The Kopernik Astronomical Society Presents Kopernik AstroFest 2023

Join the KAS In Our 41st Anniversary of Celebrating the Night Sky
October 6th  – October 7th, 2023

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

Register Now

Join Us for AstroFest 2023!
2023 Special Guest Speakers

Pranvera Hyseni
Public Education and Outreach

Alyssa Pagan
Webb’s Image Specialist

Art Cacciola
The Everest Mirror

Zoe Learner Ponterio
2024 Solar Eclipse

Dr. Keith Werkman
Electronic Enhanced Consumer Telescopes

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
9/25/2023 – 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
2:00 – 6:00 PM Solar Viewing hosted by Ana Castillio, in the Yard (Spectroscope, H-Alpha and white light), in the Domes (Herschel Wedge on 6” AstroPhysics Refractor) and with the Heliostat Refractor, dedicated to the memory of the “Legendary Barlow Bob” Godfrey in 2014, in the Physics Lab.
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 2023 – 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 Opening of the 50-year-old Time Capsule, placed in the wall of the original exterior of the building fifty years ago when Kopernik Observatory was first built. Witness this historic unveiling.
8:00 PM Keynote Address – Alyssa Pagan, Webb’s Image Specialist – Science Visuals Developer, Space Telescope Science Institute, Office of Public Outreach, Alyssa is part of the main team of NASSA Imagers who transform the raw black and white data from the Webb Space Telescope and transform it into the wonderful color images we admire.
After The Program Night Sky Viewing – in the Domes and in the Yard, Demo of our new ZWO SeeStar S50 telescope, Night Sky Laser Tours, “Learner’s Land” – bring your scope and set it up 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 IOTA's Work on Occultation Timing
12:00 – 12:55 PM The Everest Mirror – See and learn about a piece of local and national astronomical history. The honeycomb cell structure which made large mirror castings successful was designed and made by
Wally Everest, Sr. Presented by Art Cacciola, Kopernik Astronomical Society.
1:00 – 2:00 PM Lunch

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 TBA
3:00– 3:55 PM Electronic Enhanced Consumer Telescopes – learn about this fascinating new type of telescope which combines a digital chip, with a small, easy to operate, telescope. It does this all while remaining portable and working almost automatically. Image deep sky objects while your telescope locates the object and focuses. It does this while at the same time collecting data on your smartphone or tablet. It even stacks multiple images to enhance the image. Both the Dwarf and ZWO SeeStar S50 will be discussed. Presented by Keith Werkman, Kopernik Astronomical Society. Demo to follow later tonight.
4:00 – 4:55 PM Solar Eclipse – Presented by Zoe Learner Ponterio, Manager, SPIF (Spacecraft Planetary Image Facility), Cornell University.
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 2023 – Drew Deskur, Executive Director Kopernik Observatory & Science Center
8:15 PM Keynote Address – Pranvera Hyseni – Public Education and Outreach. Pranvera is the founder of the largest astronomy outreach program in Eastern Europe, Astronomy Outreach of Kosovo. She discovered the Main Belt Asteroid: 2020 SS13 and has numerous international awards and recognitions, including having asteroid 45687 Pranverahyseni named after her.
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, October 6, 2023 – 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM, Observing all night if clear.  Also the facility will be open from 2:00 PM to receive campers and/or people interested in setting up their observing gear.
Saturday, October 7, 2023 – 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, October 7th, and concludes Saturday, October 7th (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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