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Julian StarFest 2019

August 1st - 3rd, 2019  Menghini Winery, Julian, CA

Brought to you by the San Diego Astronomy Association (SDAA) and the town of Julian

Calendar of Activities

Photographing the August Night Sky - A Workshop by Dennis Mammana

If you've always wanted to capture the magnificent Milky Way and the stars of summer, you'll never have a better chance!  Learn the basics of capturing these phenomena with little more than a camera and tripod... all from one of America's favorite night sky photographers. Participants should bring a camera that can be manually adjusted to take time exposures, a normal or wide-angle lens (preferably with an aperture of f/2.8 or faster) that can  focus manually, a solid tripod, a remote control or cable release (helpful, but not necessary) your camera user manual, and a flashlight (with a red LED or covered with red cellophane), and must have a good working knowledge of their equipment.

The Workshop:

On Friday afternoon you'll learn the basics of setting up your gear and shooting in complete darkness. And after dark, you'll have a chance to work with Dennis to try out your new knowledge under the beautiful Julian sky (weather permitting, of course).

Friday, August 5, 2016
3:30 - 5:00 p.m.   Lecture
8:15 - 9:45 p.m.  Photography


$50 per person
Register for this event on the Attendee Registration page.

About Dennis Mammana:
In addition to being a nationally syndicated columnist and a popular lecturer, Dennis is one of only six Americans to be an invited member of TWAN (The World At Night)—an international team of the world’s most highly-acclaimed night sky photographers. You can visit him online at or “Like” his Facebook page at

Live Feed - Woody Shlom

The "Live Feed" astro-video tent theater displays live and nearly-live video from telescopes onto video monitors and a video projection screen.  Because the cameras are much more sensitive than the human eye -- you will see the celestial objects in color and in much greater detail than through an eyepiece.   

During the day,  two side-by-side solar scopes, each with its own camera pointed at the same area of the sun, display different live detailed images because one scope "sees" the outer Chromosphere, while the other scope "sees" the next layer down, the Photosphere.     You'll see delicate and bold prominences on the Sun's limb reaching several Earth-diameters out into black space, and filaments, plage, hot-spots and perhaps a sunspot or two on the Sun's surface. You never know what kind of show the sun will put on -- and it constantly changes throughout the day. And who knows, you might even see a CME - Coronal Mass Ejection -- it happened a couple of years ago at    JSF.  

After dark, a computer-controlled telescope will tour the sky and display a deep-sky sampler of celestial objects including colorful    nebulae, dazzling globular clusters and multi-shaped far-away galaxies. No guarantees, but we found and displayed a comet with a faint tail last year.

Guest Speakers

We are planning another year of outstanding speakers! Speaker list and schedule will be added here as they are confirmed.


6:00 PM: John Garrett

Topic Title: "An unusual fascination for pin-hole projections and other optical analogies from my time in prism."

Description: Upon buying my first telescope, I wondered why the secondary mirror didn't affect the view through the scope. This bothered me for a long time. I eventually found the perfect analogy for a telescope by watching pin-hole projections. This analogy also explains magnification and focal ratios. The same curiosity has led me to discover that a few common illustrations of optical phenomena, from Herschel's discovery of infrared to the greenhouse effect, are presented incompletely or incorrectly. My talk is an illustrated story of my effort to improve these analogies.

Bio: John Garrett is a member of the Temecula Valley Astronomers, a contributor to the website Skeptical Science, and employed as an illustrator for Opto 22 in Temecula. His illustrations have appeared in science and trade journals, in a University of Queensland online course, and in film documentaries by National Geographic and movie director James Cameron. He has also been active with the International Dark-sky Association and has a TEDx talk on light pollution. His past presentations to Starfest and his TEDx talk are viewable from his website  He can be reached via his blog:

7:30 PM - Kin Searcy

Topic:  Palomar Science Update

Description: Latest information on the upgrades and new sensor packages underway at Caltech’s Palomar Observatory. The 48-iinch Schmidt is being upgraded with new optics and a new sensor package to increase the quality and coverage of the Palomar Transit Factory - becoming the Zwicky Transient Facility. There are new sensors, ARCHONS and DARKNESS, that will revolutionize detection. Take a brief journey from the story of classic discoveries - Quasars - through the demotion of Pluto, to the search for planets around other suns.

Bio: Kin Searcy is a retired electronic engineer who is the outreach coordinator for SDAA and a Master Docent at Palomar Observatory.


