BoBfest - The Regional Gathering of Amateur Astronomers

Presentations, Table Top Forums, and Speakers


Saturday Keynote Presentations



9:45am - 10:30am Main Event Room

Joe Heafner
Public Outreach With Unistellar Telescopes


We are witnessing a revolution in how astronomy clubs can do public outreach. Small aperture imaging telescopes have become available, some for as little as $500, that require essentially no setup at all and allow literally anyone to immediately take digital images of celestial objects. These telescopes also allow anyone to get involved in astronomical research resulting in peer reviewed publications. In this talk, I will demonstrate two Unistellar automated telescopes. One is a eVscope 2 belonging to the Catawba Valley Astronomy Club (graciously donated by Dr. James Hermann of Lincolnton, NC). The other is an eQuinox 2 belonging to me. Attendees are encouraged to bring iOS or Android phones and tablets to this talk in order to actively participate in the demo. I will show images taken with both telescopes and will describe how CVAC uses these telescopes at our Public Night events at Lucile Miller Observatory. The innovation is that now, members of the general public can take actual digital astronomical images in real time with absolutely no previous experience whatsoever. Indications are that this will attract newcomers to astronomy and potentially to your club membership.

Joe Heafner, AAPT Fellow, began providing learning environments for astronomy and physics in 1992. His approach to teaching emphasizes the model of critical thinking developed by Richard Paul and Linda Elder, and the reasoning behind science rather than blind use of equations. He was the first physics instructor in North Carolina to adopt Matter and Interactions, a reformed introductory calculus-based physics curriculum incorporating computer modeling. His introductory astronomy course has a flavor unlike that at any other institution. His fourth book is an inquiry-based introductory astronomy textbook. Joe left the Community College System in 2021 due to changes by administrators that made carrying out the classroom mission untenable, and now identifies as an Independent Scholar. He is heavily involved with grant work at the national level with AAPT and advocates for community college faculty rights and autonomy, both of which are under attack by internal and external political forces. When not advocating for community college faculty, Joe studies ways to modernize the introductory physics curriculum by having an improved mathematical foundation and by incorporating special and general relativity.


10:45am - 11:30am Main Event Room

Johnny Horne
The April 8 Total Solar Eclipse


With the April 8 eclipse just weeks away, Johnny Horne is hoping to see his 6th total eclipse under cloudless Texas skies.
Whatever happens that day weatherwise, he knows it will be memorable.
Johnny will talk about past eclipses and how he photographed them…unless it was cloudy. Heck, he’ll talk about being clouded out too. Besides, solar eclipses, he’ll cover some other recent astrophotos he’s lost sleep over and some roads he’s gone down with some amazing imaging equipment (mostly other people’s stuff.)

Johnny Horne retired in 2016 after 44 years as a staff photographer and photo editor for The Fayetteville Observer.
An amateur astronomer since age 10 and driven by the early days of the US space program, he ground and polished a 6-inch telescope mirror at age 14.
Johnny is a contributing editor for Sky and Telescope and has written and illustrated S&T Test Reports since 1988.
He photographed Halley’s Comet from the Australian Outback and has served as a photography resource person for S&T solar eclipse expeditions to Mexico, Africa, the Caribbean and Iceland. Since 1989 Johnny has written the monthly astronomy column “Backyard Universe” for The Fayetteville Observer. He taught photography classes at Fayetteville Technical Community College from 2009-2021.
In 2004 The International Astronomical Union named asteroid 11132Horne in Johnny’s honor for his years of public outreach in astronomy.
Most clear nights he’s in his backyard observatory he built in 1978 and still uses, especially since retirement.




Saturday Afternoon Table Top Talk Forums



1:00pm - 2:00pm Room 4
Brian Hissom
Simple Astrophotography and Image Modification With Your Smartphone

Learn very basic photography and photo editing techniques using an iPhone. We will discuss and share ways were can use this powerful astrophotography tool that we have in our pockets to enhance our enjoyment of this hobby.

Brian explains how easy it is to get decent photos of the night sky with your smartphone. Basic image modifications such as contrast and detail are covered
Brian became interested in astronomy after watching a lunar eclipse with his father at age six and continued learning about being an amateur from his Dad, Scoutmasters, and friends eventually joining the Catawba Valley Astronomy Club in 1989. He enjoyed public outreach, visual observing and when Sky & Telescope magazine arrives at his home all other reading stops until that months issue is devoured!


1:00pm - 2:00pm Room 5
Dr Jim Gaiser and Rick Bassham
The Gayle H. Riggsbee Observatory

The Gayle H. Riggsbee Observatory (GHRO) is one of the largest amateur observatories on the East Coast. The observatory has telescopes that are available for use by The Charlotte Amateur Astronomy Club members after they have been trained in their proper use and care. These telecopes include an 8 inch f/15 Alvan Clark Refractor, a 16 inch f/10 cassegrain, a 24 inch F/5 newtonian, and a 102mm Lunt H-Alpha solar telescope. In addition, there is the Ken Steiner Outreach Center which includes a classroom, a warm-up room with microwave ovens and refrigerator, rest rooms, and a shower.



1:00pm - 2:00pm Room 6
Anthony Love
Meteorites and Meteor wrongs!

Do you think you have a meteorite? Let Anthony Love test it at BoBfest. Anthony explains the characteristics of space rocks and how to tell meteorites from meteor wrongs!

Mr. Love is with the Appalachian State University Department of Geological and Environmental Sciences as Research Operations and Laboratories Manager. He provides invaluable technical help to faculty and students, provides public school lectures and laboratory instruction, and performs a diverse array of services in support of instruction and research. Anthony is an ardent rock climber and works closely with a number of local climbing groups. He won the Access Funds Bebie Leadership Award in 2010 and the College of Arts and Sciences Outstanding Staff Award in 2017. His scientific passion involves classifying meteorites, and his work with different types of meteorites has been showcased in Appalachians news.


2:15pm - 3:15pm Room 4
Becca Brehm
Constellations and Star Lore for Beginners

This is the perfect session for all ages to learn some of the most common constellations and associated star lore.



2:15pm - 3:15pm Room 5
Bill Griswold
Digital Astrophotography - A 2 part journey

A look at how Digital Astrophotography has changed since the early 2000s. Technology changes have greatly improved the ability of amateurs to produce very nice images. Virtually every phase of the process has changed. This was accentuated by a 8-10 year hiatus that was a bit shocking on my return at just how different things were. This is evident in my pictures before and after the hiatus.

Bill explores the modern traditional methods of astrophotography with astronomy cameras, guided telescopes, and computer processing

Recently retired after working over 42 years in the medical imaging industry and 4 years in the US Air Force. My wife Debby and I have 2 children and 4 grandchildren. We have been living in the Carolinas since 1995. We now live a few miles south of Newton and have been there since 2010.


2:15pm - 3:15pm Room 6 Or Outside
Joe Heafner
Solar Observing with the Unistellar

I will demonstrate two Unisteller telescopes, an eVscope 2 (donated to CVAC by Dr. James Hermann) and an eQuinox 2 (owned by me), in real time and show how we use them for public outreach at Lucile Miller Observatory. Attendees are encouraged to bring a fully charged iOS or Android phone and an iPad or Android tablet. Weather permitting, I will demonstrate safe solar observing with the telescopes later in the day. Both telescopes will be available for use at LMO Saturday evening.
See Keynote Information above for Bio