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Inaugural Talk by Arne Henden
Director of the American Association of Variable Star Observers (AAVSO)
"You Should Observe Variable Stars!" 
(Click here for Abstract)

Closing Banquet Talk by Richard Berry
Former Editor of Astronomy Magazine &
Author of
The Handbook of Image Processing

"Astronomy in South Africa and Visiting the South African Large Telescope (SALT)"
(Click here for Abstract)

Dave Arnold
Richard Berry
Robert Buchheim
Jim Carlisle
Kent Clark
Gary Cole
Richard Crisp
Thomas Frey

   Russ Genet
   Dan Gray
   Andrew Gould
   Joe Haberman
   Arne Henden
   Jo Johnson
   Eric Kopit
   Sara Martin
   Tom Osypowski   
   Russ Robb
   Wayne Rosing
   Dave Rowe
   Tom Smith
   Vera Wallen

Just click on any speaker that is underlined and it will take you to their bio
More will be added as they are confirmed. Please check back for regular updates.

Speakers are linked to bios as soon as they are received.

Below is a partial list of speaker titles.


Abstract of Inaugural Talk by Arne Henden
"You Should Observe Variable Stars!"

Observing variable stars is an easy task - you just compare the brightness of a star with respect to reference stars in the field. It is easier than counting sunspots or drawing Jupiter's cloud bands. Yet, as simple as it can be, there are enormous scientific benefits involved. The study of variable stars hits on almost every professional astronomical project, whether you are studying exoplanets, high-energy phenomena, star formation, or even the expansion of the universe. This talk will highlight a few of these activities, giving case examples where amateur contributions have been essential, and how you can become part of the community today.

Abstract of Closing Banquet Talk by Richard Berry
"Astronomy in South Africa & Visiting the South African Large Telescope (SALT)"

Although this conference is about astronomy with modest telescopes, I have something for the dreamers. Last year, I visited Johannesburg, Sutherland, and Cape Town in South Africa. Among the astronomical instruments I saw was the South African Large Telescope (SALT), an 11-meter f/4 fixed-altitude telescope with an innovative design. As you digest your meal, I'll share some pictures of home-built Dobs, big refractors, Cousins' photometric observatory, SALT, and a couple of lions and warthogs.

Dave Arnold - "Considering Proper Motion in the Analysis of Visual Double Stars."

Robert Buchheim - "Evidence of Things Not Seen"

Jim Carlisle -  "Enter Expolanets: WASP-1 introduces Students to a fascinating new field of research"

Kent Clark - "All about the JDSO"

Gary Cole - "Small Telescope Automated Spectroscopy"

Richard Crisp - "Polarization imaging using Stokes Parameters"  & "Trends in image sensor development" or "RBI in Full Frame CCDs: its root cause and strategies for management". (Alternate talk)

Tom Frey - "Visual Double Star Measurements with an Alt-Az Telescope"

Russ Genet - "Student Research as Science Education" and
"Modest Aperture Alt-Az Research Telescopes"

Andrew Gould - "MicroFUN: Amateur + Professional Collaboration
to Find Planets Using Gravitational Microlensing".

Dan Gray - "The New Sidereal Technology Telescope Control System"

Jo Johnson - "Visual Double Star Measurements with a Video CCD Camera
and Astrometric Overlay"

Eric Kopit - "Orion Products for Astronomical Research at Affordable Prices"

Dave Rowe
- "Optical Design of Small Telescopes" and
"Direct Drive Servo Systems for Small Telescopes"

Tom Smith - “Collaboration and Remote Student Research at the Dark Ridge Observatory”.

Rich Williams - "Commercial Remote Observatories: Flexible, expedient, and cost effective facilities for astronomy research and education projects"

Dave Arnold has been conducting a double star research program in Flagstaff, Arizona since April 2001. He has previously published 23 double star research papers in the Double Star Observer and 13 papers in the Journal of Double Star Observations. Since this project began, he has measured over 3,700 double and multiple stars, and has published a combination of over 100 new double stars discoveries, or newly added components to existing systems.

Richard Berry writes books and computer software from his home on the wet western side of the Cascade Mountains in Oregon. His books include The Handbook of Astronomical Image Processing with its AIP4Win software (with Jim Burnell), Build Your Own Telescope, The Dobsonian Telescope, a Practical Manual for Building Large Aperture Telescopes (with Dave Kriege), and The CCD Camera Cookbook (with Viekko Kanto and John Munger)—all published with Willmann-Bell. You can find more on his tests of the QSI 532ws plus pictures of Comet Holmes, etc., etc., on his website at And of course, he has another couple of books percolating….

