Home      Calendar      About OCA      E Zine      Resources      Image Gallery      Members
    www.ocastronomers.org/ e-zine/ presidents_message /

President's message July 2003
by Barbara Toy

Here we are in July, with summer observing in full swing - unless this year's exceptionally heavy "June gloom" stays with us, that is! For those who do their observing from Anza, the cloud cover can mean darker skies when it covers the light domes from the cities to the west of us. For those of us trying to do any viewing from Orange County this June, however, the "gloom" has been very frustrating!

Coming up at Anza -

Our July Star Party on July 26 is also our annual potluck "Starbecue," which is set around 5:00 up at the club observatory. For those who haven't been to one, the club has a gas barbecue that gets hauled up to the observatory for the event, so people can grill whatever they bring with them. Please bring enough to share (aim for enough for around six people besides whoever's in your party - we don't expect you to feed the entire crowd!). Besides standards like hamburgers and hotdogs, I've seen (and eaten my share of) all kinds of interesting skewered items, including some particularly memorable salmon a couple years ago - we welcome imaginative entries on the grill!

The club supplies paper plates, cups, flatware, napkins and soft drinks. All the food is brought by the people who come, so salads, chips and dips, other side dishes, deserts - all are welcome! There's a microwave in the observatory warming room, so you can warm things up if necessary. Plan to bring your own chair for seating, though a lot of people eat while standing or wandering around and talking to people. It's definitely not planned as a sit-down dinner! If you have a folding table you could bring, we can usually use more than the three club tables. As to parking, space around the observatory is limited, so please park at the levels below it and walk up.

We do need volunteers to help set up for the party and to clean up afterward; if you're willing to help out, please contact me (714/606-1825). Also, if you bring something and it isn't all eaten, please make sure you take the leftovers with you when you leave the Starbecue. We hate to see leftover food spoil, and we hate even more to attract the local wildlife with an easy dinner!

Another great activity we're planning for that night is a "Member Observatory Open House." If all goes well, the member observatories on the Anza site will be open to visitors for a couple of hours after sunset, to give people a chance to see what they're like inside and how they work - so plan to visit them, see the different approaches people have taken, and learn about how they're being used.

Still Some Time To Name An Asteroid: The deadline to propose names for one of the asteroids discovered by Minor White and Myke Collins is July 31, 2003. This is a great chance to honor someone in a unique way - for details, see: http://www.mpc643.org/.

Sirius Astronomer - What the Data Shows

Thanks again to all of you who have sent me the information I requested about when you received your copies of the Sirius Astronomer. In the time I've been on the board, I've heard a lot of complaints about late deliveries, and the information you sent has helped give us a better picture of what is happening after each issue goes to the Post Office.

As a brief overview of the process, the editor chivies, cajoles and otherwise pries material for each issue out of the contributors, ideally by the 20th of each month, and then does what needs to be done to assemble the pieces into the newsletter, which can take several days. It then goes to the printing company, which prints it up, center-staples and folds each issue, and delivers the lot to Charlie Oostdyk, a process that usually takes about a week. He then prints the mailing labels, edge-staples and labels each of about 750 issues, organizes them into the required groupings, and delivers them to the post office, a process he usually manages to complete within 48 hours. The post office then does its thing, and they eventually wind up in your mailboxes. The purpose of my survey was to figure out where any problems are after the SA gets to the post office.

We changed the office we mail from in March, and April was the first issue this really affected. That month, everything went unusually well - Darren Thibodeau was able to finalize the SA and get it to the printer earlier than usual, the printer was very fast in doing the run and getting it to Charlie, and Charlie was able to do his part right away (even though he works full time) and to get it all to the post office on 3/27, about a week earlier than usual. The result - most people got their copies on 3/29 or 3/31, 2 to 4 days after they got to the post office. Besides the early deliveries, the biggest change from before was that even the more distant recipients, who had been getting them 8 to10 days after delivery to the post office, got them within 4 days. The latest delivery reported to me was in Garden Grove on 4/7, though another Garden Grove delivery was reported on 4/2 and most of the surrounding cities reported deliveries on 3/29. (55 reports total)

Things on our end worked out pretty well for the May issue, which went to the post office on 5/1. The largest number of reported deliveries was on 5/3 (Sat., at 2 days), and there was another cluster of reported deliveries on 5/9 (at 7 days), from Los Angeles and Riverside Counties, most of which had received their April issue in 2 days. The latest reported delivery that month was 5/10 (8 days), in Whittier. (35 reports total)

Bringing us to June. Darren had work problems that ultimately made it impossible for him to put the SA together, so he turned it over to Liam Kennedy, unfortunately very late in the schedule. Many, many thanks to Liam for stepping in, putting the SA together, and getting it to the printer within 24 hours of getting the contents from Darren. Even though Charlie was very busy at work himself, he managed to do his processing and get them to the post office within about 48 hours of receipt, on 6/5. Most people reporting from Orange County received it 2 days later, and the deliveries after that were pretty spread out, with no real second cluster as in April and May. The latest report I've received is for delivery in San Jose on day 13, much worse than in the prior two months. Even sadder, places like Duarte and Palos Verdes, which both got their April issues on Day 2, slipped to Days 7 and 9, respectively, for June. There were no reports of deliveries outside of Orange County before Day 6, and Seal Beach and La Habra, both of them within OC, reported receipt on Days 9 and 10. (30 reports total)

Conclusions? Unfortunately, the reporting samples overall are quite small, given that we mail out well over 700 issues each month. However, I had several people who reported in all of these months, which gives one way of checking for patterns, and there weren't many zip codes with more than one person reporting each month, which maximized the geographic distribution of the sample. If the delivery pattern we saw for April held up in later months, I'd say our post office problems were resolved. Unfortunately, that didn't happen, though most people who reported to me got deliveries within 6 days, even in June, and most people in OC that reported to me got their copies in 2 days. I suspect that the difference in delivery patterns is due to when the SA was delivered to the post office each month - different flows of mail at different times of the month would change the resources available for processing bulk mailings all along the route. If any of you have inside knowledge about the post office and its operations that would help us understand what's going on, we'd appreciate your thoughts on the subject.

