The Triad Starfest, *Tri*Star* for short, is a gathering of astronomers of all types, from novice to professional, for a full day of presentations, displays, and observing. The event allows astronomy enthusiasts to share ideas, learn about a range of astronomical topics, get together with old friends, and make new ones. The event will draw astronomers from North Carolina and surrounding states.
*Tri*Star* 2017 will be held on Saturday, 4 March, beginning at 8:30 a.m. in the Percy H. Sears Applied Technologies Center on the campus of Guilford Technical Community College in Jamestown, NC.
In addition to a series of speakers scheduled throughout the day, there will be a wide range of astronomical displays, prize drawings, “how-to” help for astronomy beginners, an astrophotography contest, and daytime and nighttime observing sessions (weather permitting).
In addition to Saturday’s agenda, *Tri*Star* usually features a special Friday evening presentation held in the Auditorium of the Sears Building (the same location as Saturday’s activities), at 7:00 p.m., with Cline Observatory open for observing after the talk, weather permitting. This year’s featured speaker is David Baron, author of the forthcoming book, American Eclipse: A Nations’ Epic Race to Catch the Shadow of the Moon and Win the Glory of the World.
Best of all, there is no registration fee – this event is free and open to anyone with an interest in astronomy!
Note: In case inclement weather causes the Jamestown Campus of GTCC to be closed on the date of *Tri*Star*, please monitor campus status before coming to GTCC. Information is available at the GTCC web page, on Twitter @gtccastro, or by dialing the GTCC switchboard at 336-334-4822.
*Tri*Star* 2017 Schedule
Friday, 3 March, 7:00 p.m. Pre-TriStar Public Lecture, Applied Technologies Auditorium
David Baron, journalist,broadcaster, and author of American Eclipse
Nature’s Grandest Spectacle: How, Where, and Why to View the 2017 Total Solar Eclipse
On August 21, the United States will enjoy a rare celestial treat, a total eclipse of the sun—the first in 99 years to cross the country from coast to coast. The “path of totality” will miss central North Carolina, but it will pass nearby to the west and south. David Baron will show why you will want to place yourself in that path on that day, because it is only then and there—in the fleeting shadow of the moon—that the sun and solar system will reveal themselves in a dazzling, not-to-be-missed spectacle.
Saturday at *Tri*Star*
|8:30||Doors Open – Coffee and Refreshments|
|9:20||Welcome and Announcements|
|9:30||Enrique Gómez, Western Carolina University
The Great American Eclipse of 2017 over North Carolina
|North Carolina’s westernmost region is in the path of totality for the solar eclipse of August 21, 2017, This will be the first total solar eclipse across the Continental U.S. since 1979. We will review the peculiarities of solar eclipses of the Earth-Moon system, geometric and atmospheric effects that can be expected during this event, and observing techniques for a memorable experience. We will also discuss some possibilities for science observations and viewing opportunities in North Carolina as well as public outreach.
Dr. Enrique Alberto Gómez is an associate professor of physics and astronomy at Western Carolina University (in the path of totality) where he studies supernovae and stellar outflows. He has also done research on atmospheric cosmic ray interactions with atmospheric balloons and the teaching and learning of physics and astronomy. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Alabama doing his dissertation on gamma-ray burst and supernovae. He experienced his first total eclipse in Mexico City in 1991 and his second Austria in 1999. He has spent a total of 8 minutes and 45 seconds under the full shadow of the Moon.
|11:00||David Baron, Author of American Eclipse
Edison and the Eclipse that Enlightened America
|On July 29, 1878, at the dawn of the Gilded Age and the height of the Wild West, a total solar eclipse crossed America’s western frontier. The astronomical event lured many of the era’s great scientists to Wyoming and Colorado because it offered a rare opportunity to solve longstanding riddles of the sun and solar system. Based on his five years of original archival research, David Baron will tell the story of this influential event in American science and of some remarkable people who witnessed it. Among the prominent eclipse chasers in 1878 were Vassar astronomer Maria Mitchell, who headed an all-female expedition to Denver to show what women could do in science, and a young Thomas Edison, who after observing the eclipse soon lit the world with his most famous invention.
David Baron is a journalist, author, and broadcaster who has spent his thirty-year career largely in public radio. He has worked as an environment correspondent for NPR, a science reporter for Boston’s WBUR, and health and science editor for PRI’s The World.
