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OCA General Meeting
Friday November 11th, 2011, 7:30 PM
Chapman University
Free and open to public more

Members' Presentations Night
(short talks by OCA members)

Steve Condrey
Steve Condrey

Universe of Particles

Larry McDavid
Larry McDavid

Jim Benet
Jim Benet

Steve Condrey
"Chemistry in the Interstellar Medium"
This presentation is based upon undergraduate work in inorganic chemistry I did while at UC San Diego. At the time (1990) my conclusions were tentative, but the work itself was considered sound by my instructors. Since then, with the advent of data from the Hubble and Spitzer telescopes, evidence is tending to support my hypothesis that interstellar dust grains act as intermediaries in coupling reactions, allowing short-chain hydrocarbons to form. The hypothesis is further extended to cover the formation of more complex organic molecules observed in comets and other primordial bodies.
I have been a member of OCA since 1994; editor of Sirius Astronomer since 2003; on the OCA board of trustees 2006-2007; and a frequent What's Up? presenter. In addition I volunteered with the JPL Telescopes in Education program at Mt. Wilson Observatory from 2002-2004. I graduated from UC San Diego in 1991 with a BA in the history of science and minors in chemistry and mathematics. Currently pursuing an MS degree in quality assurance from CSU Dominguez Hills and the Certified Quality Engineer certification from the American Society for Quality. My main focus in the past has been lunar and planetary observing but I am transitioning to armchair astronomy--specifically astrophysics and planetology--given that parenthood and graduate work combined have placed serious limitations on my observing time. My background in quality assurance includes a strong emphasis on statistical tools that I hope to apply to astronomical data in the future.

"CERN and it's particles"
My research at the University of California, Irvine took me to the European Laboratory for Particle Physics in Geneva, Switzerland during the summer of 2010. In this talk I will be presenting a short overview of the science involved and the experiences I had.
I am the current vice president of the OCA and responsible for the variety of speakers we have had since the beginning of 2010. My undergraduate degree is in physics form UCI.

Larry McDavid
"The Ralph Larkin Sundial and Its Connection to the Mt. Lowe Observatory"
The Ralph Larkin Memorial Sundial located in nearby Claremont, California is an unusual analemmic equatorial dial that shows accurate civil time without the need for the usual EOT and longitude corrections. The dial is dedicated to the memory of Ralph B. Larkin, missionary and science educator, who grew up with a large Alvan Clark telescope because his father was Director of the Mt. Lowe Observatory.


Larry McDavid has long been interested in the history and design of sundials and is a long time member and Sundial Registrar for the North American Sundial Society. Larry often travels to give presentations on the science and construction of sundials. He is also a deep sky observer and maintains a permanent telescope pad at the Orange County Astronomers dark sky site at Anza. Larry chases eclipses and has traveled to distant locations to observe six solar eclipses.
Larry is active in the Microscopical Society of Southern California and uses compound and stereo microscopes as a hobby and to support his interests in home shop machining and electronics. He holds an Extra class amateur radio license and has been active on the HF and VHF ham bands for over 55 years. Larry builds much of his own equipment using a small home electronics shop and precision metal machine shop.
Larry is a retired electromechanical engineer and worked as Engineering Manager for Beckman Instruments, TRW and Molex for over 30 years. Larry has managed the development of Martian life detection instruments, Earth-orbiting instruments that detected the Antarctic ozone hole, medical monitors that enhanced the survival rate for very premature babies and automotive air bag crash sensors.

Jim Benet
"A Look at the OCA Outreach Program"
The OCA Outreach program has continued to grow from just 16 events in 1998 to 78 events for 2011. Over 80,000 people have peered through our telescope, half of them students. We have done to 175 schools, 24 parks and several libraries, clubs and youth groups. Over $9000 has been donated to the OCA as a result of the Outreach program.
We use a sophisticated Excel spreadsheet to keep track of all event and volunteer information. The file contains over a dozen macros which are used to automate many functions associated with coordinating the Outreach programs.
Our Outreach calendar is completely full for the next six months. That's why we really need additional help - yours.

OCA Outreach Program

Jim Benet has been a member of the Orange County Astronomers since 1994. He served two years (1997 and 1998) as an elected trustee of the OCA. He took over as coordinator of the Outreach program when John Sanford retired and moved to Springville in 1998. From that time, he has conducted over 640 Outreach programs on behalf of the OCA. Professionally, Jim has been an electronic engineer for over 41 years. He is now retired. But he is probably best known for the smoked barbeque beef briskets that he prepares each year for the annual OCA starbeque.

Chris Butler will present "What's Up?" in the current evening sky.

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