GMO Director Terry Hancock recently returned from his cross-country drive and annual visit to New York for NEAIC (North Eastern Imaging Conference), which was held at the Crowne Plaza in Suffern, NY on April 19th and 20th. NEIAC is a conference full of world class astrophotographers giving talks on different topics concerning astrophotography. Following the NEIAC conference Terry all attended the larger and more commercially diverse "NEAF" conference(North Eastern Astronomy Forum). This is the world's largest astronomy and space expo and it was held at the Rockland Community College on April 21st and 22nd. In the past Terry had driven from Michigan, which is less than half the distance (Grand Junction to New York is 2050 miles). Under normal circumstances he would have flown, but had a lot of material and equipment to set up at the booth for NEAF. All went well and Terry arrived on Wednesday afternoon.
As an official beta tester for QHY, and with Grand Mesa Observatory being an official testing station, Terry was invited by QHYCCD and Astrofactors (one of the US Dealer for QHYCCD) to assist for the first two days at NEAIC to answer technical questions regarding QHYCCD products. During that time Terry met and talked with many fellow astro-imagers from both the US and overseas, as well as a large number of QHYCCD users. This part of the trip also allowed Terry some first hand views of many new and exciting QHY products being release in 2018, including the especially-impressive QHY4040 scientific Monochrome CMOS camera.
Grand Mesa Observatory was truly on display for the first time here at NEAF, and to make a big first impression Terry brought a large full-color banner to advertise our services. In honor of the convention it was also on that Saturday when the equipment subscriptions were formally launched on the GMO website! There was a lot of interest in the subscription services, as well in regards to actual telescope hosting for private parties. It was an extremely busy couple of days with about a hundred GMO flyers were handed out, but Terry always looks forward to meeting astro-imaging friends from around the globe so the hustle and bustle were well worth it. There were a lot of questions concerning exactly how our subscription works and thanks to GMO's Assistant Director Isaac Garfinkle, we now have a comprehensive description on our “Equipment Rental Rates” page (which can be found here https://grandmesaobservatory.com/subscription-rentals/)
On the way back to Colorado Terry stopped to see long time friend and Imager Cliff Spohn to pick up his TAK E-180 which will be used at Grand Mesa Observatory in conjunction with his own TAK E-180 as a dual rig. We will use a QHY11M for Luminance and Narrow Band and on the other TAK E-180 we will use either a QHY367C or QHY128C to capture One Shot Color images. If all goes well this tandem setup will be added to our subscriptions.
Highlights of the trip back East included the following:
- QHYCCD representative Kayla Bi is looking at the possibility of having Terry do a talk in China
- We are looking at doing a GMO live presentation via Skype/Teamviewer for GMO to students in China
- SkyWatcher Telescopes will be sending a 10” GOTO Dob Scope for Public Outreach use by GMO
- Bruce Morrell from Astrofactors donated to GMO a QHY Mini guidescope and a new All Sky camera housing and fish eye lens to use with a QHY5 camera
- Longtime friend and retired imager Andy D’Arienzo who lives on Long Island visited the booth and helped for a few hours. He donated 2 boxes of telescope and imaging accessories (dovetails, adapters and eyepieces)