My Interest in Astronomy
A Brief Resume
- Joined the
Monterey Park Astronomical Society (MPAS) in 1975;
officer or member of the board of the MPAS until it disappeared in 1985. I was the last
president of the MPAS.
- Joined the Los Angeles Astronomical Society
(LAAS) in 1985. Elected to the board of directors in December, 1986.
President of the LAAS 1990-1992 & 1997-2002; Secretary 1993. Numerous awards
for club education & service.
- Joined the Board of Trustees of the
Mount Wilson Observatory Association (MWOA) in 1985; officer or member of the board
of MWOA continuously since 1986. Vice President of MWOA 1993-1995, secretary 1996-2001.
I am also a senior docent & tour guide for hosting tours at
Mt. Wilson Observatory, a service provided to the
observatory by MWOA.
- Joined the Radio Astronomy Group at the
Jet Propulsion Laboratory in January 1981, and
remained in the group through 1992. See my research page for
a synopsis of my professional experience in radio astronomy.
I have always had an interest in astronomy and science. However, as my brief resume
shows, I have never been able to keep my nose out of things. I always want to know what
the people I pay dues to are doing with that money, I always wind up going to board
meetings to find out who they are, and I always wind up as a member of the board myself.
It's like some unknown force of nature compels me to get involved. Actually, I like being
part of the decison making process, I like to think I have an effect on how things are
done, and what decisions are eventually made. So far I seem to have done a reasonably good
job at it.
But, I don't just enjoy running astronomical organizations, I enjoy the practice, and
history of astronomy. I do own my own telescope, an 80 millimeter Meade refractor
(f12 I think, I can never remember), but I don't very often use it. I prefer to
go to star parties and look through everybody elses telescopes; they're mostly bigger
and better than mine anyway. I also like to use my Orion Ultra View binoculars,
especially on the summer Milky Way.
Part of my excitement comes from dealing with the public, at public star parties, or
by giving a talk, or by leading an observatory tour, or just showing the sky to
somebody who has never looked at it before. Another part of my excitement comes
from my own natural inquisitiveness. I am a physicist by education, and by predilection,
and I enjoy astrophysics. I like to try to understand as best I can, what I see in the
telescope. Despite the non-astronomers first impression, they really are not all
just a lot of fuzzy blobs.
If you are reading this page, and you are not an astronomer, but you are thinking
maybe astronomy might be interesting, go for it. Check the
Sky & Telescope
Astro Directory of clubs, planetaria, museums and observatories. Its coverage
is world wide. That's where you will find the people who can get you started, by
showing you the sky as you may never have seen it before. If all else fails,
send me E-mail and we'll get you
Links to Astronomical Resources on the Web
- The Los Angeles Astronomical Society maintains an
extensive list of astronomy related WWW resources.
Of particular interest, especially to those of you in Southern California, where I am:
Southern California Clubs, Observatories and Planetaria
Observatories & Telescopes (on or above Earth)
Magazines, Journals & other Publications
The LAAS list covers just about everything
you could ever want to find. But here are a few that I think deserve special attention,
and that you might want to visit.
- Mt. Wilson Observatory
- Perched atop the mountains overlooking Los Angeles (and visible from most of it on a
non-smoggy day), Mount Wilson Observatory is arguably the most productive astronomical
facility ever built. It was Mt. Wilson astronomer Edwin Hubble who discovered
the idea of an expanding universe, and after whom the Hubble Space Telescope was named.
The telescopes here were the largest in the world, from 1908 through 1948 (except for
a few months). Observations made here radicallly altered our view of the universe, disclosed
the true nature of galaxies, and discovered the star-spot cycles around other stars.
Today, the observatory is at the fore-front of the new methods of adaptive/active optics,
and is about to become the home of the World's largest optical interferometer (construction
has already begun). The past and future meet at Mt. Wilson as they do nowhere else in the
- Griffith Observatory
- Home for the Los Angeles Astronomical Society, and a landmark overlooking downtown
Los Angeles. Their telescope is open most nights, and their planetarium shows are excellent.
During the day the observatory plays host to hundreds of school children who come for
the special planetarium shows designed just for them, and to tour the museum.
- The Hobby-Eberly Telescope (HET)
- Part of the McDonald Observatory of the
University of Texas at Austin. The primary mirror of the
HET is 11 meters (433 inches; 36 feet 1 inch) across, which makes it the largest optical
telescope mirror in the world. However, the telescope is built such that only 9.6 meters
is ever used at any time. So, the 10 meter (394 inches; 32 feet 10 inches) primary mirrors
of the telescopes
at the W.M. Keck Observatory
atop Mauna Kea, Hawaii, remain the largest effective aperatures in use today.
- The Jet Propulsion Laboratory
- JPL is the NASA center tasked with managing and controlling
all of the spacecraft missions to explore the solar system. Here you will find all manner
of photographs, press releases, and other information, on all of the past, present, and future
space missions. In light of the NASA commitment for a series of Mars exploration missions, the
Mars Missions News & Information page is of
special interest, and will keep you up to date on all the current Mars missions. JPL also
hosts a series of Public Lectures in the JPL
Von Karman Auditorium and on campus at Pasadena City College.
Page updated and all links checked: April 9, 2003
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