Each year around this time, thousands of skywatchers, scientists and telescope manufactures flock to Suffern, New York for a weekend reveling at the stars the Northeast Astronomy Forum. This year, due to the coronavirus pandemic, the event has gone virtual and you can watch it live for free today (April 6), no tickets needed.
The Northeast Astronomy Forum, or NEAF, is organized by the Rockland Astronomy Club and has been held for nearly three decades at SUNY Rockland Community College. NEAF 2020 was originally scheduled for this weekend, April 4-5, but the coronavirus pandemic forced organizers to postpone the live event to help curb the spread of COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus.
Instead, NEAF 2020 will hold a one-day free event from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. EDT (7 a.m. – 5 p.m. PDT). You can tune in to the livestream event here directly from NEAF. It is also being streamed live on YouTube here.
The event promises to be packed “featuring product demonstrations, fantastic vendor discounts, door prizes, and amazing speakers that have made the Northeast Astronomy Forum legendary,” organizers said in a statement.”
Among the speakers in today’s forum will be Thomas Zurbuchen, NASA Associate Administrator for science missions; C. Alex Young, the agency’s associate director for science, heliophysics division; Samuel Hale, executive director of the Mount Wilson Observatory in California; Dianna Colman, chair of the Yerkes Foundation to Save Yerkes; and planetary scientist Janni Radebaugh, who will discuss Dragonfly, a mission to send a helicopter to Saturn’s moon Titan.
Today’s one-day livestream is not the end for NEAF 2020. Organizers and CUNY Rockland Community College have rescheduled the event for Sept. 12 and 13.