As to the future - we haven't totally solved the delivery issues yet. What we can potentially control most easily is when the SA gets to the post office, but, to get real control over that, we need more people helping out with the process. As we saw with Darren's problems in June, having the full burden of producing the SA each month fall on just one person creates a major problem if there's an emergency and that one person can't get it done. Put simply, Darren needs help with the job of editing and producing the SA. We need some volunteers - if you can help us out with any aspect of the Sirius Astronomer, please contact Darren, Liam or me.

Mars Activities at Griffith Observatory

In case any of you think that Griffith Observatory is out of action simply because it's closed for renovation, it has an extensive program of Mars-related events over the summer and fall. Anthony Cook, Astronomical Observer for Griffith Observatory, has notified us of the schedule, and wants to know if any of you would be willing to bring your telescopes for public viewing at any of these events. It's a great opportunity to reach a lot of people and educate them about the wonders of the night sky, with Mars as the well-advertised center of attention. If you can make it to any of these, please contact Mr. Cook at Griffith Observatory or by email to tcook@earthlink.net. The scheduled events are:

Special Mars observing sessions, all Saturdays in August (2, 9, 16, 23, and 30); star party starting each Saturday at 8 p.m. with Mars viewing from 11 p.m to 1 a.m. Location: Griffith Observatory Satellite at the south end of the Los Angeles Zoo parking lot in Griffith Park. There will be Mars related presentations in the mini-planetarium until 10 p.m., with workshops on observing Mars by Tim Robertson, Association of Lunar and Planetary Observers (ALPO).

Tuesday, August 26, for closest approach (at 2:51 a.m.), an all night observing session until approximately 3 a.m. Location: South lawn of the Gene Autry Museum of Western Heritage adjacent to the Observatory Satellite.

September and October, nightly viewing all nights except Mondays from 7 to 10 p.m. at the Observatory Satellite. There will also be public viewing on Labor Day, Monday September 1.

These should be a lot of fun - I hope you can make it to at least some of them!

 

Prior Presidents Messages
 July 2017 President's Message
 June 2017 President's Message
 May 2017 President's Message
 April 2017 President's Message
 March 2017 President's Message
 2012 OCA Board Election Results
 April 2010 President's Message
 February 2010 President's Message
 January 2010 President's Message
 November 2009 President's Message
 October 2009 President's Message
 September 2009 President's Message
 August 2009 President's Message
 July 2009 President's Message
 June 2009 President's Message
 March 2009 President's Message
 May 2008 President's Message
 June 2008 President's Message
 July 2008 President's Message
 August 2008 President's Message
 September 2008 President's Message
 October 2008 President's Message
 November 2008 President's Message
 December 2008 President's Message
 January 2009 President's Message
 February 2009 President's Message
 April 2008 President's Message
 March 2008 President's Message
 February 2008 President's Message
 January 2008 President's Message
 December 2007 President's Message
 November 2007 President's Message
 October 2007 President's Message
 September 2007 President's Message
 August 2007 President's Message
 July 2007 President's Message
 June 2007 President's Message
 May 2007 President's Message
 April 2007 President's Message
 March 2007 President's Message
 January 2007 President's Message
 December 2006 President's Message
 November 2006 President's Message
 October 2006 President's Message
 September 2006 President's Message
 August 2006 President's Message
 July 2006 President's Message
 June 2006 President's Message
 May 2006 President's Message
 April 2006 President's Message
 March 2006 President's Message
 Around OCA for February, 2006
 February 2005 President's Message
 January 2005 President's Message
 December 2004 President's Message
 November 2004 President's Message
 October 2004 President's Message
 August 2004 President's Message
 July 2004 President's Message
 June 2004 President's Message
 May 2004 President's Message
 April 2004 Presidentís Message
 March 2004 President's Message
 February 2004 President's Message
 January 2004 President's Message
 November 2003 President's Message
 October 2003 President's Message
2003
Aug  
Jul  
Jun  
May  
Apr  
Mar  
Feb  
Jan  
2002
Dec  
Nov
Oct
Sep  
Aug  
Jul  
Jun  
May  
Apr  
Mar  
Feb  
Jan  
2001
Dec  
Nov  
Oct
Sep  
Aug  
Jul  
Jun  
May  
Apr  
Mar  
Feb  
Jan  
2000
Dec  
Nov  
Oct
Sep  
Aug  
Jul  
Jun  
May  
Apr  
Mar  
none
Feb  
Jan  
1999
Dec  
Nov  
Oct

Copyright © 2001 - 2017 Orange County Astronomers
Bringing the universe into focus since 1967
About Us | Site Map | Contacts
Calendar | Gallery | General Meetings

amazon Amazon | OCAstroShop OCAstroShop | youtube YouTube | google+ Google+
facebook Facebook | twitter Twitter | instagram Instagram