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TPSBAVN Newsletter
August 2004

Published 09.01.04

TPSBAVN Website:
TPSBAVN Discussion
Please join. Currently, there are 7 proud members. There were 21 postings in August alone.

Our Next Meeting
September 12th at 1:30
at Barbara’s Menlo Park residence.
We welcome all TPS members to attend. For directions, please call Lonny or Chris Nye.

Mingling Microbes –2 will take place November 3.
This past month Mark and I have been trying to coordinate Mingling Microbes. Well, today the plans finally solidified. Gail C, from the Independence Planetarium, offered TPSBAVN a venue at no cost. It is the "C villa commons", at the Independence Planetarium in San Jose. The venue has new carpet, screen, platform for the panel, lectern, ability for PowerPoint presentations, etc. It has a 300 seat capacity. It is more conducive to a panel discussion. The audience is closer to the panelists and it would be good for audience participation.

With the Cassini/Huygens mission prominent this year, it will be an exciting and poignant discussion. You won’t want to miss it!

A large part of our next meeting will be preparing for Mingling Microbes. There will be many items and issues to discuss (i.e. tickets, advertising, audience participation, etc.). So, come to the meeting and let your opinion be heard as we gear up for the big event.

I’d like to extend a thank you to Mark and Gail for helping to finalizing Mingling Microbes. Mark spent a lot of time coordinating our prominent speakers, busy schedules. This allowed Gail to complete the paperwork and book the great venue.

I’d also like to thank those volunteers who have signed up to work the fall 2004 events. We still need more!

Volunteer Profile
This month we are continuing with the volunteer profile. There was nothing but positive feedback regarding this. The goal is to highlight a TPSBAVN volunteer each month, and learn more about the people we volunteer with. Last month Ron Peterson was honored to be the first TPSBAVN volunteer profiled. So, Ron was able to pick this month’s profilee. Ron chose Lonny. Here is Lonny’s profile:

Lonny, thanks for taking the time to let other volunteers get to know you a little more. Feel free to answer the questions you want, how you want?

Q. What city do you reside in?
A. Daly City (aka Baja San Francisco)

Q. How long have you lived in the Bay Area?
A. 17.75 years!

Q. How long have you been a member of The Planetary Society?
A. 24 years - I just missed joining the first year.

Q. How long have you been an active volunteer for TPSBAVN?
A. 17 years

Q. What is your favorite memory of TPSBAVN?
A. As a group, we've planned some wonderful events and activities together. I've enjoyed the annual potluck get together as well as the after event dinners and group trips to Planetfest. But, my favorite memory is working the "Continuing the Search - Life on Mars?" program, moderated by Carl Sagan, 24 March 1988. After the event, all the volunteers walked next door for a small party. I made a special point to welcome our newest volunteer, introduce him to other, and generally make him feel like part of the group. Three years later Todd and I married!

Q. What is/was your occupation?
A. Once upon a time I was a research assistant on the Pioneer project. [Pioneer 10 was the first spacecraft to visit the outer solar system, which meant it was the first to pass through the asteroid belt, and first to survive the intense radiation of Jupiter. Pioneer 11 was the first craft to reach Saturn and thus, the first to survive the ring crossing. Before Pioneer, we had no way of knowing if a spacecraft could survive such a harsh environment. These were all thrilling stepping stones.] Pre-launch, my job was to calibrate the flight instrument and I had a two year observing program at the 21" telescope (at Steward Observatory in Tucson) to calibrate the filters used by the (IPP) Imaging photo polarimeter. I wrote dozens of programs to analyze the data, which I did following the fly-bys. Being a people person, I was happy to leave all those bits and bytes behind when the project ended and take up a new career as the astronomy educator at the Flandrau Planetarium (University of Arizona), followed by a similar job at the Morrison Planetarium (San Francisco). I also did a stint as a meeting planner. I'm now retired.

Q. Where did you attend college or university?
A. University of Arizona, Tucson

Q. When did you first become interested in Astronomy?
A. While at UA, I was offered a job at the Lunar and Planetary Lab on what turned out to be the Pioneer 10/11 missions to Jupiter and Saturn. Suddenly, a whole new universe opened up for me!

Q. Is there a specific astronomical area of interest you focus on (i.e. comets, asteroids, planets, moon)
A. Planets. It's been incredible to watch the planets evolve from remote star-like objects to places as familiar as our own backyard.

Q. What are some of your hobbies?
A. I love to read. Can it be called a hobby to enjoy working with people? I tutor in an adult literacy program when not promoting The Planetary Society by working with volunteers in 22 countries via the TPS Global Volunteer Network.

Q. Is there anything else you’d like people to know about you?
A. Is there anything I haven't said?

Q. What do you like to do most as a TPSBAVN member
A. Listen to Lou Friedman describe TPSBAVN as the best group of volunteers ever!

Q. What kind of event or program would you like TPSBAVN to put on next?
A. Mingling Microbes, followed by a Cassini/Huygens event in the Spring.

TPSBAVN Websites of the month
Feel free to share any websites relevant to TPSBAVN. We’ll publish all the websites on the TPSBAVN Yahoo Groups page which is located here: .

Radio Telescope Rescue -

Stanford University is decommissioning an array of 60 foot radio telescopes located off Alpine Road near the University. This site was used for many years for radio astronomy by Stanford University Professor Ronald Bracewell and his research group. It is a serious research facility. An opportunity exists for interested parties to either take over and continue operation of the site or take possession of the radio telescopes for radio astronomy or other uses. Stanford has delayed demolition of the radio telescopes for 10 months to give private parties time to organize and fund continued use of the site or relocation of the telescopes.

Note: TPSBAVN is not involved in any way with the above link or the request for volunteers. If you do decide to assist in the radio telescope rescue, it would be on individual basis.

Upcoming Events
We have three upcoming events. If you’d like to volunteer at any of these events please contact Matt or Chris.

1. Mingling Microbes
Location: Independence Planetarium, San Jose (See the TPSBAVN website for detailed directions)
Dates: November 3, 2004
Time: 7-9 pm

2. W Foundation -
Location: Unity Center in Novato
Dates: October 21-24
Time: 10am - 7pm

We, TPSBAVN, have been asked to organize the Star Party for October 23rd, Saturday night. We need people who will be willing to bring telescopes, or help operate them. The Star Party is free with the main objective being to introduce others to the astronomy.

3. Wonderfest -
Location: At both Stanford and U.C. Berkeley.
Dates: November 6-7
Time: 9am – 5pm

Volunteer Feedback
If you have an idea or suggestion about anything related to TPSBAVN, feel free to contact us and let us know.

See you at the next meeting,



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