I never got the chance to get to know David as a councilor. He got elected the same year I left council, so I was glad he accepted my request for an interview for the staff blog in October, 2011.
A simple search online will reveal David has had quite an illustrious career with honors such as the President’s Award for Excellence in Research from Saint Mary’s University, Service Award of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, Founding Member Special Award of the Sudbury Astronomy Club, Distinguished Alumnus of the Year award by Renison College (University of Waterloo), and dozens of papers published in distinguished journals.
Asteroid 27810 was named Daveturner (= 1993 OC2) by Carolyn Shoemaker and David Levy in his honor in November 2003. You know you've made it when they name a space rock after you!
I thought we should all get to know David a little better. So here is the interview- Continue Reading
I recently had the pleasure of visiting Donn and his wife Connie in their home in Indiana. I knew I was in the right place when I pulled up and saw the vanity plate on the car in the driveway, which reads “CEPHEID”.
If you've ever been to AAVSO headquarters, you've probably seen a small Maksutov telescope in a clear plastic case sitting on a shelf or cabinet in the front office. Its an unassuming table top scope on a little fork mount that looks more like a curiosity than a scientific instrument. If you're like me you probably wondered for about two seconds where it came from and what the story is behind it, and then never gave it another thought. Continue Reading
I met Michael Koppelman for the first time sitting under a cabana at the Outrigger Hotel in Waikoloa Beach, Hawaii, at the 2002 Spring Meeting. We had a lot in common, being relatively new to the AAVSO, former professional musicians, variable star enthusiasts, married with children and working for companies we owned. We hit it off right away. Neither of us could have ever imagined that ten years later he would be in line to become president of the AAVSO and I would be on the staff of the organization we love so dearly.
I caught up with Michael recently and we talked about the AAVSO, the future and strategic planning. Continue Reading
One of the things I enjoy doing most is acting as a spokesperson for the AAVSO and sharing my knowledge, experience and enthusiasm about variable stars, observing and the AAVSO with other people. I write blogs, newsletter pieces and articles that reach a lot of people, but there is nothing like the experience of meeting new people face to face and watching their eyes light up as you explain variable stars and stellar evolution, or the seeing light go on as they realize, "Hey, I could do this too!" Continue Reading
There are hundreds of astronomy clubs and astronomical societies in the world, and one thing almost all of them have in common is they produce a monthly newsletter. Not too surprisingly, a lot of them have very similar names, like 'Prime Focus' or 'The Reflector'. Put together by volunteers, some of these newsletters are first rate publications. I've seen some that have full color layouts and typesetting like a magazine you could buy off the rack. Continue Reading
In October, the Council elected Dr. Mario Motta the first President of the second century of the AAVSO. In November, I interviewed Mario to find out more about the man who will be presiding over the Council for the next couple years. Continue Reading
I first met Roger at the AAVSO meeting in Rockford in 2006. He joined Aaron Price, a few of my closest AAVSO friends, and me, in my hotel room one night and regaled us with stories of the good ole days and Clint Ford’s ‘hospitality suite’ at AAVSO meetings in the 60’s and 70’s until the wee morning hours.
I met up with him again at the Citizen Sky meeting in Chicago in 2009, and shortly after we began corresponding and keeping up with each other through email and Facebook. Recently, we partnered up to co-author a paper about some of the giants in AAVSO history for the Centennial Edition of the JAAVSO. In October, I was able to visit Roger on the way back from a speaking engagement in St. Louis, and there is no better way to get to know someone than to spend a day with him in his castle, with his family, cats and memories. Continue Reading
By now you’ve heard about several of us on the AAVSO staff traveling to various star parties throughout the US and Canada this year as part of our Centennial Celebrations. We’ve been meeting amateur astronomers and spreading the gospel and history of the AAVSO for nearly a year now.
My first evening of the Texas Star Party I ran into my first fellow AAVSOer, Brad Walter. Brad and I had met before in Big Bear a couple years ago, but I didn’t recognize him right away with his safari gear and hat on. As it turned out, Brad was also camped on the middle field just yards from where my telescope was set up. After dinner I was finishing setting up for the night and began packing the tools and cases back into my car when Brad came over and told me I wasn’t done setting up yet. “What do you mean?” I asked him.
“Do you have any more of those spikes?”
“You need to use them and some of that rope you have to tie down your telescope.” Continue Reading