Robert Buchheim is a long time member of the Orange County Astronomers and has been a Trustee and Corporate Secretary of the OCA for several years. He is an experienced visual observer, a mediocre astroimager, and an avid amateur scientist. He has published a few sketches in Deep Sky magazine (if you go that far back!), presented papers at RTMC (Riverside Telescope Makers Conference) and SAS (Society for Astronomical Sciences), determined a handful of asteroid lightcurves that have been published in the Minor Planet Bulletin, and provided modern measurements of a few double stars that have been published in the Journal of Double Star Observations. He has also published a few non-astronomical  papers in peer-reviewed journals. By day he is the General Manager of an aerospace manufacturing facility. By night he is the astronomer-in-charge of Altimira Observatory ( His recently-published book, The Sky Is Your Laboratory is designed to help amateur astronomers become backyard scientists.

Jim Carlisle is a long time amateur telescope maker and inventor, whose worst invention is published in Peter L Manly's Unusual Telescopes, Cambridge University Press, pp 138-140, and best invention was patented in 1995--a true newtonian binocular telescope that is quite comfortable to use. Jim has acquired an RCX400 Meade 14' and is using it in conjunction with Russ Genet's classwork to aid student researchers. His most interesting project to date has been the coordinated observation of Wasp 1b with Tom Smith and Cindy Foote's observatory, resulting in a pending publication of their findings.

Kent Clark is the managing editor of the Journal of Double Star Observations and a lifelong amateur astronomer.  He is also a professor of physics at the University of South Alabama.  He teaches the usual assortment of physics courses in addition to Introduction to Astronomy, Astrophysics, and History of Astronomy.

Gary Cole (Starphysics Observatory, Reno) is a lifelong amateur astronomer and one of the early practitioners of amateur spectroscopy. Gary is a software designer and entrepreneur with a background in physics and a deep interest in astronomical instrumentation. He is developing an automated astrophysics observing system. Gary also teaches an annual seminar on spectroscopy at Western Nevada College.

Richard Crisp is an electrical engineer with over 30 years experience in integrated circuit design and development. Having designed numerous microprocessors and memory ICs (high-speed DRAM and SRAMs) he has over 17 US patents issued and several pending. Mr. Crisp was the Chair of the Program Committee for the International Solid State Circuits Conference for the year 2000 and ran the memory subcommittee and was a member thereof for the prior nine years. His current research interests are in image sensor and systems design and image sensor process technology. He is an honors graduate from Texas A&M University and a member of Eta Kappa Nu and Phi Eta Sigma. Mr. Crisp purchased his first telescope in late 2000 and has been an active astro-imager since. In the prior seven years he has played a major role in popularizing tricolor narrowband emission line imaging, having written a definitive paper for the August 2005 Sky and Telescope on topic and more recently his paper on Stokes Parameter imaging that appeared in the July 2007 issue of Amateur Astronomy. Additionally, Mr. Crisp designs and constructs much of his imaging systems in his workshop citing a dearth of appropriate hardware for his interests.

Thomas Frey is a Professor Emeritus of California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, CA. Since 1970, his teaching has focused on organic chemistry and scientific glassblowing. He has been interested in astronomy since childhood and has been an active member of the Central Coast Astronomical Society for over 25 years. He enjoys using his 18-inch Obsession reflector for visual observation and double star research.

Russ Genet is Research Scholar in Residence at California Polytechnic State University, and Adjunct Professor of Astronomy at Cuesta College. The founder and former Director of the Fairborn Observatory, Russ and Louis Boyd pioneered the development of robotic telescopes. Author of several books on astronomy and telescope control, Russ was the 51st President of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific.

Dan Gray is President and Director of Engineering of both Technical Marine Service (TMS), and Sidereal Technology. Dan founded TMS, a marine controls company, in 1987, and Sidereal Technology in 2003. He has innovatively developed many types of control systems for ocean-going vessels as well as telescopes. An active telescope maker for 30 years, Dan created and popularized the "string" telescope.,

 Andrew Gould is a Distinguished Professor of Mathematical and Physical Sciences at Ohio State University. He is the principle investigator of the Microlensing Follow Up Network (MicroFUN), a collaboration of approximately 30 amateur and professional astronomers dedicated to finding extrasolar planets using gravitational microlensing. MicroFUN has found 4 planets to date, including the first Jupiter/Saturn "Solar System analog".

