RTMC Astronomy Expo and the Big Bear
The Big Bear Lake region is hosting two major
astronomy events during the long Memorial Day weekend in 2014.
held in the area since 1975, welcomes the first
to Big Bear Lake’s Village area.
These two events serve different audiences.
Beginning to advanced amateur astronomers
from Thursday to Monday to
observe from the dark sky of YMCA Camp Oakes,
new developments in amateur telescope making,
out commercial telescopes and equipment brought by vendors for
listen to presentations covering observing, telescopes, and getting
started in astronomy,
out the Saturday swap meet, and
socialize and observe with friends
On Saturday and Sunday, weekend visitors to Big
Bear, of all ages, will learn more about astronomy and outdoor
sciences at the Astronomy Outreach Network’s
at Big Bear Lake’s Village as they visit
exhibits by the Big Bear Solar Observatory, US National Forest
Service, and others,
commercial exhibits of science instruments, games, and activities,
attend presentations on the current state of astronomy and space
Come join the fun and learn about the
universe your way.
RTMC Astronomy Expo
May 22-26, 2014
Big Bear City, California
Main Telescope Field at the
RTMC Astronomy Expo
Originally called the Telescope Makers Conference,
the Riverside Telescope Makers Conference (RTMC) was founded in 1969 by Clifford W. Holmes
as a way 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. 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 7,600 feet. Click on the following
link to view a labeled aerial photograph
of Camp Oakes.
Since its inception, the RTMC has expanded to encompass all
aspects of amateur astronomy from beginning to advanced topics and from telescope making
to "armchair" astronomy. Recently, the RTMC has included events for the whole
family with swimming, rock wall climbing, hikes, activities for spouses and activities for the young
kids. In 2000, the official name of the conference was changed to the "RTMC Astronomy
During the RTMC the camp has more people than a typical
recreational campground of its size, but the primary reason for attending is precisely
because it offers a chance to rub shoulders with a large number of people who know
telescopes and like to talk about them. What we offer is a chance to see and look through
a large variety of telescopes (with relatively dark skies and high altitude), attend talks
by professional and amateur astronomers on different aspects of telescope construction and
use, see some astronomical equipment and software in use, and buy astronomical equipment
and software (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 in the
past there have been telescopes of 8 to 12 inches in aperture.
Vendors ranging from major telescope manufacturers to
people selling T-shirts have booths at the telescope field and along the paths leading to
The 46th annual RTMC Astronomy Expo will take place from
Thursday, May 22 through
Monday, May 26, 2014.
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 116° 45' 15" West
Latitude 34° 13' 50" North
Altitude 7250 feet (2210 meters)
Click here for maps and directions..
Moonrise and Moonset (PDT)
Thursday, May 22: moonrise 1:46 AM,
Friday, May 23: moonrise 2:23 AM, moonset 2:58 PM
Saturday, May 24: moonrise 3:00 AM, moonset 4:01 PM
Sunday, May 25: moonrise 3:38 AM, moonset 5:02 PM
26: moonrise 4:17 AM, moonset 6:02 PM
NASA Project Scientist Steve
Howell will be speaking about the Kepler space observatory and its
mission to find Earth-sized planets around other stars, and the
repurposed K2 mission studying objects near the ecliptic plane of
the solar system.
Dr. Howell is a member of the Kepler Science Team and specializes in
research on variable and binary stars, CCD detectors and
instrumentation , and ultra-high precision photometry. He developed
the practice of differential photometry using CCDs and has applied
the technique to ground-based exo-planet transit detections
obtaining, to date, the highest precision photometry yet achieved.
Dr. Howell is involved in educational outreach programs, especially
those involving multi-wavelength astronomy, using ground-based and
space based telescopes. He serves on numerous review panels and was
most recently a member of the National Academy of Sciences panel on
NASA's Constellation system. Dr. Howell worked with NASA
Headquarters to help establish the Kepler guest observer office at
NASA / Ames research center and now works at NASA Ames as the
project scientist of the Kepler mission.
Astroimaging Workshop -
Richard Wright and the Hitchhiker's Guide to Astrophotography,
Sunday May 25th
This year's Premium
Astrophotography Workshop on Sunday at the RTMC Astronomy Expo
promises another great learning experience for our imagers.
Florida's Richard Wright is lucky enough to be a Pro-Am astronomer.
He started out a hobbyist, but had talents and accomplishments that
earned him a paying job in the field. He is a software engineer for
Software Bisque, among other things, and an accomplished amateur
imager. His plans for The Hitchhiker's Guide to Astrophotography
workshop include a bit about getting started, selecting equipment,
and the all important transition from DSLR to CCD. He has a wide
range of experience with just about every type of camera out there.
He will do a little bit of processing, including some introduction
to PixInsight, but is also a great source for information about
automating image acquisition. You can tell by the workshop title
that it will be a fun event. Richard sees things differently, and is
quite the presenter!
The imaging workshop is a premium
event at the RTMC Astronomy Expo. It is held all day Sunday and
requires separate registration. Participation is limited. So be sure
to register for this workshop early.
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