Presidents Message – February 2002

Posted On February 1, 2002

By now I suspect most of you will have seen the results of the OCA's election as it has been posted to the web site since almost right after the results we relayed to me. I would like to thank very sincerely every one of the members who stood for election - and although not everyone could make it onto the board I hope that will not dampen their enthusiasm and commitment to try again next year. I would also like to thank all the members for the great turnout for the voting. I am told we had more members vote this year than any other in the history of the club.

I do hope you were not too confused when you received your special Ballot-only version of the Sirius Astronomer. In hind-sight we realized that you would be a little confused to get a single page Sirius Astronomer Ballot just around the Christmas holiday and would wonder where the real newsletter was. In view of the successful turnout of voting I think we will look to create a special Ballot every year just as we did this year.

I personally look forward to the year ahead of us and to working with the board members, volunteers and general members on many aspects of the club and our hobby. You do not have to be a member of the OCA Board in order to help with club activities or other functions. Please do come forward and offer your support and ideas.

Oh dear - I broke the observatory!

I have a confession. On the evening of the January Anza Star Party I managed to break the chain that opens the roof to the clubs observatory. I basically moved the roof a few inches too far and the it broke as I tried to move it back

I decided to share this experience with all of you, as what happened as a result showed me just why I love this club so much. Despite my obvious mistake and my own feelings of stupidity for being so careless, everyone who was around tried their best to make sure I didn't feel bad about what I had done - and also of course simply went about the task of seeing how we could best fix the problem. The weather was good enough that evening to ensure there was no chance of rain - so we all felt ok with leaving the roof open and looking at how to close the roof and fix the chain in the light of the morning.

The story ends on a happy note. We managed to close the roof manually with the help of many members such as Jim Hannam, Bob Buchhiem, Russell Sipe and others in the light of day. The chain was fixed temporarily by Don Lynn who believes it will work for a good few months giving him enough time to buy a new chain and fit it. Apparently the existing chain is somewhat rusted and needs replacing anyway.

For the past few months you have been hearing about how the Kuhn is now controlled through an updated interface, developed by John Hoot, which allows us to use commercial off-the-shelf planetarium software to literally point and click to move the scope to whatever object we find of interest. It is about time that other Star Members get the benefit of this new interface and start using the Kuhn again.

I have now completed the specific updated documentation that describes how to operate the telescope. Any Star Member, as long as they have received the updated refresher course in the past 18 months given by Chuck Lodoza, will now be able to book the Kuhn and use it whenever they wish.

I used the scope myself again for a group of Boy Scouts (about 30) who visited Anza on Friday January 18th. I made double, triple, quadruple sure that no obstructions were in the way, no-one was standing beneath the chain, and that I did not move the roof too far back. The roof opened and closed perfectly that night and our visitors had a wonderful experience. The next evening was another outreach for Biola University hosted by Jim Benet and James Thorpe with help from Barbara Toy. They were operating the Kuhn based upon the new documentation I developed - thus proving that any Star Member will be able to run the scope after reading the simple new documentation.

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."