The Pacific Astronomy & Telescope Show
FAQ — Frequently Asked Questions
The Pacific Astronomy and Telescope Show premiered in September of 2008 with large crowds of amateur astronomers enjoying dozens of presenters, exhibitors, and vendors. Through the years, the organizers have fielded questions and discovered what the most common questions are. Here's the current state of this continuously developing list of questions and answers.
If you have a question not covered here, need more details, or see the need for a correction, please contact us via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Saturday & Sunday, September 22 & 23, 2012
Saturday: 9AM - 5PM / Sunday: 9AM - 3PM
Pasadena Convention Center
300 E. Green St., Pasadena, CA 91101
Speakers and presenters range from space explorers, national astronomy-related organizations, and well-known researchers, astrophotographers, authors and software developers. Additional related events are conveniently scheduled around PATS and include: The Riverside Astro-Imaging Workshop (RAW), a tour & observing session at the world-famous Mt. Wilson Observatory, and a large public outreach at the nearby Paseo Colorado outdoor mall.
What is the ticket price?
On the day of the event at the box office, a single-day ticket is $20.00. A discount of approximately 15% is available if you buy your ticket(s) early or buy a weekend pass (tickets for both days). Children (15 and under) accompanied by a paid adult are admitted free on the days of the event. Students (16 and over with a current valid student ID) may purchase tickets for $5.00.
Clubs may set their own price for tickets if they are participating in the club ticket program. (See Club Information for details on club purchases.) "Happy Hour" (after 3:00 Saturday, and 1:00 Sunday) allows half price admission.
When and where can I get tickets?
Typically, PATS tickets are made available to the general public after June 1. They're also made available at the RTMC Astronomy Expo, which is held over Memorial Day weekend. In addition, you can purchase tickets through participating local astronomy clubs, the Pasadena Convention Center box office, or through Ticketmaster.
Your local astronomy club
PATS tickets are made available at discounted prices to local astronomy clubs so they can distribute them at their events and to their membership. If your club is not yet participating in the PATS discounted ticket program, please contact us at email@example.com. The following clubs have participated in previous years:
Antelope Valley Astronomical Society
High Desert Astronomical Society
Kern Astronomical Society
Los Angeles Astronomical Society
Orange County Astronomers
Pomona Valley Amateur Astronomers
Riverside Astronomical Society
The Local Group
Ventura County Astronomical Society
Western Amateur Astronomers
Pasadena Convention Center Box Office
You can buy PATS tickets in person at the box office on the day of the event or in advance. You can also mail payment along with a self-addressed, stamped envelope. Call for details: (626) 449-7360.
At your local Ticketmaster outlet or via their website. There are additional fees when buying through Ticketmaster.
Packaged with Registration for RAW
You may package tickets to PATS with your registration for the Riverside AstroImaging Workshop (RAW). Get details here.
Can you expand on the ticket-buying process? How does this work?
You can either purchase your ticket before coming to the event or purchase tickets at the door on the day of event. All tickets are identical, allowing admission for either Saturday or Sunday. Bring your ticket to the Pavilion entrance and exchange it for a hand stamp. The hand stamp allows admission for that day to all presentations and to the exhibit hall. Admission to PATS does not include admission to RAW. However, there are package rates available. More details are here.
What is a Weekend Pass?
A "Weekend Pass" consists of two tickets, one for Saturday and one for Sunday. Such passes are available only at the Box Office or through Ticketmaster. Club tickets can be used either Saturday or Sunday. So, if you are purchasing for both days from a club, you simply purchase two tickets.
What is the refund policy?
Refund policies are set by the organization selling the tickets (Ticketmaster, Pasadena Convention Center Box Office, or a participating astronomy club).
Do I need to register as an attendee?
No. As an attendee, simply purchase a ticket and exchange it for a hand stamp at the door. We do not need your name or any registration information. Registration is only required for clubs, vendors, and individuals seeking exhibit space in the exhibition hall.
Can you describe the PATS presentation schedule?
We have reserved a set of rooms for large and small presentations that will take place throughout both days of the event. Unfortunately, a detailed schedule is typically not available until mid-Summer or so. See the home page for a current list of scheduled presenters.
Is PATS soliciting additional presenters at this time?
