Celestron recently made a door prize donation of a NexStar 4SE to the Virginia Association of Astronomical Societies Conference (VAAS) held October 9th on the campus of Roanoke College in Salem, Virginia. I received the following email from the winner; Mark Poore, secretary of the Roanoke Valley Astronomical Society (RVAS), host club for VAAS.
"I want to thank you for such an amazing donation....much to my amazement, one of my family's tickets was drawn as the winner of the NexStar 4SE! We jumped out of our seats with excitement and could hardly believe it was true.
...(My sons and I) started amateur astronomy only a few years ago, and have wished for a GoTo scope to call our own. In addition to being a hobby, astronomy is part of the boys' home school curriculum and I can assure you the scope will be put to very good use. Actually it already has.
On Monday night after we won the scope on Saturday, the boys and I did our own outreach in the neighborhood. We set up the NexStar 4se that we won at VAAS in an empty lot across the street from our home. My wife called several neighbors with children to come over and a couple neighbors saw the red flashlights and wondered what was happening. I'm pleased to report that, thanks to Celestron's generosity, 11 folks from 6 different families came out to see Jupiter, the Moon, and several constellation locations, plus general sky gazing through the scope towards the heart of the Milky Way. None of the neighbors had ever seen Jupiter or the Moon through a telescope before. There were lots of oohs and ahhs and wows. Luke and Seth were great outreach guides - explaining things, where to look, how to focus, how the telescope worked, the names of Jupiter's moons, etc. All of the neighbors were impressed that the telescope could automatically locate items in the sky and commented how nice it was for Celestron to donate such an impressive item as a conference door prize.
Because of its portability, we plan to take the telescope to RVAS outreach events in the coming months and years. So, not only has your generosity made a life-long impression on my family, it will help introduce others to the wonders of the night sky.
Best wishes and again thank you very much!"
Mark Poore, Secretary
Roanoke Valley Astronomical Society
Celestron is always thrilled to receive letters from the winners of our product donations. We make every effort to support the astronomy community and to help inspire interest in our amazing Universe. Thank you to the Mark Poore family for sharing your new telescope with your community and paying it forward!