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OCA General Meeting
Friday April 13, 2012, 7:30 PM
Chapman University
Free and open to public more

Comets: Implications for the Earth

Comets originated in the earliest history of the Solar System. An early high energy stage pushed the volatile constituents and dust out and away from Sun and into the outermost Kuiper Belt and Oort Cloud. Hundreds of millions or billions of comets formed and reside there in stable orbits. When a comet orbit is changed into an elongate ellipse, the comet travels through through the inner Solar System for roughly 500 orbits before the comet loses it's volatiles to become a meteor shower or runs into a planet. Comet impacts, although probably rare, are potentially much more dangerous than asteroids. The rate of comet impacts is unknown, but we've had two in the past couple decades. Some of the Earth's major impact sites may be caused by comets rather than asteroids as generally believed.

Gary Peterson

B. A. (Geology), University of Colorado, Boulder (1959)
M. S. (Geology), University of Washington, Seattle (1961)
Ph.D. (Geology), University of Washington, Seattle (1963)
Professor of Geology, San Diego State University (1963 to 2007)
Emeritus Professor of Geology (2007 to Present)
Visiting Scholar, Stanford University (1970-71 academic year)
Chairman, Department of Geological Sciences, SDSU (1973-1976)
Visiting Professor of Geology, University of Montana, Missoula (1977)
Acting Chairman, Department of Geological Sciences, SDSU (Spring 1984)
Fellow: The Geological Society of America
American Association of Petroleum Geologists (Inactive)
Society of Economic Paleontologists and Mineralogists (Inactive)

"What's Up?" in this month will be presented by Chris Butler

There will also be an announcement by Michael Beckage

Lowell Observatory Outreach to Amateur Astronomers

The talk will provide a brief overview of recent developments at Lowell Observatory and provide details on new initiatives aimed at fostering deeper relationships with amateur astronomers.

Michael Beckage has been an active amateur astronomer for over 40 years. He caught the astronomy bug at age 10 after seeing craters on the moon through a neighbor’s 20 power spotting telescope. Michael built his first telescope (an 8" f8 Newtonian) at the age of 12 with help from his family and fellow members of the Riverside Astronomical Society where he was an active member for many years. At the age of fourteen, Michael was pictured in Sky & Telescope magazine after winning a merit award for telescope design at the 1974 Riverside Telescope Makers Conference in Big Bear, California. His favorite telescope is a mid-seventies vintage Celestron C-14 which he uses for public outreach, astro-imaging and occasional scientific research endeavors.

Michael has a Bachelor of Science in Electronics Engineering from California State Polytechnic University in Pomona and is co-owner and Vice President of Diversified Technical Systems, Inc., a high-tech electronics development and manufacturing business in Seal Beach, California. He has used his engineering skills to design and build five telescopes, one of which is used in educational programs at the Oak Canyon Nature Center in Anaheim, California. Michael is actively involved at Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, Arizona where he is currently Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Lowell Advisory Board.

Michael developed and serves as instructor for "Discover the Stars" classes offered through the Parks & Recreation departments of the City of Long Beach and Cerritos. He is a lifetime member of the Orange County Astronomers in Southern California, one of the largest astronomy clubs in the world. Every year Michael gets numerous requests to organize star parties and science events for local schools, scout groups and the Leisure World Astronomy and Stargazing Club. Since 2007 he has worked in association with Bogart’s Coffee House in Seal Beach to organize monthly "Astronomy Nights" which attract large crowds and introduce people of all ages to the wonders the sky has to offer. Michael says that his greatest joy is sharing the excitement of visitors when they view celestial sights through a telescope. He also enjoys solar system and wide field astro-imaging after everyone goes to sleep.

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