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December 2003 President's Message
By: Barbara Toy
December 8, 2003 9:21PM PDT
Views: 7136


Well, we’re getting on toward winter, when some people avoid viewing because of the cold.  There are many ways of dealing with cold temperatures, though – and no substitute for what you can see on a clear dark winter’s night!  So, pack your favorite cold weather gear (don’t forget the gloves and hats), maybe throw in a couple chemical hand-warmers, and join the hardy winter-time astronomers out at the Anza and Black Star Canyon star parties!  Orion, Saturn and Jupiter are just the beginning of the great objects for winter viewing…something to be truly grateful about!  Speaking of which, I hope all of you had a great Thanksgiving!

 

The OCA Election

 

Final nominations for the 2004 Board are at the December general meeting.  The candidates as of the time this is written are:

 

Trustee:  Bob Buchheim, Dave Radosevich, Joel Harris, Gary Schones, Craig          Bobchin

 

Officers:  Treasurer – Charlie Oostdyk; Secretary – Bruce Crowe;

President – Barbara Toy

 

The Board consists of a total of seven Trustees and four officers, so we need at least two more people to run for Trustee to have enough for a full Board, and one to run for Vice President.  We would really like more candidates than that, especially for positions such as President and Vice President, so don’t feel shy about putting in your nomination!

 

At other times, I’ve written at length about the Board, what it does and how it does it, so I won’t repeat that here.  There is an article explaining the Board that we are re-posting on the website.  If you can’t find it, please let me know and I’ll be happy to forward a copy.  The membership of the Board has changed a little since the article was written, but the way it works is the same. 

 

Being on the Board remains one of the best ways to influence the club’s direction and to find opportunities to do things that you might otherwise never have known about.  As an example, one of my great joys is working with the Kuhn telescope, but I doubt that I would have become as involved with testing it and now in training Star Members in how to use it if I hadn’t been on the Board and, as a result, seen the need (and the opportunity) early on in the process.  Getting to know and work with the different people on the Board is also a great way to add to your enjoyment of club activities.

 

As I said, we’re short a few candidates for a complete slate – so this is a particularly good time to throw your hat in the OCA ring and run for a Board position!

 

The Vice Presidency

 

For some reason, the position of Vice President has often been hard to fill, even though it’s really a great position.  You get prestige and a chance to come in contact with a lot of different people in the club and in the astronomical community outside the club without having to do nearly as much work as the President.  There are some responsibilities, of course, the most important of which is making sure that we have a speaker for the general meeting each month and for the Banquet – but dealing with the speakers is a lot of what makes that office fun!

 

The Vice President doesn’t actually have to go out and find all of the speakers directly. In fact, one of the best ways to get a variety of speakers is to get the word out among other club members and anyone else you might run into in the world of astronomy and ask for suggestions.  Sometimes people can give you a name or two right away, but often just knowing that you’re looking for speakers will cause them to take note when they come across a likely prospect, and they’ll happily pass that information on to you and maybe even introduce you to the prospect.  Even better, sometimes the person who comes up with the lead is willing to make the actual arrangements, and all the Vice President then has to do is coordinate the efforts so there aren’t conflicts or gaps in the calendar.  It’s amazing what a variety of contacts our members have and how helpful they are, and also how many of them are excellent prospects as speakers themselves.  And the quest for speakers is a great reason for contacting people you might otherwise have been too intimidated to contact, which is a good way to increase your own knowledge of the astronomical world.

 

So – for those of you who’ve served on the Board at any time in the past – here’s a great opportunity to take on one of the most entertaining positions the club offers!  Just let me know you’re interested, and I’ll be delighted to ensure that you’re properly nominated at the December meeting!

 

Still More Changes…Welcome to Larry Carr and Bob Bell as New Coordinators!

 

We’ve certainly seen a lot of changes in our volunteer positions over the last few months.  We’re very fortunate that two of the most recent vacancies have now been filled.  Larry Carr is our new Anza House Coordinator, and Bob Bell is the new coordinator for the Telescope Loaner Program.  We are really pleased and grateful that they have been willing to take on these positions, and we would like to thank Stephen Eubanks and Henry Fry again for all they did during the time they’ve held these positions.

 

Explore the Stars

 

We still need someone as Coordinator for Explore the Stars.  If you have any interest in the Palomar area, this position gives a great opportunity to build good working relationships with the Forest Service and with the astronomical community at Palomar Mountain, particularly Scott Kardel, who is now in charge of public relations for the observatories. 

 

Explore the Stars is also an excellent program for building bridges between all of the different astronomy clubs in the East Riverside County/North San Diego County/Orange County area.  We share a strong interest with all of these groups and with the Palomar observatories in controlling light pollution in the area, so any bridges we can establish with these other organizations is important to us – as is the chance to demonstrate to people who are visiting the mountain just why excessive light is a problem!  In short, ETS is an important program that promotes many of our club’s goals and interests, and the position of coordinator is critical to the success of the program.

 

Richard Cranston has done a great job of keeping the program going through the many difficulties of the last couple years, including the fact that many of the sessions in the summer of 2002 had to be cancelled due to the construction going on at Observatory Campground.  Changes in his life have made it increasingly difficult for him to continue coordinating the program.  He’s attempting to pass the baton early enough that the transition can be made smoothly – and we’re all very grateful for his foresight as well as for all of his efforts as coordinator.

 

If you would like more information about the program or the position of Coordinator, or would like to volunteer for the position of Coordinator, please contact Richard (rcransto@ix.netcom.com), Russ Sipe (sipe@sipe.com) or me (btoy@cox.net).  

 

Asteroid Named for Tom Cave III

 

You may remember that several months ago the very effective asteroid-hunting team of Minor White and Myke Collins asked for suggestions for names for several of the asteroids they discovered.  They received many excellent suggestions, and put together the information they needed to submit the ones they felt were most appropriate for official approval.  They have finally received word that some of these have indeed been accepted as official names.  One that is of particular interest to those of us in the world of amateur astronomy is the one named for Thomas Cave III.

 

The minor planet that is now known officially as “TomCave” is a member of the Eunomia asteroid family, a group of asteroids that resulted from a violent collision with the parent body, Eunomia.  MP #62503, now “TomCave,” was discovered on September 19, 2000 by Myke and Minor using the Kuhn Telescope.

 

Tom Cave was an ardent amateur astronomer and telescope builder, and built his first telescope at the advanced age of eleven years.  It was the first of many, and there are still many astronomers out there who are proud owners of telescopes he made.  He was also known for his careful observations of Mars and his many detailed drawings of his observations, which are a tribute to what the trained human eye can see with enough time and patience, along with good optics.  It is unfortunate that he had been in poor health, and that he died before the close approach to Mars this last August – had he been healthy enough to observe, he would undoubtedly have enjoyed the views tremendously!

 

Monsignor Royer, a long-time friend of Tom Cave, recommended his name for an asteroid.  Those who were at our general meeting in May, 2003, when Monsignor Royer was our featured speaker, may recall that Tom was there to hear his talk.  We were delighted that he could be present, and very sorry to learn of his death not long after that meeting.  Giving his name to an asteroid is indeed a fitting memorial to one who did so much for the world of amateur astronomy.

 

More information about the asteroid, and about Tom Cave and Monsignor Royer will be available on Myke and Minor’s website, so please check it out at http://www.mpc643.org.

 

In Closing…

 

Seriously, do think about running for the Board.  It’s a great way to contribute to the club, and to have a good time doing it – and we need you.

 

And don’t give up on winter observing just because it may be a bit nippy out there!

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