In general, we are not looking for additional presenters at this point. However, if you would like to make a presentation or if you would like to schedule an astronomy club meeting at PATS, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Are there going to be activities at PATS, aside from the scheduled speakers?
Yes! PATS is not just about vendors and speakers. There's a separate imaging conference, a public outreach, solar viewing, a tour of Mt. Wilson, and more!
On Friday and Saturday nights, there will be a large public outreach at the Paseo Colorado, the beautiful shopping mall across the street from PATS. The outreach is hosted and supported by local astronomy clubs and individuals. Please contact us if you would like to help.
In addition to the evening outreach events, solar telescopes will be setup outside the exhibition hall for safely viewing the sun!
Riverside AstroImaging Workshop (RAW)
The Riverside Astroimaging Workshop will take place on the Thursday and Friday before PATS. It requires registration and a separate fee. RAW features hands on walk-throughs of popular image processing programs, discussions on equipment selection, and an evening remote imaging session! See patsimage.org for more details.
Mt. Wilson Tour
See the next entry for details on the Mt. Wilson tour and observing through the 60-inch telescope.
What are the details on the Mt. Wilson Tour?
The Mt. Wilson Observatory Superintendent, Dave Jurasevich, will lead a small group tour of the historic and still very productive site starting at 5:00PM on Saturday. The tour includes visits to historic Mt. Wilson sites such as the monastery and visitor center, and also includes an overview of the CHARA, and up-close and personal visits to the solar scope towers, the Hooker 100-inch telescope, and the 60-inch telescope. There will be an evening observing session through the 60-inch telescope. The tour requires advanced registration. This package includes dinner, and refreshments during the observing session. Details are available here. Participation is limited, so register early!
How can my club participate?
Astronomy clubs can participate in PATS by being present to solicit new members, to rent a booth to sell fund-raising items, or to volunteer for set up and break down. Clubs can also participate in PATS by being part of the discounted ticket program. The discounted ticket program is a great way get tickets to your members and to raise funds for your club's programs. We may solicit volunteers from local astronomy clubs now and then. We may also be able to send a speaker to your club meeting to talk about PATS. For more information, contact us.
What are the details on discounted tickets for clubs?
For the most thorough explanation, please contact us. Generally speaking, your astronomy-related organization or school will name a representative who will become the contact person with PATS/RTMC, Inc. The appointed representative will carry out the advance purchase of tickets, and will organize reselling them through your club (to members and others). The organization may return unused tickets for a refund on those tickets (timelines apply). Once your tickets are purchased from RTMC, Inc., the operator of PATS, and unsold tickets are returned (assuming there are no discrepancies), there is no further financial accounting or obligation on the part of your club or organization. This program is meant to be a source of revenue for your club or astronomy-related organization. Use the funds for your outreach program, facilities improvements, club promotion materials or other assets, and the like.
Of course, to make this an effective program, some planning and preparation on the part of your club or organization is required — So, get started early!
What are the details on the club tables/chairs at the event?
We have set aside various areas where we will provide a table and two chairs to recognized clubs, academic groups, and other non-profit astronomy-related organizations free of charge. Registration is required, however. See the Vendor & Club Info page for registration materials. Note that this offer does not include a full booth. It's simply a table for you to layout promotional materials and other items, and 2 chairs for your organization's representatives. Please register immediately if you would like to be considered. Admission to PATS is not included in this offer. The organization's representatives who will be staffing the table are still responsible for purchasing admission tickets. Your group may conduct limited monetary exchange. Permitted exchanges include registering club members or registration for club-sponsored events or activities. You MAY NOT sell anything, including but not limited to merchandise, hardware, software, souvenirs, food, or services. It is expected that your table will remain staffed throughout the day and not left unattended for extended periods of time.
There is no electricity or cart service at these tables. Two members of your organization may enter the hall one hour before the doors open to the public to set up materials. This is open to non-commercial entities only. Commercial vendors must register for a booth, whether they plan to sell items or not.
May clubs register for a booth?
Absolutely. Clubs are required to do so if they plan to sell items or services. When they register for a booth, they receive all the standard vendor benefits. Registration for a free table and chairs (described above) does not include a vendor booth.
Can an astronomy-related club or organization schedule a meeting or presentation around PATS?
