RTMC Astronomy Expo 2008

May 24-26, 2008, Big Bear, California - YMCA Camp Oakes

40th Annual RTMC Astronomy Expo

In attendance were Terry and Debora Pedroza, John and Rose Moore, Karole and Shane Barker, Steve and Kate Trotta + 3 kids,  Tom and Heather (soon to be) Varden (June 14), Darrell and Nick Bennett, Bill and Jennifer Riedhart, Matt and Sue Leone & Michael, Leon and Duane, and myself.

This year the event was held in Big Brrr instead of Big Bear.  It was COLD.  It Snowed.  It was cloudy the entire weekend.  So you'd think we had a rotten time right?  Nope!  We had a fantastic time.  As you know the three days of fun are centered on all things astronomy related. There was a huge swap meet each day, followed by vendor sales from EVERY company involved with astronomy.  Because of the weather we didn't get the turn out that we had during the previous few years, but the folks that made it and stuck it out through the snow hail and 10 degree cold had a 'bonding' experience. 

This year several club members purchased Ethos eyepieces.  What an excellent eyepiece.  I even got to look through an dual Ethos-equiped bino view through a TeleVue 101NP.  How cool is that?

The fun started off with Michael Leone winning a $300 Meade backpack telescope. The Trotta's won a few door prizes as did Debora Pedroza and Duane.  I was a 'buyer' this year, coming home with a new Smartstar - G GPS iOptron mount and a couple of small items.  You really need to mark this event on your calendar for next year and come join in the fun!  Darrell got a nightvision scope and Terry got a new 'cubby' for his Exploradome so that his computer will fit more conveniently.

Unlike previous years I was only able to go to a single talk, the landing of the Phoenix Lander on Mars, live, on Sunday afternoon.  You'd think with the weather being so cold that people would have headed inside more, but the opposite was true.  We were enjoying the lack of crowds and the very unique experience of having snow at RTMC.  During a brief 15 second break in the clouds, I was able to see a nice solar prominence coming off of the Sun through an H-Alpha scope outside of Howie Glatter's tent.

The event isn't just about the free stuff.  If you have ever even thought of a certain astronomy-related product, it was for sale or trade at RTMC. The Rule of RTMC was once again confirmed: You Can Never Bring Enough Cash to RTMC.  And I didn't.  I came home with just $34.  Please make your plans to come next year and hang out with us!


Tom and Heather filming the crowd just before Saturday's big raffle

"Out Front! Out Front!" (It's an RTMC thing)

Darrell, Derrick, Terry and Debora
Heather, Karole and Sue looking toasty Sue (with delicious popcorn), Matt, Michael and Nick (and Darrell's head in lower left)
Matthew in front of a 'nice telescope' Staying warm with 3 heat packs and wearing everything we brought

The Antelope Valley Astronomy Club was proud to be a Silver Level Sponsor of the event.