A hearty congratulations to AstroAssembly Chairperson Ted Ferneza for an absolutely superb event! A tremendous success! I'm usually not at a loss for words, but I'd have to consult a thesaurus to use all the appropriate adjectives to describe how great AstroAssembly 2005 was.
I've heard nothing but praise from attendees and our featured guest speakers alike. One of our speakers, author Bill Sheehan, who regularly attends events like ours, thinks AstroAssembly is the best convention he has ever attended. Bill is a history buff as well, and is fascinated by the story of Frank Seagrave. I plan on keeping Bill informed of my research. Bill also told us he plans on becoming a member of Skyscrapers! What better compliment can one make.
And Story Musgrave ... what can you say. He was fantastic. I had the pleasure of providing him a tour of the Clark refractor and a short history of Frank Seagrave and Skyscrapers. He is the most inquisitive person I have ever met. He was fascinated by everything he saw. (I later remarked to Dan Lorraine that he was so inquisitive I likened him to an alien experiencing things on Earth for the first time. Little did I know that is exactly how he would start out his presentation later that evening, explaining how he was like that as a young child as well.) At one point he started moving the large observing ladder around. I was wondering what he was going to do. He placed it at the open slit overlooking the courtyard and proceeded up the ladder and popped his head out of the dome doorway! All the while I held the ladder firmly until he stepped down. I only wish I had had my camera, or someone outside had looked up at that moment!
Story's presentation was well received by everyone. Following a prolonged standing ovation, Dan Lorraine presented Story with a beautiful painting (commissioned specifically for this occasion and painted by NASA artist Ed Hengeveld from the Netherlands) of Story looking out of the space shuttle window at the Hubble Space Telescope.
In all my 30+ years as a Skyscraper attending AstroAssembly, this was the best event ever. (the Clyde Tombaugh visit in 1987 runs a close second!)
Thanks again to Ted as AstroAssembly Chairman, Dan Lorraine for convincing Story and Bill Sheehan to attend. Thanks to all our other afternoon speakers, Jim Head and our old friend John Briggs. Thank you to our Friday night speakers as well. Thank you to all who attended (138 folks, not including the speakers).
And last, but certainly not least, a well deserved thank you to the Skyscraper Trustees, all the volunteers who helped prepare the grounds for this event, and all the other Skyscraper members who pitched in to help make Astro Assembly 2005 a tremendous success. A special thank you to Kathy and Steve Siok for organizing and operating the Stardust Grille, as well as the wine and cheese reception! Kathy was also responsible for producing the program brochure. Thanks also to Dolores Rinaldi for the fine Space Shuttle ice sculpture. And, thanks to our master of ceremonies and top-notch AV guru Scott Tracey for his outstanding service throughout our event.
When I became president of Skyscrapers in May I told you how proud I was to be a Skyscraper. Every member should be proud of the Skyscraper organization. And I, for one, am even more proud today!
Congratulations to everyone on a job well done.
And finally, don't forget to attend our next monthly meeting on Friday, November 4, 2005 at 7:30 pm, when Cranston East teacher Howard Chun will present a talk about his research projects with the Spitzer Space Telescope teacher research program. See you all then.
President, Skyscrapers, Inc.
I greatly enjoyed AstroAssembly -- as I said at the time, it was the best astronomical meeting I've ever attended.
- Dr. William Sheehan