Re: (IAAC) Greetings

At 09:50 PM 2/7/98 -0700, Steve Coe wrote:

>Howdy folks;
>I like Eric's idea of a quick introduction, so I will be next in an
>effort to keep the ball rolling.  

Well, then, maybe I will take the baton from Steve and continue the momentum. 

I am currently an Arizona resident just as Steve is, but I got my start in
astronomy near Akron, Ohio, in the late 70's, when I was around 10 years
old. I started out as a naked-eye observer, graduated to 4x18 opera
glasses, and eventually got my first telescope around 1980 or so. It was a
4.5" f/7, and I am still using those optics in a telescope today.

Once I learned the fundamentals of telescope usage, my observational
interest started out to be deep sky objects. This led to the purchase of a
10" Coulter dobsonian when I was on the young end of being a teenager. I
observed with that for about a year before I realized I was *really* a
planetary observer. Shortly, I got hooked up with an ALPO member in my
local club, and I began to submit my planetary observations to the B.A.A.
(long story), and also to observe occultations for the IOTA, but I am
especially into observing comets. I was traveling down what Ken Fulton
calls the "scientific path", and I have not really strayed since. Deep sky
observing remains a fun recreational pastime for me.

In the late 80's/early 90's, I went off to college, and largely dropped out
of amateur astronomy culturally (my magazine subscriptions and club
memberships lapsed), though I did manage to break into the college
observatory several times to observe when I had time. I got back into
astronomy in a more active way after college, while juggling a new marriage
and a career in setting up and managing large internet domains (most
recently at Ohio State University).

Last August, I moved to Sierra Vista, Arizona, a smallish town in the
southeast corner of the state. The skies here are completely different than
anything I got in Ohio; my in-town backyard is a better observing site than
anywhere I ever observed from in Ohio, and things are most definitely
better several miles out from town. Consequently, I am spending a lot of
time under the night skies these days. I have started an observing project
to observe as many as possible of the Herschel 400 list with my 4.5"
newtonian. I also do some occasional DSO observing with a 10" scope.

I recently founded an observatory, "Rockland Observatory", which from a
structural standpoint consists only of a cement pad and an electrical
outlet at the moment. The observatory exists to educate new amateurs and
the general public about astronomy, through journalistic projects,
lectures, and workshops, some of which are done in cooperation with the
local society. So far, about 100 astronomy club newsletters are taking the
free monthly newsletter column, and we do introductory workshops every
couple months (a newspaper column is also offered and printed by a handful
of newspapers). I plan to go into 'semi-retirement' in a couple months so I
can dedicate more time to these projects. 

I will not be at the eclipse later this month (I will probably be leading
an eclipse expedition in 1999, though), but probably will be at TSP and
Astronomy Magazine's 25th anniversary party this year. I will almost
certainly be at the Arizona Messier Marathon in March. If anyone wants to
look for me, I am a short, skinny, brown-haired guy who looks like he is
about 20 years old (I am almost 30 in real life), and should be toting a
10" telescope around.

There, good enough? Who's next?

Jeff Medkeff          | Acting Assistant Coordinator
Rockland Observatory  | Association of Lunar and Planetary
Sierra Vista, Arizona | Observers, Solar Section

On the web at http://shutter.vet.ohio-state.edu/