Joel Harris is a past Trustee, Vice President, and Secretary of the OCA, and has been an active member of the club since 1987. Joel has personally conducted over 75 star parties/outreach events for both the OCA and Griffith Observatory across numerous parts of Southern California.
He has personally been pursuing total solar eclipses as his main hobby for over 30 years, since his first eclipse experience in June 1973, as part of a team of science investigators from Harvard Observatory, in the Sahara Desert in the nation of Mauritania in Western Africa. Since then, Joel has seen 12 other total eclipses in venues including the Australian Outback (2002), Kenya’s Tsavo East National Park (1980), Chisamba, Zambia (2001), Bangka Island Indonesia (1988), the Bolivian Altiplano (1994), Turkey (1999), Baja Mexico (1991), Canada (1979), the Coral Sea (1984), airborne at 41,000 feet West of Kauai, Hawaii (1981), and Uruguay (1992). Joel has also seen two annular eclipses in 1984 and 1994, and recently observed the Transit of Venus from Chisamba, Zambia last June, 2004.
Joel is a former staff member of world-famous Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles, California. He earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering Technology at DeVry University in Long Beach, California in October 1997, graduating with Magna Cum Laude honors. Prior to becoming an engineer, Joel earned both his Bachelors of Science and MBA degrees in Finance and Entrepreneurship respectively, from the University of Southern California (USC). Now an active graduate student at Loyola Marymount University in Westminster, Joel is pursuing a Masters degree in Systems Engineering, with an expected graduation in the Summer of 2007.
Joel Is currently a Manager of Systems Engineering at Raytheon Space and Airborne Systems in El Segundo, CA. He has written approximately 20 feature articles on eclipse observation, international observatory facilities, and eclipse travel logistics for both Astronomy and Sky and Telescope magazines. His first book, Chasing the Shadow written with co-author Richard Talcott, appeared in 1994, from Kalmbach Publishers in Waukesha, WI.
Joel lives in beautiful Westlake Village, CA with his wife Patti, their step daughter Kelly, and their menagerie of pets --- Joel’s two feline “children” Tigger and Cassiopeia, and Patti’s Jack Russell Terrorist, “BJ”.