All good things deserve time to reflect upon. For me, this statement takes on a couple different interpretations in regard to ACME2024. The first is in regard to my astrophotography. While at ACME, I showed the participants the amazing images my small Dwarf II can produce out of camera with no editing. When I got home, I refined the image. I stacked the individual .fits files captured, deleted the images that had motion blur and edited them with special Astrophotography macros in Affinity Photo. Here are the two images.
The above images can teach us a few things. First, the technology of getting into astronomy is advancing rapidly! There has never been a better time to get into amateur astronomy and astro-imaging.
The edited image also shows that you don’t need to spend thousands of dollars to capture nice images of the night sky. With time, patience, reflection and refinement, you can create beautiful images of deep space objects.
Time, patience, reflection and refinement. These are good terms to describe what I have experienced since coming home from ACME2024. Upon arrival home, my “day job” of being a Pastor took off and has been running as usual. As is customary when I get back from Arizona, many of my parishioners at St. Olaf asked me, “How was your trip?” This simple question has given me many opportunities to reflect on my experience of ACME and refining my assessment of the experience.
“This was one of the most cohesive and participatory groups we’ve had.” This statement has been the summary in many of my discussions this past week. One of the barriers every ACME group needs to overcome is the presumption that the workshop is a week of sitting back and waiting to be fed material.
Don’t get me wrong, there are many “drinking from the firehose” moments of information received. However, the real magic comes when the participants engage in the events and then share their thoughts over meals, bus rides and late nights of stargazing.
As I’ve shared in the past, ACME is not a “spoon feeding” experience. Instead, the participants are thrown into the world of professional astronomy and are asked to patiently reflect on these experiences. In short, the Vatican Observatory staff and other presenters don’t give the bridge between faith and astronomy to the participants. The participants find that bridge in them.
To those who attended ACME last week: What has time, patience, reflection and refinement revealed to you about your experience? If you would, leave your thoughts below. I’d love to hear from our newest ACME friends or from past participants too!