. The camp is located at an elevation of 7,200 feet. Click on the following link to view a labeled aerial photograph of Camp Oakes.

RTMC now serves all aspects of amateur astronomy, from our BeginnersCorner to advanced topics, and from telescope making to "armchair" astronomy. RTMC also includes events for the whole family with swimming, canoeing, rock wall climbing, hiking, a zipline, and activities for spouses and young kids.

Amateur astronomers attend RTMC because they can rub shoulders with many people who really know telescopes and love talking about them. Here, you can see and look through a great variety of telescopes, from small to very large, under some pretty dark skies at high altitude. You can also attend talks by professional and amateur astronomers on many different aspects of telescope use and construction, and on astronomy in general.

Vendors representing major telescope manufacturers, and private vendors selling many other items have booths at the telescope field and along the paths leading to it. They will show a variety of wares, including the latest astronomical equipment and software in use, often at reduced prices. The vendors contribute door prizes for Saturday and Sunday evenings. We don't know exactly what prizes we'll have in advance, but items range from clothing to eyepieces, accessories, and telescope systems.

 

Date
The 48th annual RTMC Astronomy Expo will take place from Thursday, May 26 through Monday, May 30, 2016.

Location
YMCA Camp Oakes, five miles southeast of Big Bear City on State Route 38 at Lake Williams Road between mileposts 44 and 45. This location is about 50 miles northeast of Riverside in the San Bernardino mountains.
Longitude 11645' 15" West
Latitude 3413' 50" North
Altitude 7250 feet (2210 meters)

Click here for maps and directions..

Moonrise and Moonset (PDT)
Thurs, May 26: Moonset 9:53 AM, Moonrise 11:50 PM
Fri, May 27: Moonset 10:51 AM
Sat, May 28: Moonrise 12:32 AM, Moonset 11:52 AM
Sun, May 29: Moonrise 1:12 AM, Moonset 12:54 PM
Mon, May 30: Moonrise 1:51 AM, Moonset 1:59 PM

2016 - Fun With Our Sun!
At this year Expo, we continue our tradition of celebrating amateur astronomy in its many facets, from beginner to advanced researchers and imagers. If you like to camp under the stars, hear great science lectures, see our vendors with the latest in astro-goodies and look through amazing telescopes, then come and join us!

Our theme this year is “Fun With Our Sun celebrating the observation and science of our nearest star. We will have speakers on solar science and solar telescopes to view the sun in various wavelengths. Our BeginnersCorner activities will involve the family in safe solar observation and, of course, we have our BeginnersStar Party at night.

Our skies this year are putting on a real planetary show, with Mars close to a very favorable opposition. Jupiter will be in the western sky and Saturn will show off its wide-open rings, rising just after 8:00 pm. The Moon rises later, so we’ll also enjoy deep-sky viewing.

At night, we’ve expanded the star party activities to include both the upper and lower telescope fields. If you have a telescope of any size, bring it! If you are having problems with your telescope, bring it anyway; our “Telescope Urgent Carebooth will have knowledgeable amateurs who may be able to help.

The RTMC Astronomy Expo offers talks and activities at the BeginnersCorner, Merit Awards for telescope making, an Astro-Imaging Exhibition, an Imaging Workshop and activities for families with kids. Also this year, we are letting all kids, ages 0 to 17, enter the Expo for free. Fun things include the swimming pool, the zip line (extra fee), canoeing on the lake, the rock climbing wall, archery, and other activities. Don’t forget the Swap Meet on Saturday and Sunday and see what everyone selling.

Keynote Speaker

This year our keynote speaker is Tamitha Mulligan Skov, a solar astronomer and “space weather forecaster.She hosts the online TV show, “Spaceweather.tv," telling us what is happening on our star and how it will affect us on Earth. Dr. Skov is an engaging speaker and active solar scientist, so her presentation is a must-see.

AstroPhotography Workshop
David Ault is coming in from Texas to share his expertise in astro imaging with the RTMC attendees.

A senior electrical engineer at IBM, Dave is more known among the viewers of The Astro Imaging Channel as somebody at home with imaging equipment and software and, more importantly, Dave is somebody who can help other people understand it all. He has been an amateur astronomer for more than twenty-five years, with the last five particularly in imaging. He plans to talk about how to maximize your data, showing the fundamentals of image processing concepts. He will work through the steps of turning acquired data into a linear image, and then turning that linear date into a masterpiece. He is especially knowledgeable about PixInsight, and will show off a number of processes and scripts in the Pixinsight Tool Box. Even if you do not use PixInsight as your main tool, you will pick up a lot of useful ideas. And if you are a Pixinsight fan, you need to be there.

Dave has developed a number of advanced techniques, and has shared his expertise in small workshops and on his website http://trappedphotons.com/ . Whether you are fairly advanced, or just dabbling, you will find value in this workshop. Also, you will get to spend the day with other amateur imagers, swapping stories, and sharing hints.

This is a premium workshop, available to no more than the first 50 to register. The workshop will be from 10:00 to 4:00 Sunday, with breaks for lunch. Through the years, these RTMC AE Premium Astrophoto Workshops have been over-booked by early April, so be sure to sign up early!

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