Lot's of people milling around looking at our products during the 2016 Winter Star Party.
Above is the 1968 Airstream trailer we will be hauling our products around in for several years to come. Currently undergoing a complete refurbishing with new axles and rims, completely new flooring, all new wiring, new lighting and new electronics, new cabinets, completely new interior with 2 beds, full-size shower, self composting toilet, dining room and kitchen. We expect to have it back on the road in time for NEAF 2017!
Founder of Explore Scientific, Scott Roberts and Director of Specialty Sales, Greg Bragg will be visiting a number of star parties this coming year showing off our products including new refractors, long awaited DOB's and GoTo mounts and plan to visit a lot more in the future. Be sure and come to see us at a star party near you.
Our 2017 Plans... Note: changes in our plans are detailed below...
May 6-7: CANCELLED AstroCats This event has been cancelled by the organizers.
As you will see below there are a couple of events we would like to attend on the same week but of course is impossible. This makes it extremely hard to decide what to do. The decision process is sometimes based on attendance, sometimes its our connections, sometimes its the facility, sometimes its just a good felling about where we should go and sometimes its based on all of the above.
May 21-28 We won't be going this year... Texas Star Party: we apologize but we will be going to Yerkes Observatory for Explore Scientific Days at this world famous observatory. See that information below.
May 26-30: We wanna go, but can't make it this year... RTMC: we apologize but we will be going to Yerkes Observatory for Explore Scientific Days at this world famous observatory. See that information below.
May 26-28: Committed Yerkes Observatory - Explore Scientific Days: We will be showing our products to the general public during this holiday weekend. Please join us at this world famous observatory. BONUS: We will have a drawing for a private night on the 40" Refractor for a group of 12 of your friends. $1500 value. Register to win during this event.
June 21-25: We wanna go, but can't make it this year... Rocky Mountain Star Stare: we apologize but we will be attending the Golden State Star party. See that information below.
June 21-25: Committed Golden State Star Party: in Aden CA. This is one of our favorite star parties. The organizers and ranch owners are outstanding and we have gained many new friends at this event. Plus, the Old Mill Grill in Bieber CA is our favorite restaurant. With all of these great things begging us to go, we can't resist.
July 18-22: We wanna go, but can't make it this year... Table Mountain Star Party: we apologize but we will be attending the Starfest Canada Star Party. See that information below.
July 20-22: Committed StarFest Canada: I've been to this event maybe 5 times over the past 7-8 years. I've missed the last 3, I think. Because of this, we have committed to get back to this event - but that means not going to Table Mountain.
August 16-19: Committed ALCON National Convention in Casper WY. This proceeds the Great Solar Eclipse and is a trade show for members of the Astronomical League. To become a member and attend this show, click here. For info on the Great Eclipse: click here. For super cool Eclipse products from ES: click here.
August 21: Committed The Great Solar Eclipse Enough Said! Please find a location near you and witness one of the great events of your lifetime. We plan to be somewhere near Casper WY in the Airstream. I assure you, you won't want to miss this!
August 27-September 4: Committed Burning Man! in the Black Rock Desert of Nevada. Participants join in the effort to co-create Black Rock City, a temporary metropolis dedicated to art and community. Not sure what to expect out of this event. Just take a look at some of the images from the past few years. It's total craziness. BUT, they have an astronomy village and this is on our bucket list! We should get some interesting videos from this event.
September 16-24: Committed Okie-Tex in Kenton OK. You looking for a far away place with amazingly DARK skies? Look no farther. It's far from the nearest city - 37 miles southeast to Boise City OK and 32 miles to Seneca NM to the south and west. We love the people here and it is by far the darkest skies we are under.
October 15-22: Committed Peach State Star Gaze in the Deerlick Astronomy Village near Sharon and Washington GA. We were there in 2015 and had a great time. We look forward to going back. We will make a decision on this event before the end of July or early August.
October 16-21: We wanna go, but can't make it this year... Eldorado Star Party at the X-Bar ranch near Eldorado TX. Stan Meador and the folks of this event are awesome. Just can't say enough nice things about this event. Sorry Stan and the rest of our friends who attend this event...