Yes, and we encourage you to do so. It is an excellent way to expand your reach, and provide a common ground for a meeting. If everybody is coming to PATS anyway, why not put on a show and tell others what you do? Please contact Alex McConahay (email@example.com ) and tell him what you want. If you can be accommodated, we will make arrangements.
What space is available for vendors?
Detailed information is available on the Vendor & Club Info page.
The floor plan at the Pasadena Convention Center provides for about 80 booths. Prices per booth vary based on size, location in the hall, the date by which they're registered, and added ammenities. Prices increase after September 1st. The 10' x 10' and larger booths include pipe, drapes, table(s) and chairs. For an extra fee, electrical power, high-speed internet, and cart service are available. See the Vendor & Club Info page for additional information.
How do I reserve vendor exhibition space (a booth)?
Visit the Vendor & Club Info page or contact us.
Is there space for vendor demonstrations?
We have room available (in addition to vendor booths) for special presentations by vendors, manufacturers, and others who wish to demonstrate new products or techniques featuring their products. Demonstration space must be prearranged, so please contact us as soon as possible.
What time can I set up and take down?
Contact us for specific details. In general, paid vendors (not free club tables) may be set up starting Friday, and may be on the exhibit floor from 8:00AM to 6:00PM both Saturday and Sunday.
ACCOMMODATIONS, TRANSPORTATION AND PARKING
Where can I get details on hotels, parking, airports, and public transportation?
The website of the Pasadena Convention Center has loads of useful information regarding hotels, parking, airports, public transportation, and other visitor information.
Just as an FYI, the Sheraton is the closest hotel as it shares the same complex as the Convention Center.
Please be aware that any arrangements you make for hotels, transportation, and dining are your own. PATS and RTMC, Inc. are not responsible for them in any way.
What is available in the way of food and restaurants?
There is a snack bar at PATS inside the exhibition hall. In addition, the Convention Center is within walking distance of hundreds of restaurants in downtown and Old Town Pasadena – many of them are right across the street at the Paseo Colorado outdoor mall.
Are there any nearby facilities for camping and/or RVs?
Not really. There are no facilities on the Convention Center grounds. The nearest camping/RV facility appears to be a KOA campground in Pomona, about 30 miles away. The address is 2200 N. White Ave., Pomona, CA, 91768. Their phone number is (909) 593-8915.
Will there be a swapmeet?
Sorry, no. The facilities at the Convention Center are not conducive to such an effort. You'll have to hold out until the RTMC Astronomy Expo in May to satisfy your flea market hunger.
Who puts on PATS?
PATS is an RTMC, Inc. event. RTMC, Inc. consists of a dozen or so volunteer board members as well as a handful of additional volunteers. It is dedicated to growing the hobby of astronomy, whether that means providing events for seasoned astronomy hobbyists or introducing it to the general public. The group meets periodically throughout the year to plan and produce its two main events: The RTMC Astronomy Expo (held over Memorial Day weekend in Big Bear) and the Pacific Astronomy & Telescope Show. RTMC, Inc. also funds the Holmes Grant program, which aims to further outreach efforts among astronomical groups. RTMC, Inc. is a non-profit charitable organization and corporation under the laws of the state of California.
PATS is supported by its sponsors, vendors, and attendees.
While members of the Riverside Astronomical Society (and other clubs) are typically active volunteers at PATS, it is not an RAS event.
Will there still be an RTMC Astronomy Expo?
Yes. PATS is not meant to replace the RTMC Astronomy Expo. RTMC will continue to be held each Spring in Big Bear. It provides a rural setting with dark skies where attendees can camp, hike, observe, listen to lectures, partake in seminars, and find deals via vendors and the swapmeet.
How do I volunteer to help at PATS?
Generally, you should contact the PATS representative in your club. If your club is not participating in the discounted ticket sales program or you're not affiliated with a participating organization, you may contact us to inquire about volunteer opportunities. It should be noted that PATS does not require as many volunteers as the RTMC Astronomy Expo, since the venue itself is better staffed.
Are there door prizes at PATS?
Some vendors have a single raffle, while others might have a few over the course of the weekend. In addition, we will set aside a time both Saturday and Sunday for door prizes. Specific times are not known presently.