The Kopernik Astronomical Society Presents Kopernik AstroFest 2022

Join the KAS In Our 40th Anniversary of Celebrating the Night Sky
September 30th  – October 1st, 2022

Kopernik Observatory & Science Center – 698 Underwood Road, Vestal, NY

Register Now

Join Us for AstroFest 2022!
2022 Special Guest Speakers
9/18/2022 – Please Be Patient While the KAS finalizes its 2022 Guest Speakers and Topics.  Below are a list of the latest speakers we have for 2022.  We are looking to add to this list of course!

Dr. Kelly Lepo

Webb’s First Look at the Universe
FAQs about JWST

Laurie Ansorge

Bob Piekiel
“Celestron EDGE HD Scopes”

Luke Keller
“SOFIA Mission”
“Black Holes and the Recent Image of Sagittarius A”

Zoe Learner Ponterio
“Where are the Aliens?”

Tish Breese
“International Observe the Moon Night”

Patrick Manley
“Comparing the JWST, Hubble and Amateur Astrophotos”

Astronomy Packed Three Day Event Featuring:
  • Astronomy workshops
  • Daily solar observing
  • Getting Started discussions for beginners
  • Equipment Discussions
  • Daily Night Sky Observing
  • Kopernik Observatory Tours
  • Guest Speakers and Presentations
  • HAM Radio Demonstration & Discussion
  • Raffles, Raffles and more Raffles
  • …and much…much…more
Special Events:
  • Kopernik AstroFest Solar Star Party (KASSP)
  • Amateur Astronomy Club Roundtable Formal Discussion
  • Meteorite Lobby Discussion/Show and Tell by Patrick Manley
  • …stay tuned for more activities as planning progresses…

Schedule of Events
9/18/2022 – NOTE: This is preliminary schedule, and planning is still underway .  Scheduled Activities may change without notice. As soon as changes are made, every effort will be made to update this listing. Please check back often for your planning purposes

Friday Schedule:



2:00 PM Facility open to campers for setup, bathrooms open
Viewing in yard, both solar and astronomical
6:00 PM Doors open to public, facility tours, and observing
Coffee, tea, hot chocolate, juice, snacks available in lobby
6:30 – 6:55 PM Welcome to AstroFest 2022– Drew Deskur, Executive Director Kopernik Observatory & Science Center
George’s Best Images, a Video Slide Show – most captured right here at Kopernik Observatory! – George Normandin, KAS President
7:00 – 7:55 PM eVscope – learn about this fascinating new type of telescope from Unistellar. It combines a 4.5” Newtonian with a digital chip, all while portable and working almost automatically. Presented by Laurie Ansorge, Night Sky Network Astronomy Outreach and Girl Scout Educator.
8:00 PM Dr. Kelly Lepo – Webb’s First Look at the Universe – The James Webb Space Telescope, NASA’s latest flagship space observatory, released its first spectacular color images in July 2022. In this presentation, Dr. Kelly Lepo will give an update on Webb’s latest discoveries. She will also discuss infrared astronomy, the big questions that Webb is helping to answer, and what to expect in the rest of Webb’s first year of science.
After The Program Night Sky Viewing – in the Domes and in the Yard, Night Sky Laser Tours, “Learner’s Land” – come out to the yard and learn how to operate a telescope. The KAS will provide hands-on lessons or bring your own scope and get help setting it up and operating it with help from the KAS and Kopernik staff, hot beverages and snacks available, bathrooms and domes open all night, Lobby closes at Midnight.
Midnight Lobby Closes (Restrooms remain open all night)

Saturday Schedule:



7:30 to 10 AM Coffee, tea, hot Chocolate, juice, donuts available in Lobby
9 AM- all day Vendors in Physics Lab, Dark Sky Exhibit   and Facility Tours
10:00 AM – 5:00 PM Solar Viewing hosted by Ana Castillio, in the Yard (Spectroscope, H-Alpha and white light), in the Domes (Herschel Wedge on 6” Astro Physics Refractor) and with the Heliostat Refractor, dedicated to the memory of the “Legendary Barlow Bob” Godfrey in 2014, in the Physics Lab.
10:00 AM – 10:55 AM Show and Tell Meteorites – Patrick Manley
11:00 – 11:55 AM SOFIA Mission – Learn about NASA’s “Flying Observatory”. Presented by Luke Keller, Ithaca College
12:00 – 12:55 PM Where are the aliens? – While it seems a safe assumption that Earth is not the only place in the whole cosmos with life, the question of how common or rare it is, and how often it evolves into beings such as ourselves, are impossible to answer . . . for now. We’ll play with some exercises in philosophy and basic math to explore how we would even answer such questions, exploring the Fermi Paradox and using Fermi Problems to understand the Drake Equation. Presented by Zoe Learner Ponterio, Manager, SPIF (Spacecraft Planetary Image Facility), Cornell University. Magic Planet?
1:00 – 2:00 PM Lunch and Musical Entertainment by Robert Siegers.

Astronomy Clubs Roundtable Discussions
(to include the NYPENN Girl Scouts) Laurie will also talk about the new Space Science Badges.

