AAAA Attends Starry Nights Festival
October 16-18, 1998
Presented by the Town of Yucca Valley,
and the Western Region of the Astronomical League (WRAL).
The Annual meeting of the Western Region of the Astronomical
League was held during the Starry Nights Festival at Yucca Valley, Ca, on Saturday, October 17, 1998. There were
about 40 people attending the meeting.
WRAL Chairman Bob Gent introduced Jim Schooler of Yucca Valley Community Services, who was instrumental in bringing
the Starry Nights Festival to Yucca Valley.
Jim Schooler introduced Mayor Pro-Temp Bob Leone, who made welcoming remarks to the attendees., saying that Yucca
Valley is fortunate to be able to promote its dark skies through the Festival.
The main item of business at the WRAL meeting was discussions on how to bring the Western Amateur Astronomers into
the Astronomical League. Tim Hunter and Lance Shaw made a motion that the WRAL rename the region as the “Western
Amateur Astronomers - A region of the Astronomical League,” if WAA consents to merge. The motion was passed by
acclimation, and will now be passed to the Executive Committee of the WAA.
The second Annual WRAL Burnham Award for Exceptional Contributions to Amateur Astronomy was presented to Dr. Paul
Coomba, of Prescott, AZ, for his work in asteroid discovery. Dr. Coomba has discovered over 460 asteroids by himself
using an 18-inch Dobsonian telescope. He has also recently developed a new asteroid observing program for the Astronomical
League. This award is named for Robert Burnham, whose Celestial Handbook is widely used by amateur astronomers.
Burnham died in 1996.
A major topic of business was the problems with the observing site at the Black Rock Campground in nearby Joshua
Tree National Park. The Park Service is unable to designate the campground to SNF exclusively, so the Festival
had to buy all the campsites in the park, a large expense for this young festival. Next year, there are plans to
have in-town observing, with tarps acting as light shields.
Chairman Bob Gent has moved to Virginia, and so has stepped down. Wayne Johnson was elected WRAL Chairman as well
as Chairman of SNF. Tim Hunter replaces Wayne as WRAL Representative to the AL, while Marishka Emry remains as
Vice-Chairman. Marishka also established a publicity committee for the Festival.
|A Meade ETX telescope was the main door prize at the Starry Nights Festival. Other door prizes
included copies of The RealSky software and astronomy books/ Here WRAL Chairman Bob Gent presents the prize to
Go to the AAAA Home Page
Go to the Starry Nights Menu