Biography

I am not accustomed to writing about myself, but I have been told it is necessary for people to know my bio when they ask me to come speak at a club or conference. So, here, reluctantly, am I. 

Although I have never been on the cover of Sky and Tel, I have friends who know Photoshop!

 

I was a high school teacher (mostly English) and school administrator (Principal and Director of Student Services) in several school districts in Southern California. I am now retired and live in Moreno Valley, California with my lovely wife, Judy.  Our two boys, Steve and Mike, have grown up and gone off into the world. My main non-astronomical interest is traveling, and I have been to all fifty states, and some 115 countries.

My first experience as an astronomer (that I can remember) was looking at Saturn through the Zeiss twelve inch refractor at Griffith Observatory in the mid fifties, when I was but seven years old or so. But I never had a telescope of my own because they cost too much. In the early eighties, when I finally got a steady job, I looked into buying a real telescope. But the first ad I found stopped me cold.  The ad said real telescopes cost upwards of $3000. I knew I would never have that much money, so I went to Fedco and bought an 80 mm refractor to find Hailey's Comet. In the meantime, I took my wife and kids to planetarium shows, and occasionally went to special events with the Riverside Astronomical Society and other amateur astronomy groups--but always as an outsider.

In 1995, I made a special trip up to Mojave Narrows. I had read that Comet Hayakutake was going to be visible to the naked eye, and I wanted to see that. Here I found a bunch of people camping out, and enjoying the stars and each other's company. This sounded like an ideal mix.

One of the friendly astronomers asked if I had a telescope of my own. "No," I explained, "I can't really afford one of those things." He looked at me kinda funny, and explained that a home-made telescope could be had for about $300. That was one tenth what I had read ten years before. It was not until I actually got into it that I realized that the advertisement I had read in the mid eighties was for a seven inch Questar with a set of eyepieces, still one of the most expensive instruments in the hobby.

I started attending meetings of the Riverside Astronomical Society. In the past few years, I have served as Star Party Coordinator, Vice President,   newsletter editor, painter, weed cutter, and whatever else is necessary at GMARS, and junk dealer for the RAS store at RTMC. In January of 2006, I became President of the RAS and served for four years. I helped establish the Riverside Astro Imaging Group, the Riverside AstroImaging Workshop, and the Nightfall Imaging Workshop.  For many years, I was a member of the Board of Trustees and am still an active volunteer at  RTMC, a large conference of astronomers held annually in Big Bear, California. I helped establish The Astro Imaging Channel on Google+.

As one of the Riverside Amateur Telescope Makers I have built two telescopes and earned an RTMC Merit Award.

I am a Master Observer (#191) according to the Astronomical League.