What a conference!!! Our first OpenGOTO Community User Conference - July 20-21, 2018 was a huge success. We had incredible discussions about how, what and when regarding the ExploreStars application and the PMC-8.
A task force has been established to organize and vet ideas for new features expressed for the ExploreStars application. This group will manage and make decisions towards future projects gathered from input and suggestions from the PMC-8 users community.
We can't thank Jerry Hubbell (Explore Scientific's Director of Engineering), Dan Dickerson (Author - ExploreStars App) and the group that attended our conference for their energy, interest and preparedness shown for this product and this conference. We promise many more to come.
Scott and I left the Explore Scientific office from Springdale on Monday June 11 around 2pm. We drove to the nice small town of Woodward OK about 300 miles from the office and stayed overnight at nearby Boiling Springs State Park. A very nice state park.
The next morning, we started on our way towards RMSS and ran into a little excitement on the way. In a small town called Grenville, outside Clayton NM, we hit what turned out to be a pretty major storm. We used the latest Weather Apps to watch the storm and saw hail in the distance approaching with 1.75" diameter. Now, when you travel with a nicely polished Airstream, that makes you nervous. As the storm approached, we saw the direction and expected path and waited in Grenville on a dirt road called Main Street. Our path took us a bit north and then towards the west and we saw our chance to skirt around the storm. We took off at a slow pace in heavy rains, but made our way around it safely and without damage to the Airstream or ourselves. On from there to the Trinidad Lake State Park in southern CO about 350 miles on day 2. On Wednesday, we arrived at the RMSS around 11am. About 710 miles total in 2.5 days.
The 2018 RMSS was a total blast. The people were great, the location was very remote and the skies, although fighting clouds a few nights, was nice and dark. The event had great speakers and we had lots of interest in our products. We loaned EP's every night and had a bunch of people at our scopes looking at many cool objects every night.
Due to threat of severe weather that afternoon, we packed up on Saturday morning and just as we finished loading, the rain started. Just in time! We made it back to the Boiling Springs State Park on Saturday night and finished the trip on Sunday. Back at the office. We unloaded our gear and had a nice pizza at MJ's that evening.
Thanks to all those that attended and hung out with us. We made many new friends. Hope to see you again next year.
Our first stop at Boiling Springs State Park on the way to RMSS:
On the road to RMSS in the middle of nowhere:
Our setup at RMMS:
End of the event highlights:
Scott and I spent several days at the 2018 Alumapalooza Airstream Rally at the Airstream Factory in Jackson Center OH. We got a tour of the factory and saw how they HAND CRAFT Airstreams of all shapes and sizes. It was truly amazing.
We held a Star Party in front of the "Barbara Jean the Airstream" and 4 out of the 5 evenings we had great skies to show about 200 people through our scopes. The most interesting thing we learned is that Airstreamer's are very similar in demographics to astronomers and they also have the passion of getting into dark skies while traveling in their Airstream.
We spoke in front of the group on Saturday morning about astronomy and discussed our products in the daylight to a positive response with many interesting questions and found lot's of interest in capitalizing on their dark sky adventures that could lead to an interest in astronomy.
What a crowd! What a good time!
We were amazed by the big turnout and blown away by how blazing hot it was. The forecast was for rain and thunder storms, but somehow, it avoided us the whole weekend. The event was incredible and filled with amazing speakers, STEM events, vendors, food trucks, a beer tent, hot air balloons, rocket launches, tours of the observatory and glimpses through the 40" refractor.
In continuing the celebration, Yerkes has extended the opportunity to tour and view through the Great and Famous 40" Refractor.