As I write this month's letter for
the Sirius Astronomer I find myself in a world of semi-controlled
panic. How does that saying go? "Time is nature's way
of making sure everything doesn't happen all at once".
Right now I feel that everything IS trying to happen at once.
After an incredible amount of dedication
and planning by some outstandingly committed OCA members we
are all just about to experience AstroImage 2002. The planning
and preparation for this 3-day event has been truly phenomenal.
By the time the Sirius Astronomer reaches you the conference
will have been completed. Therefore I think it entirely appropriate
that I formally thank everyone who has been involved with
making the conference the success it has been. I know that
many of the AstroImage conference planning committee really
don't like to see their names "up in lights" - but
I am afraid that I must give credit where credit is due. Please
join me in personally thanking the following OCA Members for
the truly exceptional dedication to this club and what it
is all about.
photo by Dave Kodama and Greg Pyros
Garth Buckles, Dave
Kodama, Greg Pyros, Pat Stoker,
Darren Thibodeau, Bill Patterson, and Stephen Eubanks.
This core group from the OCA AstroImagers
have been meeting practically every single week for the past
year. Their aim was to create the premier event on AstroImaging
that all others will be compared to. They have undoubtedly
achieved their goal.
In addition, other members have helped
out for specific elements of the conference development including
Matthew Ota, Barbara Toy and Charlie Oostdyk. Numerous members
also volunteered to help out with the many on-site activities
at the conference including refreshments, shirt and hat sales,
image gallery management, door monitors and much more besides.
Thank you so much, your help has made the conference the success
"happening" that added to my own personal level
of panic at this time was due to the implementation of a new
introductory family-friendly astronomy program that I ran
at the Peter and Mary Muth Interpretive Center in the Upper
Newport Bay area on Friday August 16th. This was just a week
before the AstroImage conference.
The OCA was approached by Grace Yick,
a park ranger at the facility, to put on a simple introductory
program that would attract visitors to their center. This
10,000 square foot educational facility has been built into
the side of the bluffs on the north side of the Bay. It offers
panoramic views of the Bay yet is nestled so unobtrusively
that few people are aware that the Interpretive Center has
already been built and is open to the public.
I created an approximately hour-long
presentation I hoped would appeal especially to families with
children. In addition to the presentation we had 5 of our
dedicated outreach volunteers with their telescopes set-up
outside to show the visitors the Moon and Venus (and whatever
else could be seen through the thin and low clouds that had
come into the bay).
really had no idea how many people would turn up. The center
often runs events that require pre-registration - but as this
was the first one of its kind there was no registration required.
In the end - by around 7pm we had their theatre filled to
capacity with people standing (approximately 100 people I
would guess). The program was designed to be very interactive
with lots of audience participation - especially from the
younger members of the audience.
I feel certain that we helped fan
the flames of curiosity in Astronomy in many of the young
and inquisitive minds that were there. A number of the families
I spoke with will move onto our own beginners program hosted
by Antonio Miro. Other people who attended will undoubtedly
join up as members right away. Mission accomplished!
The September program will be on Saturday
14th at 7pm. I will need to come up with a slightly different
program - as I know that many of those who attended this time
are planning on returning.
For further details you can view the
web page at http://www.ocastronomers.org/features/fa_newportbayAug2002.htm
I know that you will have no-doubt
seen the many notices regarding the change in the date of
the September OCA meeting. We are very sorry to have to do
this - and it was unexpected. We do get free use of the Chapman
facility and we are forever grateful that we have so few scheduling
conflicts. When a scheduling conflict arises we try to publicize
the change as widely as possible to ensure that no-one turns
up when we are not there. See you on September 20th at 7:30pm!
"every day we are connecting ever more photons of
light from distant galaxies to the eyes, hearts, minds and
imaginations of our members and others in our community.