Presidents Message – August 2001

Posted On August 1, 2001

Star Member Me!.

Those of you who made it to the July meeting at Chapman may have seen my introduction where I decided to point out the New Members Badges display. Charlie Oostdyk - our dedicated OCA Treasurer - puts the new members badges up for display and pickup at the meetings.

I pointed out that many of the badges are indeed for new members - but some of them are also new badges for existing members. In particular I managed to create some laughter by noticing my own name badge was on this display. What on earth does the president of the club need a new badge for? Did I lose my other badge? Had I never picked up my badge from nearly 4 years ago?

Actually none of those reasons.

I am now a Star Member and the proud owner of Star Member Manual number 124.

My first trip out to our Anza observatory was in February 1998 - and the clubs 22" Kuhn telescope was being operated that night by our then president Wayne Johnson (AKA Mr Galaxy). The Kuhn was one of those items that clearly said to me that the Orange County Astronomers were serious about their hobby!
It has always been my intention to become a Star Member myself and quite apart from being able to claim the 22" telescope to be my own play thing - I would look forward to taking my turn running the Kuhn on star party nights for the benefit of other members and their guests. Over the past year or so - there have been a couple of occasions where the Kuhn was closed on a star party night - and I wanted to do my bit to ensure this rarely if ever happened again.
What exactly does it take to become a Star Member?

According to our membership form a Star Member is;

A special class of membership, which allows a member to operate the Kuhn Telescope. To qualify for Star Membership, you must be either a Regular member or a Life member. The following restrictions apply for use of the Kuhn Telescope:
1) The Star Member must be "certified" by the Scope Trainer before he/she may operate the telescope
2) Observatory/telescope must be 'booked' ahead of time with the Scope Scheduler.

Of course there is also a one-time payment of $150 as well!

Sounds pretty simple right? I must say that is absolutely correct.

Long-term member Chuck Lodoza handles the training and certification for Star Members. Chuck lives in Temecula and has a leisurely (just kidding) job as a pilot for United Airlines. Over the years Chuck has modified and created a very professional set of documentation to make the task of operating the clubs prized asset a very straight forward one. The control software (the TCP as it is called) allows very easy control of the telescope from the computer. Objects can be easily selected from the on-line database - and the telescope slews to the item of interest with the most delightful whirring sounds. My own 10" LX200 seems to be much noisier.

On Thursday July 19th a whole group of us descended on Anza to be trained on the Kuhn (three completely new Star Members) and a further 5 or 6 others who needed the refresher training. The training lasted about 3 hours or so. The result being that I am now fully certified to operate the Kuhn.

You can do this too!


Please note that our annual Star-B-Que will be held at the Anza August Star Party on August 18th.
The Board of Directors and Trustees resolved unanimously to permit smoking at the Anza Observatory property only inside private automobiles and no where else on the property or inside of any building. This resolution was made primarily for fire safety reasons - as we have been finding very many cigarette buts around our site.
OCA Annual Banquet
We will be holding our annual Banquet this year at the Orange County Mining Musem in November. The specific date will be confirmed soon.

Liam Kennedy
"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."