Presidents Message – March 2002

Posted On March 1, 2002


I wanted to start off my March message by recognizing the efforts of members of the OCA's EOA group who have been making steady progress on the development of the clubs MOCAT telescope. The MOCAT is a project started in 1998 which will provide access to a remotely operated telescope from initially the warm confines of Anza House and eventually possibly even via the Internet. In setting up this project the EOA is utilizing skills ranging from electrical design, software design, machining, carpentry and hard labor in freezing cold conditions at Anza.

from left to right we have
JV Howell, Curren (grandson of JV), Ken MacLeod, and Craig Otis.

The photo above was taken at the Star Party at Anza on February 9th and shows the hard workers at the end of their days work. This same night I had to close the club observatory after only an hour of use as the wind was gusting over 50 miles-per-hour (and after last months "problems" with the roof - I did not want to risk any damage).

Outreach Report.

If you check out the clubs Outreach page on the website (/outreach/) you will see just how busy this program is. Outreach coordinator, Jim Benet, is always looking for more volunteers so please do contact him.

For a view on what these are like I wanted to share with you a couple of emails. I received the following report from our Vice President Barbara Toy

Tonight's outreach at Gauer Elementary School was a great success. Our best estimate was that we got about 200 people, starting with the students it was set up for and their families. Then some other classes joined, the teachers and other staff who were around (including the custodians at Jim Benet's special invitation) joined, and we even attracted some people from the surrounding neighborhood who wanted to see what was going on. And even though the skies weren't cooperating all that well (we were pretty well limited to Jupiter, Saturn, the moon and Orion - though hardly at its best) and the surrounding light pollution was really bad, there were lots of "ooohs," "aaahs," heartfelt thanks, and no complaints. In fact, it was a wonderfully courteous and enthusiastic group.

I think we had about 7 'scopes (I didn't really count) and my binoculars, and everyone was kept really busy the whole time, but the number worked well with the flow of people. There were lines, but not really long ones, and a number of people came back for repeat views. One 4-year old was truly mesmerized by the moon, and didn't want to give up the binoculars - he brought his mother back three more times for further looks.

So, it was another great one for Jim and his crew. I know I'm feeling really stoked from it - the ultimate in cheap therapy!


And the following from Jim Benet

Thank you, Barbara. I just want to mention that I cannot take too much credit for this as it was an outstanding effort by several very dedicated volunteers. These include Kenneth Baird, Maury Bennett, Tony Bill & Rosie Walcek, Craig Bobchin, Bob Shanta, and Barbara Toy to whom I am humbly grateful.

Continuing with this spirit, we had another great Outreach program tonight at Lee Elementary School in Los Alamitos. They too enjoyed the seeing with expressions of "Wow", "Oow", and "Ahh". I was particularly impressed that most of the folks there actually thanked us individually as they got through viewing. They furthered their thanks with a $100 donation to the OCA (which I will forward to our treasurer as soon as I get a break from these Outreach programs). Even the weatherman cooperated with us this time with beautifully clear skies.

I agree with Barbara that we all enjoyed these Outreach programs and they are an uplifting experience.
Jim Benet

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."