I am the current Society Director of the G.H.A.A.S. in which I was elected in January 2020. I have been a member of the society since 2011 and been very active to draw more people into our organization. Over the past several years I have seen continual growth in our organization and the new excitement of the astronomy hobby. For several years when I first joined the organization I was one of the few members that used our dark site location on a regular basis it was very sad that this site was unused. I shared this site with my family in which they loved coming up to view the night sky with me. My wife (Diana Smaglik) would tell the kinds to lay on the concrete pad and just look up at the night sky. The kids really enjoyed seeing the stars appearing in the sky and were amazed by its’ beauty. When the kids viewed the moon, Jupiter, and Saturn they were blown away on how close things appeared.
The past four years I have seen an up swing of new members that joined the society and a new excitement had given birth in it. These new members were just like me excited to learn about the night sky and the use of our dark site. It was great not to be alone at the site no more. With these new club members we have improved the dark site a lot to make it more enjoyable for everyone.
Now more about me…. I have been interested in astronomy all my life but did not have the time to do it. In 2009 I bought my first telescope which was a Meade LX 90 it was a nice little scope it open the door sort of speak to view the night sky. I used this scope a lot in the beginning but it was too small for my needs. I proceeded on purchasing a Meade LX 125 which was a little bigger but not really gaining anything so I then bought an Orion 6 inch DOB. When I used the DOB for the first time I was totally blown away on what I could see in the night sky in which got me very hooked on the night sky. I saw Jupiter in great detail for the first time, and the moon in it’s different phases was amazing. I viewed galaxies for the first time and my mouth just dropped to the ground.
So as time went buy I have bought more scopes like the Celestron 6 SE in which I used that scope to death and started to do imaging with it. I had a fellow member modified by DSLR camera to take photos of the night sky. Taking pictures is so much fun I would just take a picture of anything in which I was impressed on my results. As more time went by I bought a Celestron Edge 1100 HD and other accessories to make it my imaging rig in which I still use today. I really enjoy this rig because I am very comfortable on using it, I can setup and take down in the dark. When I do imaging it is always a work in progress and that is what it makes it fun for me.
I have made a lot of new friends since I joined this club back in 2011 and we have done so much together to improve my quality of life in astronomy and to have more friends at the dark site that they are there with me at night.
Things that I learned about the astronomy hobby:
- Astronomy Hobby is expensive.
- Bigger the scope the harder it is to put in your Vehicle.
- One telescope is never enough.
- Never can have enough Eye Pieces.
- Weather is always a problem.
- When buying new equipment the sky gods are mad and will be cloudy for weeks.
- Count on always make mistakes.
- Never say that I will not buy anything else for the hobby (It’s a lie, Trust me).
- Never use a laser at a public dark site.
- Have a check list when going away to a public dark site ( you will forget something)
- Always bring toilet paper!