NEAF 2011 – Alan Traino Interview 1

NEAF LogoNEAF 2011 won't be held until April 16th and 17th, 2011 but if you're an amateur astronomer it's never too early to start thinking about NEAF! For those of you who have never heard of the Northeast Astronomy Forum, it is the largest amateur astronomy event in the world. It is held yearly at Rockland Community College in Suffern, NY. And, yes, it is definitely worth the trip if you don't live near Suffern. (You can find a link to the NEAF web site at the bottom of this interview.)

Naturally, Share Astronomy is going to thoroughly cover NEAF 2011. We are starting today with the first of several interviews with Alan Traino the Chairperson of NEAF.

NEAF will celebrate its 20th anniversary in 2011. Is anything special planned?
Yes it is our 20th, I am working on this as we speak. One thing I plan to do is invite every speaker we have ever had. I would love to have one of the science type channels get more involved with the show. I think it would be a natural for them. We also plan to have many other exhibitors from groups we have met this year at some of the huge science events in New York and Washington.

What vendors will be attending as of today (December 8, 2010)?
I just started calling last week to get an idea of the floor plan for next year. Looks like it will be growing again. I have 70 as of today and I have not even sent out the real email blast or vendor letters. I will send out the email blast to the vendors in a few weeks… You can see the list posted on Cloudy Nights. And I will add to it as we go… (Editor's Note: Here is the link Alan is referring to on Cloudy Nights.)

How many vendors will you be able to accommodate in 2011?
Over 200 is what the field house can hold. Last year we had over 130 vendors/exhibitors.

Who will be speaking at NEAF 2011?
Are you looking for an early Christmas present? Santa told me not to tell…..but I will say Mr Fix It will be there with his friends ho ho ho!

Last year you had a big emphasis on kids. Is there any special focus for this year?
Well in my book the kids will always come first. But this year we plan to focus on adding more dimensions to the show. I am looking into adding more Meteorites, minerals as a way of getting another science based group involved in astronomy. I also plan to have the birds of prey exhibit back (by very popular demand). We also will have many professional astronomers on hand to work with kids. I have been doing a lot of Solar outreach along with Robert Moore who has been doing star lab planetarium shows for local schools, in so doing creating interest from our local schools/parents and a lot from P.T.A organizations. We expect to see many of them at the event, so we want to focus on this avenue. I also am working on many other things for the attendees to enjoy at the show…..You can also expect
to see many new vendors from around the world, with new products and services.

Ken, one thing I want your readers to know is if we don't get kids involved in Astronomy at an early age, we will be helping to end amateur astronomy as we know it. We all need to unite, and I mean Everyone! Amateurs/vendors/manufacturers and educators to help to share our love of the heavens with our youth. Please consider going to a local school or library and offer to host a small moon or planet evening. Don't worry about lights and or deep sky views. Just the moon or a Planet is enough to WOW them all…Once you start you will not want to stop. If you have a Solar setup even better. Talk to one of the science teachers and they will love you. I look at NEAF as my outreach to the whole astronomic community, so expect the unexpected from me as always….I will be scheming for sure………

Oh and if you have never attended….. This would be a good time to think about being there, after all 19 years of practice makes perfect…….

Thank you everyone for the last 19 years. A lot of work has been done over the time but the real work lies ahead…..OUTREACH OUTREACH OUTREACH!!!!!!

The best clear skies to all. And I hope to see you there.

Thank you Alan!

You can find the NEAF web site here:

If you are interested in what went on at NEAF 2010, click on "April 2010" under the Archives heading on the right side of this page.

As I said, we're going to have several interviews with Alan so check back often! Plus we have a few other NEAF surprises of our own!

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