In the course of his reporting, David has visited every continent and earned some of the top honors in journalism. These include the Lowell Thomas Award from the Overseas Press Club of America, the Alfred I. duPont Award from Columbia University, the National Academies Communications Award, and, on three occasions, the annual journalism prize from the American Association for the Advancement of Science. David’s written work has appeared in the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Boston Globe, Outside, Lonely Planet, and Reader’s Digest. His 2003 book, The Beast in the Garden, received the Colorado Book Award. His book about the great 1878 eclipse across the American west, American Eclipse: A Nation’s Epic Race to Catch the Shadow of the Moon and Win the Glory of the World, will be published this summer.
An avid umbraphile who has witnessed five total solar eclipses, David has crossed the Americas, Europe, Asia, and Australia to catch the shadow of the moon. On August 21, 2017, he will be in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, to witness the first total solar eclipse to cross the country from coast to coast in 99 years. David lives in Boulder, Colorado.
|12:00||Lunch Break, Solar Observing|
|2:00||Barbara Becker, University of California-Irvine, Retired
Photographing the Solar Corona without an Eclipse: The Forgotten Efforts of William Huggins
|Following the solar eclipse of May 1882, amateur astronomer William Huggins was encouraged by observers’ reports to attempt a bold plan for photographing the solar corona without an eclipse. His initial perception of success in this project led him to pursue it for many years with great zeal and conviction. However, these efforts are notably absent from his own retrospective account of his life’s work which appeared in 1897. Reliance on this account led his biographers and later historians to exclude his imaginative and influential solar corona work.
Building on an examination of Huggins’s observatory notebooks and unpublished correspondence, this paper brings to light these long forgotten efforts. His difficulties in achieving his goal, rather than stifling his research efforts, motivated him to improve his research methods and instrumentation. They forced him to hone his rhetorical and technical skills in order to persuade his colleagues of the validity of his observations. And, his struggle to convince others of the validity of his coronal photographs renders visible the ordinarily tacit discussion of how a scientific community achieves consensus on what counts as conclusive evidence.
Barbara J. Becker received her PhD in history of science from The Johns Hopkins University. Until her retirement, she taught history of science at the University of California, Irvine.
Her research interests include the role of the amateur in the development of nineteenth century professional astronomy, the redefining of disciplinary boundaries in the face of new knowledge and new practice, and the role of controversy in shaping the substance and structure of scientific knowledge.
Becker is the author of the first scholarly biography of English amateur astronomer, William Huggins: Unravelling Starlight: William and Margaret Huggins and the Rise of the New Astronomy (Cambridge: CUP, 2011). In January 2015, this book was awarded the prestigious Donald E. Osterbrock Book Prize by the History of Astronomy Division of the American Astronomical Society. Becker is also the editor of Selected Correspondence of William Huggins, 2 vols (London: Pickering & Chatto [now Taylor & Francis], 2014).
|3:30||Gayle Riggsbee, Charlotte Amateur Astronomers Club
When an Eclipse Trip Cost was only One Dollar
|On May 28th 1900, an eclipse of the Sun was predicted to occur in the southeastern part of America. George Hale, director of the Yerkes Observatory, wrote to many of the major astronomical observatories suggesting that they all meet at the same place along the eclipse path so that their research could be coordinated. Princeton University and the Smithsonian Institution, along with several others set up their telescopes in Wadesboro, North Carolina at a site selected by Hale for his observatory.
This is the story of what was done there by those institutions and especially about the famous or soon to be famous people who gathered there for the eclipse. The talk is illustrated by seldom seen historic photos collected from the archives of the participants.
Gayle Riggsbee is a native of Charlotte and a retired machine design engineer. He has been an avid amateur astronomer since joining the Charlotte Amateur Astronomers Club in 1960. He has served as both President and Vice President of the Charlotte club and for many years was the club’s observatory director and telescope maker. Gayle founded the Southern Star Astronomical Convention, the popular annual astronomy lecture weekend at Wildacres Retreat in the North Carolina Mountains. He enjoys lecturing on the history of astronomy and has built telescopes ranging up to 24 inches in diameter. His telescopes have won national awards, including first place at Stellafane. The Charlotte club has honored Gayle with a lifetime membership and their club observatory is named after him.
|4:50||Final Announcements & Adjourn|
|7:00||Observing session at Cline Observatory (weather permitting)|