President’s Message – August 2002

Posted On August 1, 2002

Anza July Star-B-Que

Despite some initial cloudy skies - the July Star Party and BBQ turned out to be a very successful affair - both from the delicious foods to be had and also the observing conditions. Some members commented that it seemed to be just about the largest turn-out they could remember. A few members of the Riverside Astronomical Society (RAS) arrived to enjoy the BBQ and the nights viewing. The RAS are building their own new dark-sky site and were interested in seeing first-hand what we have already achieved. It was great to be able to share our site with our friends from RAS and I know we will be welcome to visit their site sometime in the future.

Safety and Security at Anza.


None of you will be very surprise to hear that our Anza site and the surrounding area is just about the driest it has ever been. This situation means that we need to do everything that we can to minimize the risks of fire. There is a total ban on smoking at the site, although you may smoke within your own vehicle.

The Non-Smoking rule aside there are other activities that could also contribute to a fire-hazard. For instance I was quite shocked to find some teenagers on our site throwing "poppers" onto the ground. I spent some time lecturing these teenagers on the consequences of their actions and I am certain they understood what I was saying. This also raised the question of parental responsibility for supervising teenagers. Please ensure that any visiting children are fully aware of the rules and understand the dangers of "playing with fire".

This issue certainly raised my own level of awareness to the need for fire / safety planning. Luckily on this very Star Party we happened to have a brand new member, a retired fire safety professional, who offered to develop a full safety program for us.


In this day and age - with the current tragic news headlines what they are - I should hardly have to remind any parent who might bring their younger children onto our site to always ensure they are 100% supervised and are not allowed to wander around by themselves. There is the potential for harm from falling in the dark and also from small critters (such as snakes, scorpions etc). I must also ensure that everyone is aware our site is pretty open and in most cases it is impractical to check on everyone who drives onto it. If you observe any activity that you are concerned about please report this immediately to either a board member or the Star Member in charge of the observatory.


The "NEW" Silverado Star Parties at Black-Star-Canyon.

June 29th was the first star party held in conjunction with the Nature Conservancy at the new "Silverado" site. The new facility is much easier to get to than our old site and just about as dark. This looks to be a long-term place that we can rely upon for continued access due to the generosity of the Nature Conservancy. Please check the web site for specific details on how to find the new site and for any late changes to scheduled events. The Web site is undoubtedly the best place to go to find such timely information as in many cases the information in the Sirius Astronomer may have to be submitted several months in advance of the event.


Sirius Astronomer.

You will no doubt be aware that our precious editor, Chris McGill, has decided to pursue her long-term ambition of training to become a lawyer. That means this Issue is likely to be the very last one Chris puts together herself. A group of members and board members have met with Chris and a number of interested future newsletter editors to go over the production of the Sirius Astronomer.

It is my pleasure to announce that OCA Members Darren Thibodeau and Elaine Vander Linden have agreed to work jointly on the SA. Elaine has a great background in publishing and strict copy editing and will be the Assistant Editor. Darren is an accomplished astronomer and astroimager who is also very well qualified in desktop layout/design and will be the Editor of the Sirius Astronomer. I am sure that you will all wish our new SA Editorial team great success in the future - and you will all join me in a statement of profound and deep appreciation to our departing editor Chris McGill for all that she has done for the club. Hip! Hip! Hooray! Thanks Chris!

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."