Astroblast 2005

September 27 - October 2, 2005

Special Features for Astroblast 2005!!

**Opportunity to use an Australian robotic telescope! (Saturday only)


Anyone wishing to attend the event overnight Tuesday - Thursday evenings is welcome to do so.  Please note that a $3 fee per person per night will be charged.  Limited electricity, water, drinks and snacks will be available.

Friday, September 30

3:00 PM   Registration Opens

4:30 - 8:00 PM Food tent open

5:45 PM   Welcome to Astroblast

6:00 PM  Exploring the Universe from the North Coast: Astronomy Outreach in Erie County - Mr. Jim Gavio

7:00 PM  Solar Polar Vortex Project and Prospects for Amateur Involvement in Solar Research - Dr. Jim LoPresto

8:00 PM - ???    Dark Sky Observing

10:00 PM  CCD Imaging Techniques -   Mr. Dan Holler and Mr. Larry Stack

8:30 PM   Messier Marathon   (Pick up form at Registration Booth, and turn return in morning.)

11:00 PM  Gate closes (All non-overnighters must leave or move vehicles outside gate.)

Saturday, October 1

10 - 11 AM  Pancake Breakfast  ($5 per adult or $3 child under 12)

11 AM - 1 PM  Swap Meet

12 - 8 PM   Food Tent Open

1:00 PM   Understanding Star Formation with NASAs Spitzer Space Telescope - Mr. Tim Spuck

2:00 PM  Urban Stargazing  - Mr. Phil Harrington

3:00 PM   CCD on a Budget: Amazement and Amusement with an Off-the-Shelf Digital Camera - Mr. John Martin

4:00 PM   Round Table Discussion: Achieving and Maintaining Successful Astronomy Organizations

5:00 PM - Basic Equipment and Techniques for the Beginner - Mr. John OHara

6:00 PM    Pizza Party  ($5/adult $3/under 12)

7:00 PM - Over the limit: What's the faintest object you can see with your telescope? - Mr. Phil Tramdack

8:00 PM - ???     Dark Sky Observing    

9:00 PM   CCD Imaging Techniques -   Mr. Dan Holler and Mr. Larry Stack

11:00 PM  Gate closes (All non-overnighters must leave or move vehicles outside gate.)

Sunday, October 2

10 - 11 AM   Pancake Breakfast ($5/adult - $3/under 12)

10:00 AM   Messier Marathon Winner Announced

8:00 PM - ??? Dark Sky Observing


Mr. Jim Gavio - studied electrical engineering at Penn State Behrend and received a B.S. in secondary education from Edinboro University.  For the past 8 years Jim has been the director of the Erie Planetarium and has organized numerous public outreach and education initiatives. Jim's primary interests are in the field of planetary exploration and human spaceflight.

Mr. Phil Harrington - Phil Harrington has been gazing skyward ever he watched the total lunar eclipse of April 1968.  Phil is probably most familiar to amateur astronomers for his seven books about astronomy, including Star Ware, and Touring the Universe Through Binoculars.  His latest, entitled Star Watch, is being released in July by John Wiley & Sons, and will be available for purchase and author signing at Astroblast.

Dan Holler and Larry Stack - have been involved with astronomical CCD imaging for a number of years.  Both are familiar with cookbook and professional CCD imagers.

Dr. Jim LoPresto -  received his doctorate in Astrophysics from the University of Michigan.  He has received numerous awards for work in astronomy and has completed several post doctoral fellowships. He has authored one book and numerous articles. His research interests focus primarily on solar astronomy. He has recently become a permanent faculty member at the Mt. Wilson CUREA program and an observor on the new Kitt Peak SOLIS telescope.  Dr. LoPresto is currently on the physics and astronomy faculty of Edinboro University of Pennsylvania.

Mr. John Martin - had an early interest in astronomy that culminated in studying Astrophysics at Edinburgh University in Scotland.  He is now a Senior Software Engineer and designs and develops control systems.  He has spent a great deal of time over the past five years finding ways to adapt inexpensive items into astronomical treasures. Mr. John OHara - is an ORAS member with a rich history in amateur astronomy.  Over the years he has logged many 100s of hours of observation time, and has given numerous educational talks to both amateurs and the general public.

Mr. Tim Spuck - is a founding member of ORAS and a nationally recognized astronomy educator.  His focus over the years has been the implementation of authentic astronomical research into the high school science classroom.  Some  research his students have conducted includes determining the Hubble constant, supernovae and asteroid discoveries, and star formation.

Mr. Phillip J. Tramdack - is an ORAS member who lives in Stoneboro, PA and has logged over 650 observing sessions since 1992 with a 10" f/6 Dobsonian and a variety of other telescopes. During the daytime Tramdack is Director of Library Services at Slippery Rock University.

  How to find us...

The Oil Region Astronomical Observatory is located in Venango Countys picturesque Two Mile Run Park. The observatory is located in the Lockwood area of the park and is only a short drive from Oil City, Franklin or Titusville in the heart of Pennsylvanias Oil Country.

From Franklin: Take PA Route 417 north approximately 3 miles to the Y - intersection with Cherrytree Road. Veer right onto Cherrytree Road and drive approximately 3.5 miles. Lockwood and the observatory entrance are on your right.

From Oil City: Take PA Route 428 North 5.6 miles to Cherrytree Road. Take a left onto Cherrytree and proceed west through the park. The entrance to Lockwood and observatory will be on your left, approximately two miles past the park office.

For more information visit

Contact: Tim Spuck