As a camper from South Ozone Park in Queens from 1972 to 1978, Leon Collins found himself captivated by the night sky. Today, he is a dad who lives with his family in nearby Branford, Connecticut and he is also an amateur astronomer who is a proud member of the New Haven Astronomical Society.

Leon - Alumni WeekendLeon returned to Incarnation, for the first time in more than thirty years (pictured on the left with his hand on Andy Katsanis" shoulder), to share his expertise and passion with the current generation of Pioneer Village (PV) campers.

In a two-night festival called "Night Sky Appreciation" campers enjoyed viewing The Perseid meteor shower of 2013 as well other wonders of the summer night sky. Campers also learned how to find the North Star and even tracked the International Space Station as it passed over the camp. Finally, the group viewed globular star clusters, double stars, the planet Neptune and the Ring Nebula through Leon’s Celestron CPC 1100 telescope. The picture below of the Ring Nebula is from Leon’s collection of astrophotographs actually taken through the telescope he shared with the group.

Leon - Night SkyAccording to Leon, "It was wonderful to reconnect with camp and old friends after so many years. The opportunity to get involved with PV and the current generation of campers was extremely rewarding. I knew that I did something right when one camper walked up to me and said, ‘Hey Leon, I counted 52 shooting stars tonight!’"

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