11 AM: Shane Haggard

Topic: "The Chemistry of the Universe"

Description: At one time or another, all science enthusiasts have heard Carl Sagan’s words: “We are made of star stuff.” But what does that mean exactly? Come learn about the incredible processes that create the calcium, potassium, iron and other elements that compose the universe around us.  Learn how we study chemical processes that occur in space and how they might have led to life on earth.

Bio: Shane Haggard is an assistant professor of analytical chemistry at San Diego City College and a HUGE science geek.  His love of science and space started when he was very young and wanted to be an astronaut.  His love of chemistry and instrumentation that lead him to become a chemical engineer and help design rocket engines.  He still has a passion for science and chemistry along with the instruments used to study not only our own planet, but all the other bodies of the universe!

12:30 PM - Dennis Mammana

Topic: The Great American Total Solar Eclipse

Description: If your bucket list includes a total solar eclipse… well, get ready. Our next will occur in little more than a year, when the moon's shadow sweeps across the continental U.S. for the first time in nearly four decades. Learn the fine details of the eclipse, the best places to experience it, and why you must absolutely not miss this stunning once-in-a-lifetime celestial event!

2:00 PM: Dan Drinnon  

Topic: "The OSIRIS-REx Asteroid Sample Return Mission"  

Description: OSIRIS-REx seeks answers to the questions that are central to the human experience: Where did we come from? What is our destiny? Asteroids, the leftover debris from the solar system formation process, can answer these questions and teach us about the history of the sun and planets.   The OSIRIS-REx spacecraft is traveling to Bennu, a carbonaceous asteroid whose regolith may record the earliest history of our solar system. Bennu may contain the molecular precursors to the origin of life and the Earth’s oceans. Bennu is also one of the most potentially hazardous asteroids, as it has a relatively high probability of impacting the Earth late in the 22nd century. OSIRIS-REx will determine Bennu’s physical and chemical properties, which will be critical to know in the event of an impact mitigation mission. Finally, asteroids like Bennu contain natural resources such as water, organics, and precious metals. In the future, these asteroids may one day fuel the exploration of the solar system by robotic and manned spacecraft.  

Bio: Dan Drinnon works on the OSIRIS-REx Mission as a Systems Administrator at the University of Arizona and is an amateur astronomer whose main interests lie in restoring classic telescopes and using them for planetary imaging.   Website:

3:30 PM: Bill Carton

Topic Title: "Why SpaceX is the most exciting 'New Space' company"

Bill Carton will be sharing the story and challenges of the most successful private spaceflight company in history.

Description: We'll explore SpaceX's flight history, technology, and their incredible successes creating the first truly reusable rocket. SpaceX provides commercial satellite launches, resupply missions to the International Space Station, NASA Observation payload launches, and soon...will be the first private company carrying astronauts to the ISS, a capability the US lost with the premature retirement of the Shuttle five years ago.

Bio: Bill is an electrical engineer (not in the aerospace industry), life long spaceflight enthusiast, and administrator of the SpaceX facebook group that's 18,000+ strong.


Activities on Friday and Saturday are available in the Vendor/Exhibit area.

Note: Day use does not require pre-registration.  Admission to the Vendor / Exhibit area is $5.00 per adult, $2.50 for Teens (13 to 18) payable at the gate.  Children, 12 and under are free.  Admission for registered campers is included in their camping fee.  Just show your wrist band for admission to the Vendor / Exhibit area. 

You only have to pay once for admission.  Your wrist band will allow you entrance for both days of activities.


Here are just some of the prizes offered in the 5 PM Opportunity Drawing on August 6th:

FOCUS Astronomy Outreach: 3” f/4 table top Dobsonian “Heritage” telescope (KIDS ONLY DRAWING)

Sky-Watcher USA: 6” Traditional Dobsonian (KIDS ONLY DRAWING)

Explore Scientific: 100° 9mm eyepiece

Celestron: SkyMaster Pro 15x70 binocular

Losmandy Astronomical Products: Gift Cards

Palomar College Planetarium: Passes

Sky-Watcher USA: 16” Collapsible Dobsonian: The 16” Collapsible dobsonian is Sky-Watcher's largest production telescope. The 16” mirror offers 4x more light gather power than an 8” telescope. The collapsible design allows for easier transport and storage while the base breaks into pieces to make it lighter. With a retail price of $2199 Sky-Watcher USA is pleased to offer our largest telescope as a door prize for the 9 th annual Julian Starfest.