Apr 8-9: NEAF What an incredible event!! This was the busiest event in years. A good sign for our hobby. Most of the dealers in attendance said it was a record year for sales and that too, is a good sign for our hobby. We showed off the ALMOST refurbished 1968 Airstream. Still lots of cabinetry to be finished, still some work on the shower and bathroom, but generally it is close to being fully refurbished. We showed off lots of products - the NEW EXOS2GT with PMC-Eight, the now shipping ES-G-11 with PMC-Eight, NEW 62° EP's, NEW - now shipping - FCD100 telescopes, NEW - now shipping - FirstLight products. We worked extremely hard but feel incredible to be a part of such a successful event. Thanks for stopping by and saying hello!
Feb 20-26: Winter Star Party As you can expect, weather in Florida in February is quite unpredictable. We had cool, windy and cloudy nights the first couple of days. It rained pretty hard on Wednesday all day but that evening it cleared a little and we had a few spotty hours of sucker holes and were able to do a little bit of viewing. Thursday was better but we fought cloud bands for several hours until we were just too exhausted to continue viewing. FRIDAY was the best night of the week - in fact, I'd call it the best night in years at this event. We showed off our amazing products including the brand new FCD100 scopes and the ES / Losmandy G-11 with PMC-Eight modifications.
Here's a time-lapse of the Milky Way shot looking south from the site:
We gave away an ES-ED10207-01 102mm ED APO Essential series telescope and the lucky winner was Jose Cardozo. Congrats Jose...
Oct 24-29: Eldorado Star Party is our favorite small event. Scott and Greg had an amazing time this year. The weather was the best its been in recent years and the sky was amazing. About 150 people attended and we saw many old friends and made a bunch of new friends. We posted a ton of videos and images on our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/ExploreScientificUSA/.
The Milky Way in all it's glory over Eldorado Star Party!
Oct 22-23: Formula1 Race in Austin Texas This year we, have devoted a couple of events to our Bresser binoculars. We spent a couple of days at the Formula One race in Austin Texas and made a variety of videos using the Bresser binoculars during the race. Check out this video from our Facebook page:
The crowds were huge each day at the Austin F-1 Race.
Oct 1-9: Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta It was a dream come true. Hundreds of thousands of people and hundreds of beautiful balloons. We shot lots of pictures and video to share on our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/ExploreScientificUSA/.
The event drew upwards of a million people over the event's 9 days. We loaned and sold several models of our Bresser binoculars. We plan to show more binoculars at upcoming star parties.
Sept: 24-Oct 2: Okie-Tex - We arrived on Saturday the 24th. Our guru of CS and QC, Mike Hatch was blown away by his first Star Party. Scott joined us on Tuesday.
As advertised, the Okie-Tex star party was once again a real treat. The dark skies were amazing and so were the people.
Mike's first star party was a success. Not only did he get real hands on experience, but he learned a lot about the night sky and how we handle daily activities at an event like this. I'm sure it will be beneficial to his daily opportunities at the offices of Explore Scientific.
Our setup at Okie-Tex
Milky Way over Kenton, OK. Taken 9/25/16 by Greg Bragg.
Greg and Scott had to leave a few days early to make their way to the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta on Thursday.
Aug 25-27: DayStar SolarFest and Evening Star Party. Daystar Filters (a division of Daystar Instruments) hosted the first SolarFest 2016 at the 35 acre ICSTARS ranch. Click link for full details. This is home to Daystar Instruments optical labs, manufacturing facility and a number of observatories. Greg, Scott and the fully loaded classic 1968 Airstream trailer arrived on Wednesday and stayed until Saturday. The weather - including a couple of amazing thunder storms - kept the crowds down a little but we saw some old friends and meet some new friends while there.
Aug 2-6: Table Mountain Star Party was awesome. The weather cooperated pretty well and gave us a couple of really clear and crisp nights. Greg, Scott and the fully loaded classic 1968 Airstream trailer arrived on Tuesday and set up our new mounts and about 10 scopes. We had a great time visiting and working with our dealers Cloud Break Optics and Oregon Observatory and hung out with lots of great people.
Here's a shot of the field (note: the ES booth and trailer is just left of center) with the northern stars shinning proudly overhead...
Jun 29-Jul 3: This year's Golden State Star Party was a huge success. Greg, Scott and the fully loaded classic 1968 Airstream trailer arrived with great anticipation. As we mentioned, this is one of our favorite events because of the location and the people. It's in a remote location near Adin, CA with great dark skies and the ranch owners are amazing people. This year was BY FAR the GSSP for ES thus far. The skies were amazing with 4 perfect nights. Each year the Albaugh's (ranch owners) host a Friday cookout, then door prizes are awarded to attendees. This year's winner has special meaning to many of the GSSP attendees. An ES 102mm Carbon Fiber telescope was awarded to Ryan from the Mountain Jewels Ranch. Congrats Ryan!! And then the grounds are open to an evening viewing session with locals. The turnout was great.
