A Full Moon for Cancer

By Phil Plait | June 15, 2009 9:25 am

My friend Maria is a skeptic in Atlanta (in fact, she’s a Skepchick in Atlanta). As it so happens, Dragon*Con is in Atlanta every year, and a bunch of sciencey types will be in attendance. Putting the two together, along with her incredible energy and motivation, Maria and the Atlanta Skeptics have organized a fantastic event: "A Full Moon in Cancer", a star party the night before D*C, with my friend Dr. Pamela Gay and me hosting.

The event is in honor of Jeff Medkeff, an astronomer, skeptic, friend, and a wonderful man. Jeff died last year of cancer — regular readers may remember him as having named an asteroid after several skeptics, including me. Jeff loved astronomy and skepticism, and was planning on attending Dragon*Con last year, but the cancer got him first. All proceeds from the star party go to the American Cancer Society.

The star party will be on Thursday, September 3, 2009, at 7 p.m. and will be held at the Bradley Observatory at Agnes Scott College. They have fine facilities, and it should be a great event. The Moon will be up, as will be Jupiter — and that’s an unforgettable sight through a big telescope. Plus, Pamela and I will be there to guide you and to answer your questions about astronomy.

And it’s for charity, a good one. If you plan on coming to Dragon*Con, then why not come down a day night early and help out a good cause? Where else can you help fight cancer as well as get a chance to take in the whole Universe?


Comments (25)

  1. Colin J

    Wish I could! Sounds like a great event for a great cause.

  2. The full moon has been an important symbol for humans since the beginning of time. Kids working on science fair projects can explore our connection with the moon in their projects. For example, you can determine how the moon impacts reproduction, food production and the tides. Also, you can see if it impacts people’s moods and behavior.

  3. Aerimus

    I might try to make it. I’m still trying to figure out how to pay for our room, though, since I am jobless at the moment…

  4. The Other David M.

    After reading the title, I’m just glad your pants are staying up.

  5. Now, just to clarify…

    By full moon, we’re talking about the natural satellite that orbits the Earth, and not the exposed cheeks of frat boys or party attendees?

    The promised star gazing – will there be a telescope involved, or are we all merely allowed to gaze upon Phil and Pamela during the event?

    Okay, and one serious question… Would there be any way to find a ride from the D*C Hotels in Atlanta out to the location? Buses?

  6. Yes, the naming is intentional :)

  7. coolstar

    Best of luck with the star party. It’s hard to think of a more
    fitting memorial to one good astronomer.

  8. The Moon will be smack full, not much but albedo features there to look at. Wah! Jupiter will be the star of the show, followed by Neptune & Uranus and maybe some globs. Forget about DSOs, Decatur is lost in Atlanta’s skyglow. See this site:
    to asses the sky conditions there (or anywhere else in Canada, US & Mexico for that matter!)
    I’ll make a big attempt to attend this year. I’m minimally employed, might be able to make it. Maybe link up with a number of folks crashing in a motel?

  9. I’ll be arriving in Atlanta with my sister (first time for her) sometime Thursday afternoon.

    I have a low cost hotel reserved in Chamblee (only $45/night).

    I’ll be representing both the Milwaukee Time Lords (20th anniversary this year!) and the Milwaukee Astronomical Society.

    Atlanta residents: Is there a Marta station with parking near the site?

  10. Lisa

    Julie…there are no stations with parking downtown where the convention is. However, there
    is a station in Chamblee and one in Doraville (about 5 minutes from Chamblee). You don’t really want to drive downtown if you don’t have to. It’s not fun.

    Phil, sorry we’re not gonna make it. I’m not telling my son, because he will be very mad to miss seeing you again this year. We are going to AZ to Terri Pratchett’s convention. Gonna take a road trip with the kids. I hope to find a good dark place to show them stars with no city light.

  11. The Agnes Scott campus is (according to their web site) a three-block walk from the Decatur stop on East-West MARTA line. Should be a pleasant walk — Decatur is a nice little area.



    We’ll get more detailed maps of the campus together and posted on the web site well in advance.

  12. Quiet Desperation

    What?! The full moon causes cancer? AAAAAAAAAAAAH! Run away! Wait… you can’t even run away! AAAAAAAAAAAH!

  13. kalaivani

    Use the full moon from now on as a symbol for cancer!

  14. TheManVersion

    “After reading the title, I’m just glad your pants are staying up.” — The Other David M.

    Well, we haven’t exactly ironed out the agenda yet, so no promises. It *is* DragonCon, after all. Phil might also be dressed as a Hentai Ewok.

  15. kalaivani

    Something new but good idea!

  16. John B

    Hentai. Ewok.

    There’s two words that never need to be conjoined. EVER. Again.


    That being said – We’ll see about seeing your famous smiling face there, o Astronomer of Baddosity!

  17. Yay!!! I’ll be there helping out, hopefully… still waiting on the final word for the dates on my work travel. I’m excited!

    Hey, Richard! You’re going, too? Tim and I are driving from CVille if we can make it… wanna carpool?

  18. I’m in Athens, GA and for once, I’m told about such an event soon enough to plan and budget for it. Thanks for the info.

  19. Alli

    I knew Jeff. He was a wonderful man.

  20. Mark Hansen

    Gary Ansorge (the real one), after seeing this happen again, I’m even more convinced that they’re by a quasi-stellar radio source. What I want to know is why that 12 year old fool has decided to use your name. Bring on registration.

  21. Karen Medkeff

    I think the timing is awesome. Jeff loved to look at the moon. He would often point out many of the features to me and got me interested in studying it sometimes.

  22. Mez

    Speaking of anniversaries, that’ll be 70 years since my ancestors heard over the wireless that “Great Britain, and therefore Australia, is at war” with Germany.

  23. Kwix

    Drat! This is the one time I will not be attending D*Con!
    Okay, not THE one time, but one of the few times.


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