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Timothy Ferris portraitTimothy Ferris, Bay Area resident and world-famous author of Coming of Age in the Milky Way, The Whole Shebang, and Seeing in the Dark is to deliver the keynote talk.

A former newspaper reporter and editor of Rolling Stone magazine, Ferris is a frequent contributor to The New Yorker and The New York Review of Books.  His periodical contributions include over 200 published articles, essays, and book reviews.
He produced the Voyager phonograph record, an artifact of human civilization containing music, sounds of Earth and encoded photographs launched aboard the Voyager interstellar spacecraft, and was among the journalists selected as candidates to fly aboard the Space Shuttle in 1986.
Called “the best popular science writer in the English language” by The Christian Science Monitor and “the best science writer of his generation” by The Washington Post, Ferris has received the American Institute of Physics prize and a Guggenheim Fellowship.  His works have been nominated for the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize.   His latest work, Seeing in the Dark, was ranked by The New York Times Book Review as one of the ten best books published in 2002.

Lynette Cook portraitLynette Cook, astronomical illustrator, will present her talk entitled “Putting a Face on Distant Worlds”. About 150 planets have been discovered outside our solar system. They are too far away to be seen directly. Even when technology improves so that we can photograph these worlds, the images will be just a few pixels across. Lynette paints the portraits of these distant places. With scientific facts in one hand and an artist’s tools in the other, she is able to show these faraway planets in detail, giving us realistic pictures of how they might appear if we could travel there in person and see them close up.
Lynette has created many renderings of both confirmed and possible worlds, often consulting with the discoverers for input on what they might look like. Her art has been widely published, including documentaries on CNN and PBS, and in the publications Astronomy, Sky & Telescope, Time, Newsweek, Eos (Belgium), Science et Vie (France), bild der wissenschaft (Germany), and Focus (Spain). She has also exhibited her original artwork at locations including the American Museum of Natural History, Lick Observatory, NASA Ames Research Center, the Smithsonian, Space Center Houston, and Stanford University.
Here is an example of a recently discovered transiting planet HD149026b that was featured in a
Sky and Telescope article written by SFAA member and S & T editor Robert Naeye.

Steve Gottlieb and his daughterSteve Gottlieb For the past two decades, Steve has been involved with a group of amateur and professional astronomers (The NGC/IC Project at whose goal is to re-examine the 100 to 200-year old source material used by J.J. Dreyer to compile the NGC and IC.
A staggering 15 to 20 percent of all NGC entries have known or potential identification problems — poor positions, misidentifications, duplicate entries, incorrect classifications, and confusion with single or multiple stars. Their catalogue sleuthing has resulted in recovering literally hundreds of mistaken identities, lost objects, and other mysteries that have created a maze of confusion in today’s professional astronomical databases and amateur software.
In this talk Steve will discuss some examples of his catalogue sleuthing (and background on the early visual astronomers) as well as the current status of his detective work.

richardcrispscopesRichard Crisp
is a local San Francisco Bay Area astro-imager who has concentrated on
developing techniques for taking astronomical images using narrowband filters.
Working as a technology development director for an innovative Silicon Valley intellectual property company,
he spends his time off taking images from his suburban east-bay backyard.
Here he is imaging at Fremont Peak State Park.
Richard also enjoys designing and building equipment including large aperture cassegrain telescopes.
His website, has many of his images and photos of various design projects. Richard bought his first telescope from Scope City in November of 2000 and has been very active since that fateful day when Richard first met Sam.
Since that time his images have been published in several books, magazines and NASA APOD pages.

marni-Marni Berendsen 
has been a member of MDAS since 1991. She is the Education Project Coordinator at the Astronomical Society of the Pacific developing outreach materials and programs for amateur astronomers.
Recently Marni completed her Masters in Astronomy program at Western Sydney University.
Since a child, Marnie has been deeply interested in astronomy from the time when her mother first showed her the star maps she made as a Girl Scout from the 20's.  
Marnie has designed and conducted many hands-on workshops for MDAS members as well as student groups emphasizing the thrill of discovery. 
Marnie will engage us by passing on that energy of the Night Sky Network  a new ASP program,
specifically designed for amateur astronomers.

bobschalckBob Schalck is a North Bay professional optician, co-founder of the AANC,
and winner of the 1983 AANC Award for Outstanding Amateur Astronomer. 
He has loved astronomy and telescopes since childhood.
In New York City, Bob  took a telescope making class at the Hayden Planetarium . 
Bob's  worked at some of the major optical companies and was part of a team who made the optics
on most of the spacecraft that traveled to the planets; recently the Saturn Mission's Cassini spacecraft .
For 16 years he worked for Humphrey Instruments, designing and building equipment to measure and photograph the human eye. While doing research designing and building prototypes,
Bob worked directly with Dr. Luis Alvares, a Nobel Prize winner. 
Bob designed and built a spherical optical telescope and published the design.
He continues to enjoy astronomy by  teaching telescope making and donates optics to schools. 
During the Conference, Bob will host a workshop on caring for telescope optics.

john_dillonJohn Dillon is Curator of Natural Science at the Randall Museum and President of the San Francisco Amateur Astronomers. He is also a Lecturer in the History and Philosophy of Science at the University of California Extension and the California Academy of Sciences. While preparing an exhibit of antique microscopes, John became intrigued by the development of the very first microscopes and soon ran smack into the name of Galileo! It turns out that any attempt to trace the history of the first microscope becomes the search for the first telescope - and that in turn leads to some intriguing, but little known, insights into the emergence of modern science. His talk is entitled The “First” Telescope.

vic-in_opticslabVic Maris' lifelong interest in astronomy began in the 60's after reading the Golden Book of Astronomy.  Unfortunately he was discouraged with the 60mm scope his Dad gave him, and it sat in a closet.  After his interest in astronomy was renewed by a neighbor, he challenged himself to "build a better telescope".
Now with 30 years of teaching astronomy and making telescopes, Vic feels he's paying back all who encouraged him in the process. 
Vic is
owner and founder of 
StellarVue Telescopes.
As a naturalist and former State Park Ranger, Vic has helped astronomy clubs
California wide resolve State park land use issues.
Vic may appear sometime on Saturday personified as a living history of Galileo.

chad moore pix
Chad Moore is an amatuer astronomer and scientist for the Nation Park Service stationed at Bryce Canoyn, Utah.  He works with pars around the nation to protect, share, and restore their dark night skies, we so love.  His team has dieveloped a method for capturing high resolution photometric brightness standards fo the celestial hemesphere.
Thes inventories of light pollution provide a tragically graphic representation fo what has been lost in our night sky.
This work has been highlighted in articles in the NY Times, LA Times, NPR, and features in PVS Nova and National Geographis Magzine.
Chad discussed current developments in astronomy and stargazing at parks, hight exciting partership opportunieies between ath NPS and the astronomy community, and showcased some of the light pollution data collected.

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