Special thanks to Toy, Laura and Mike for the hospitality and great food at the Old Mill Grill in Bieber, CA.
This was taken 07/02/16 by Greg Bragg. Scott walked along the side of the trailer with a red flashlight to "paint" the trailer for better visibility.
June 18: OPT's SCAE. Southern California Astronomy Event. This was a HUGE vendor event and Scott and I were there. We didn't have the '68 Classic Airstream due to the size and spaces available in this parking lot sale - not to mention the hours required to drive across this vast country for a one-day event - but we showed off a our new products, met new friends and saw lots of our old friends.
This is a fantastic dealer event and they offered special pricing on all of our stuff. If you get to Southern CA next year, be sure to stop by this event. It is awesome!
May 26-30: RTMC at YMCA Camp Oakes near Big Bear CA. Greg, Scott and the fully loaded classic 1968 Airstream trailer arrived on Thursday mid-day. We could just feel the energy in the air compared to past year's. We showed off our Explore Scientific telescopes and accessories. We had a nice crowd each night to look through our scopes and enjoy the night sky. There were other vendors on hand, but a few that should have been there that weren't. We hope they join us next year. There were opportunities to listen to presentations covering observing, using your telescope for imaging, and getting started in astronomy, plus a huge crowd on hand for the door prize giveaways. We look forward to seeing our old friends again next year.
May 21-22: AstroCats. This year's event was held in conjunction with the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada's general Assembly. Greg Bragg attended this year's event and worked in the Ontario Telescope and O'Telescope dealer's booths. Despite the small turnout, both dealers experience brisk sales and were very happy with the results of their efforts.
May 1-8: Texas Star Party. Greg, Scott and the fully loaded classic 1968 Airstream trailer arrived late Sunday afternoon. We showed off a couple of new products this year and saw many of our old friends. The weather and night sky were spectacular. Here's a shot made next door at the Sproul Ranch. The Milky Way was magnificent. Saturn and Mars were front and center every night around 4am.
April 9-10: NEAF So, NEAF was AWESOME this year. The crowds were large and great. Sales were brisk. We pulled the Airstream into the gym and used it as part of our display. Many people stopped by to look over our products and our shinny silver bullet. The trailer was a huge hit. Here's a quick review of the show along with some new products we announced at NEAF. Take a look.
Feb 8-14: Winter Star Party. Scott and Greg arrived after about 30 hours of drive time with our Airstream fully loaded with ES products. This year we showed several new items. First, we showed a new GoTo mount built by Losmandy but with modifications made by ES. This solid mount has now be outfitted with new motors, electronics and new software all designed and installed by ES. Several people used the NEW Open GoTo system with open source and found it to be very user friendly with many excellent features. We showed a NEW 165 ED APO refractor with Ohara FPL53. The views were simply amazing. We showed 3 NEW Hoya FCD100 refractor scopes and the feedback was very positive. We enjoyed seeing many of our old friends and enjoyed the questions and opportunities we have to share in our hobby.
Recap: Nov 11-15, Greg Bragg, Director of Specialty Sales, attending the annual Chiefland Fall Star Party this year. What a success! The crowd was great, the speakers were great and the skies were the best I've seen in years there. Each night we had some heavy dew and minor fog, but the skies were pristine. This party has a rich heritage and has undergone some recent major changes. The field is located a few miles from Chiefland FL almost due west of Gainesville about 20 miles from the Gulf of Mexico. Greg's first Chiefland Star Party was way back in 1998. He has attended 4-5 parties since and he looks forward to joining the crowd once again.
Recap: Oct 14-17, Greg Bragg, Director of Specialty Sales, attended the 22nd annual Peach State Star Gaze in Deerlick Village. The Deerlick Astronomy Village is located approximated 1 hour and 45 minutes east of downtown Atlanta out Interstate 20 near Sharon GA. The Peach State is organized by the PSSG Committee and the Atlanta Astronomy Club. This is Greg's 7th time to attend the Peach State going back to 1998. Greg was amazed to find as many Explore Scientific scopes as he did at this event. He counted upwards of 6 or 7 ES 127mm Carbon Fibers or Essential series ED refractors in use for viewing or imaging. He counted as many as 5 ES 102 Carbon fiber or Essential series scopes in use. Plus a few 80mm Essential or CF scopes being used to image the night sky. He showed off our scopes and eyepieces including amazing views through our 5" 127mm Carbon Fiber Refractor. He will also loaned out a handful of eyepieces for experiencing the joys of wide field views.
