Because SAO is a fully online program, participants either never or very rarely get to actually meet each other or their instructors. It had been suggested for some time that SAO should organise a series of face-to-face gatherings in various countries around the world so that the SAO community could come together and meet each other! Hence “AstroFest” was born. SAO was delighted to host its inaugural AstroFest in Texas, USA, from 12-14 October 2007. AstroFest 2007 was open to the entire SAO community – alumni, students and instructors.
The inaugural AstroFest 2007 was held in Quanah, Texas, USA. Why Texas you ask? Because the very generous folk of the Three Rivers Foundation offered us the use of their Comanche Springs Astronomy Campus, a 50 acre dark sky site located about 15 miles west of Crowell, Texas. Comanche Springs hosted a 12.5″ Ritchey-Chretien, an 8″ refractor, a 22″ binocular telescope, a bunch of Obsession Dobs (15″, 18″, 20″, 25″ and 30″), as well as filters and CCD cameras etc.
AstroFest 2007 included a series of astronomy lectures, hands-on demonstrations and night observing, as well as a chance for SAO alumni and students to present their own research results.