2:00 – 5:00 PM Swap Meet – buy and sell your treasurers , used equipment for sale to raise funds for new scope
2:00 – 2:55 PM Celestron Edge HD Scopes – A detailed look at the history and development of Celestron’s Edge HD telescopes. Presented by Robert Piekiel, followed by Q & A and book signing in the vendor’s area.
3:00– 3:55 PM Comparing the JWST, Hubble and Amateur Astrophotos – Patrick Manley, Kopernik Astronomical Society and DeeTop Observatory
4:00 – 4:55 PM Black Holes and the Recent Image of Sagittarius A – Learn about the image of this massive Black Hole, taken by the Event Horizon Telescope. Presented by Luke Keller, Ithaca College
4:00 –4:55 PM InOMN – view the Moon and learn interesting facts about it. Tish Bresee, NASA Solar System Ambassador, meet in ES Lab (see 7 pm)
5:00 – 6:30 PM Dinner Break and Musical Entertainment by Robert Siegers
6:30 Raffle Prizes
7:00 – 7:55 PM International Observe the Moon Night – Learn about this great event from Kopernik’s NASA Solar System Ambassador, Tish Bresee
8:00 – 8:10 PM Welcome to AstroFest 2022 – George Normandin, KAS President
8:15 PM Dr. Kelly Lepo – FAQs about JWST

How do we really know if Webb has observed some of the first galaxies? How can we detect water in the atmosphere of a planet a thousand light years away? Why do Webb images have 8-pointed stars? How do we choose colors for Webb images when the telescope observes infrared light?

In this presentation, Dr. Kelly Lepo will take a deep dive into the latest science to come out of the James Webb Space Telescope’s observations, and answer frequently asked questions about some technical aspects of how Webb images are made, how the telescope works, and how we know what we know about objects in space.

After the Program Night Sky Viewing – in the Domes and in the Yard, Imaging Demo of FLI Camera on 20” OGS RC, Night Sky Laser Tours, hot beverages and snacks available, bathrooms and domes open all night.
Sci-Fi movie in Space Science, Lobby closes Midnight.
Midnight Lobby Closes (Restrooms remain open all night)

AstroFest Donors/Sponsors
Our AstroFest Donors (Past and Present) Are Amazing – Please Support them!

Presented by

Event Details
Hours: Friday, September 30, 2022 – 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM, Observing all night if clear.  Also the facility will be open from 12:00 noon to receive campers and/or people interested in setting up their observing gear.
Saturday, October 1st,  2022 – 9:30AM to 9:00PM, Observing all night if clear
Entrance Prices: $6.00/day registration for adults. Under 16 free with parent. Groups of 7 or more, please contact us for group pricing. 
Extras: Fantastic raffle prizes, Swap meet, coordinated group take out meals from local restaurants, and snack foods will be sold.
Camping Information $10 a night additional fee for onsite camping.

Kopernik Observatory Equipment

6″ AstroPhysics Super Planetary F/12 Refractor Losmandy G11 Mount

20″ Optical Guidance Systems Ritchey-Chretien F/8 14″ Celestron C14 F/11 SCT Celestron CGE Mount

About Kopernik Observatory & Science Center, the KAS, and AstroFest
We are hoping you would consider being a part of our event. At this time talks are targeted for a more advanced group of amateur astronomers from Kopernik, and other astronomy clubs, as well as college professors, graduate and undergraduate students from area Colleges and Universities; as well as interested members of the public. Our AstroFest celebration will begin at 6 PM on Friday, September 30th, and concludes Saturday, October 1st (of course observing overnight if skies are clear). You can decide how much you would like to participate from one day or both. Camping will be available at the observatory or you can find lodging in Vestal hotels.
We are hoping for clear skies to observe after the talks Friday and Saturday, and sunny skies for solar observing on Saturday and Sunday mornings.  This will be our 6th annual KAS Solar Star Party that was founded by the late and great Barlow Bob (RIP).
At this event, we will support a swap meet if people are interested, and you are welcome to sell your astronomical items or trade with others that participate. We will provide a free spot under our Gazebo or dining canopy to do so (first come, first served). This year we will be featuring the sale of various telescopes and equipment no longer needed by the observatory – most of it donated in years past.
One of the purposes of this year’s event is to get others to visit us and see the jewel we have here in Vestal. Not-for-profit Kopernik Observatory is regionally known as a “Space Education Center”. We also claim to be the best sited, best equipped observatory in the Northeast US which is open to the public. We have three domes, one with a 6” f/12 Astro Physics Planetary Special (the second best of the batch of 25 produced) on a G-11 mount/clock drive and NGC-Max; one with a Celesteron 14” with a CGE computer drive and our flagship, a 20” Ritchey-Chretien with an OGS drive. On occasions we talk with astronauts in space on the ISS, and in the past, on Mir and the Space Shuttle via amateur radio station.
Directions to Kopernik Observatory, 698 Underwood Road, Vestal NY: From the E or W – take Route 17 (Southern Tier Expressway – future I-86). Get off at the Vestal Exit 67 S (26 S) and proceed up the hill about 5.5 miles. Just past Vestal Center (alleged to be a 40 mph “speed trap”), turn right at the sign “Observatory 2 Miles” onto Glenwood Road. If you miss the turn, you will hit the Pennsylvania state line in about a mile – just turn around and go back a mile. Take Glenwood road a block to the first left hand turn (about .2 mile). This is Underwood Road. Drive up the hill 1.8 miles. Kopernik Observatory is on the left. From the N or S – take I-81 to Route 17 (Southern Tier Expressway – future I-86). Then follow directions from E or W.

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