Recap: Oct 7-10, the Eldorado Star Party at the X-Bar Ranch near Eldorado, Texas sponsored by the Austin Astronomical Society, San Antonio Astronomical Association, and Hill Country Astronomers (Fredericksburg) with the support of the Texas Star Party, and volunteers from area clubs including Dallas and Houston. This is Greg's 6th time to attend Eldorado and he considers it one of his favorite star parties. It's a great place to visit and the people are incredible. We had sever rain most of the day Thursday and into the night and early Friday morning. The field got swamped and several cars and motorhomes got stuck. Greg wasn't able to setup up in the viewing field, but did setup in the lodge and showed eyepieces and a couple of scopes. Skies cleared nicely and on Friday and Saturday nights a bunch of us gathered behind the lodge and had some fun looking through the 6" 152mm f/8 Carbon Fiber Refractor and a few other scopes with our eyepieces. He also offered loaner eyepieces for others to experience the joys of wide field views. Thanks to Carl, John, Will, Lloyd and others for making Fri and Sat evening so enjoyable.
Recap: Sept 16-19 2015, the 2015 Okie-Tex Star Party sponsored by the Oklahoma City Astronomy Club at Camp Billy Joe near Kenton, OK in the panhandle of Oklahoma was incredible. We saw many old friends and Greg and Scott showed off our scopes and eyepieces under three really clear nights. We had hours of amazing views through our 6" 152mm f/8 Carbon Fiber Refractor. We also loaned eyepieces and many experienced the joys of wide field views. Friday night, we awarded a 102 Doublet as the grand prize to one lucky star party attendee.
Recap: Sept 10-13 2015, the Heart of America Star Party was a huge success. Scott and Greg watched an amazing thunder storm on Thursday night for a few hours and kept dry hanging out in the club's clubhouse. Friday and Saturday were great night's of viewing. We spent some time with comet hunter David Levy and he hung around our tent for a few days talking with amateurs and signed a bunch of his books. We did some viewing through our 152mm 6" CF refractor and a couple of other scopes we brought. We loaned some eyepieces and ventured out to look through other scopes on the field. Our friend's from Rochester MN brought their 30" DOB and we saw some incredible views of the Vail Nebulae, the Dumbbell Nebulae and several other deep sky objects that were mind blowing. We gave away a 102mm Doublet as the Grand Prize on the final evening and the winner was thrilled.
Recap: Aug 13-16 2015 Starfest Canada. This was Greg's 5th time at Starfest. He enjoyed seeing old friends and showing off our scopes and eyepieces. We had many people in line to take a peak through the 152mm 6" CF refractor and our 3" 100 degree 30mm eyepiece. Thanks to Andy for his assistance at the booth on Saturday.
Recap: SCAE July 25, 2015. This annual OPT event draws hundreds of people to a one-day parking lot show and huge sale. All the manufactures are there showing off their astronomy goods. The event ends with an enormous door prize drawing where almost $40K in astronomy products are raffled off for a good cause.
Recap: July 14-18 Golden State Star Party. This star party is becoming one of the more impressive we attend. The attendance is growing and the skies are awesome. The event is hosted by the Albaugh's and they are the most amazing family. The organizers are incredible, too.
Recap: June 27-28 AstroCats This was the 3rd AstroCats and our first. The crowd was decent and the location was terrific. Greg and Andy saw many old friends and enjoyed the event.
Recap: June 12-13 Cherry Springs Star Party. Greg arrived in a torrential downpour and the first night was washed out. The next night was also washed out so that event ended without any viewing. We did see a lot of people we know and showed our products during the day.
Recap: April 18-19 NEAF. Greg and Scott showed off a couple of new products and offered some special sale pricing.
Recap: May 10-14 Texas Star Party. Greg had some issues getting to the site because the flight from Dallas to Midland was cancelled. He rented a car and drove 8 hours to Ft Davis. The skies were great and the crowd was impressive. We enjoyed 2 nights of viewing and made some new friends.
Recap: Feb 17-21 Winter Star Party. Scott, Sheldon and Greg attended and unfortunately the weather didn't cooperate. The skies were mostly clear but the wind wreaked havoc on the viewing. Not one minute of viewing over 4 nights. We did see many of our old friends and enjoyed the questions and opportunities to share in our hobby.