Mid South Star Gaze and Astronomy Conference

Rainwater Observatory is gearing up for its annual Midsouth Stargaze and Astronomy Conference April 3-6, 2019! This event attracts amateur and professional astronomers from around the country. It is held under one of the few remaining dark skies in the southeastern United States and just off the beautiful Natchez Trace Parkway near the village of French Camp, Mississippi. Join us this year for fun, fellowship, observing and fascinating presentations by professional astronomers and others such as galaxy researcher, Dr. William Keel from the University of Alabama, astrophotographer-retired “Hurricane Hunter” Jon Talbot and much more! 


This year we are adding something new to Star Gaze-Conference as Jon Talbot will be presenting an astrophotography workshop! It will be scheduled on Thursday April 4, 2019 from 10:00am-4:00pm with a break for lunch. This workshop will cover the basic fundamentals of taking raw data (CCD or DSLR) and making a color image out of it using PixInsight. 




Individuals wishing to participate in this workshop will need their own laptop or computer loaded with the latest version of PixInsight.  Those who do not own PixInsight but want to try it before deciding to buy can download a 30-day trial and install from http://pixinsight.com/ This should be done 1-2 weeks prior to the class because there are a couple of days wait for the trial license. Important Note! This workshop has an additional $40 fee that is separate from Star Gaze registration and lodging. Jon will collect this additional $40 fee at the door from workshop participants. You will need to email him directly at: hurricane4@att.net before March 8, 2019 to sign up and get any additional details.




 Midsouth Star Gaze & Astronomy Conference Registration Details!



Star Gaze Schedule and Lecture Abstracts


PLEASE NOTE: This event is geared primarily for adults and older supervised children interested in learning more about astronomy.


Rainwater is home to one of the largest collections of powerful telescopes in the southeast. We have some new exciting indoor exhibits and beautiful custom built exhibit cases with an impressive new meteorite collection.  The collection contains objects such as a Mars meteorite, a large shatter cone, tektites and a piece of the Chelyabinsk meteorite that hit Russia in 2013! In addition, we have exhibits featuring an impressive collection of rocks, minerals, asteroid models, space art exhibit and other astronomy related displays.


We have a large camping area with a pavilion, picnic tables, amphitheater, men's and women's showers and bathrooms, WIFI access, all new electrical outlets on the hill and camp area, 14 bed air conditioned bunk house, four new grills and five campfire pit areas with surround seating as well as other camping areas around the observatory hill. There is a Bed and Breakfast, Council House Cafe, Lodge, Memphis Guest House and other additional lodging located within a mile of the observatory.






Rainwater Observatory in French Camp Mississippi will be offering a free program for this season called "IMPACT: SOLAR SYSTEM ENCOUNTERS ". This presentation will be given on Friday, April 12, 2019, starting at 7:00 p.m. by Edwin Faughn, director of Rainwater Observatory. This program is sponsored by a 4-County Electric Foundation grant!


This unique and fascinating presentation explores one of the most important processes that have shaped objects our solar system - impacts and crater formation. Asteroid and comet impacts have not only left massive craters on the Moon and other solar system bodies, but have dramatically affected life on Earth. The program is filled with spectacular impact imagery and information! In addition, Rainwater has a new meteorite exhibit with objects such as a real Mars meteorite and a piece of the meteor that hit Chelyabinsk, Russia in 2013!


Edwin is also an artist and lecturer specializing in space sciences and has presented hundreds of programs to diverse audiences including but not limited to universities, museums, schools, churches, civic groups, scouts and various other organizations. His original artwork has been featured in and on the covers of international space science magazines, exhibitions and planetarium productions. A few of his credits include Scientific American, Federal Express World Headquarters and the world premiere of Titanic: The Exhibition. He also served nearly 20 years as the art director for the Sharpe Planetarium of the Pink Palace Family of Museums in Memphis, Tennessee. His work has also been featured on the main KEPLER website of NASA's Ames Research Center. You can see his artwork and other information at: www.edwinfaughn.com


After the presentation, weather permitting, an observing session will be held using some of Rainwater’s collection of powerful telescopes. The planetarium can be used if the outdoor observing is clouded out. Rainwater Observatory and Planetarium is located one mile east of the Natchez Trace Parkway off MS Highway 413 near the village of French Camp in Mississippi. Come early and enjoy Steak Night at the Council House Café, another support ministry of French Camp Academy.


For more information contact Edwin Faughn at Rainwater Observatory: 662-547-7283 or info@rainwaterobservatory.org.


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