Joe Haberman is Vice President of PlaneWave Instruments. An avid amateur astronomer, Joe started making optics in the early 1990s as an amateur telescope maker. He eventually started his own optics company, Haberman Optics, and built a reputation for making high quality, large aperture paraboloid mirrors. Joe went on to become the master optician at Celestron before co-founding PlaneWave Instruments in 2006 with Rick Hedrick.

Arne Henden is the Director of the American Association of Variable Star Observers (AAVSO) in Cambridge, MA. He is a professional observational research astronomer, with interests in hardware (CCD cameras, spectrographs, near infrared instrumentation), software (development of image processing systems and instrument control interfaces) and pro-am collaborations, in addition to his long-time love of variable stars. He has one textbook in print (Astronomical Photometry, with Ron Kaitchuck) along with over a hundred refereed papers.

Jo Johnson is in his second year at Cuesta College in San Luis Obispo.  He was enrolled in the astronomy research seminar at Cuesta College this past fall.  Jo is concentrating his astronomical research on double stars, visual asteroids, and exoplanets, with five papers in the field to his credit.  He is currently co-chairing the 2008 Small Telescopes & Astronomical Research (STAR) Conference in San Luis Obispo.

Eric Kopit is the Product Development Manager at Orion Telescopes (in Watsonville, CA). He has worked in the commercial astronomical telescope industry for almost two decades, and is an experienced observer. He studied Physics and Astronomy at the University of California at Santa Cruz.

Sara Martin, a solar astronomer, is now President and Senior Scientist at Helio Research, a non-profit corporation founded in 1995 by Sara and her husband Douglas Martin along with other members of the board of directors. Sara has conducted much of her recent research using the 10-inch Martin telescope designed and built by Douglas, now retired from his former company, Spectra Optics. Sara also conducts collaborative research with an international team of solar astronomers who acquire data from an array of ground-based and space-based solar telescopes. Two findings in which Sara played a key role were the discovery of the counterstreaming in solar prominences and the roll effect in erupting prominences. These findings follow on earlier discoveries by Sara and colleagues showing that nearly every feature on the Sun has chirality or handedness including sunspots.

Tom Osypowski is a long-time amateur astronomer, telescope maker and owner of Equatorial Platforms, a manufacturing company in northern California.   As the name implies, the company specializes in the production of Equatorial Platforms for Dobsonian Telescopes.  Another product line consists of all-Aluminum Newtonian Telescopes suited for advanced amateurs and small university observatories.  When he is not in his shop, Tom can be found using his own telescopes, or on one of the local golf courses.

Russ Robb teaches introductory Astronomy at the University of Victoria, has automated the UVic 0.5 meter telescope and has published articles on asteroids and variable stars. His experience has shown that astrophysically interesting work can be done by relatively untrained observers using small telescopes from less than ideal astronomical sites.

David Rowe is Chief Technology Officer and Co-founder of Sierra Monolithics. An avid amateur astronomer, optical designer, and ATM, Dave has designed and fabricated many telescopes, including a corrected Dall-Kirkham, a flat field concentric Schmidt Cassegrain, and several Schmidt cameras and corrected Newtonians.

Tom Smith is the Director of the Dark Ridge Observatory in New Mexico. Tom is a retired nuclear maintenance supervisor and senior software programmer as well as an advanced amateur astronomer. Tom established the Dark Ridge Observatory as a non-profit organization in Weed, New Mexico, and has been working with students and faculty from several colleges and universities as a mentor for CCD photometry and image data reduction. Tom also conducts research on eclipsing binaries.

Vera Wallen is a retired public school district superintendent and teacher with 40 years experience in education. She focused her career on leading special students to achieve their full potential and maximizing faculty application of the latest learning research. A life-long dreamer of space travel, she took her first astronomy class from Russ Genet at Cuesta College in her 10th year of retirement on the Central Coast.

Rich Williams has a lifelong passion for doing astronomy. In 1996 he worked with the people at Torus Precision Optics to develop an automated/robotic telescope system while working for Microsoft. His telescope and the Torus Observatory became the prototype for the company's advanced telescope technology. In 1997 Rich left Microsoft to form Torus Technologies with James and Tony Mulherin from Torus Precision Optics. As the Vice President of Marketing and Product Development, Rich worked with astronomers around the world on various projects and contributed photometry and astrometry data when needed from his observatory in Buckley, WA. Today Rich owns and operates the Sierra Stars Observatory and automated/robotic system with a OMI 24-inch F/10 Classical Cassegrain telescope used commercially to provide time to clients around the world. Rich is currently working on expanding the Sierra Stars Observatory into a worldwide network of comparable professional observatories.


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