I have been a member of AAAP for many years but I have not been able to attend meetings lately due to my schedule. I have been broadcast engineer for most of my career but in 1998 I was contracted to supervise the design and construction of the Hayden Planetarium in NYC. It changed my life. In 2011 I joined the staff of Evens & Sutherland, assisting them with building planetariums internationally. While there I build my own small 4’ diameter portable planetarium based on the Digistar software and started teaching in public schools. I also taught for Northrop Grumman at conferences and public events about the JWST.
Teaching 8th grade Astronomy: https://youtu.be/dk2PPXop9-E
World Science Fest NYC JWST: https://youtu.be/MwuTRCAeOME
Along the way I met and became close friends with the late Prof. Jay Pasachoff of Williams College who asked me to build a planetarium as well. Jay invited me to my first Total Solar Eclipse in China in 2009 where I captured several videos of the event. It was my first time using a $100 equatorial mount for the live video camera.
TSE 2009 Fisheye: https://youtu.be/XLdb1b72GVM
TSE 2009 Realtime: https://youtu.be/LebZjhmE0_Q
In 2012 Jay invited me to join his team atop Haleakala to make a time lapse video of the last Transit of Venus in our lifetime. I purchased my first real mount and scope and just barely managed to align it in time for the 6.5 hour event.
Transit of Venus 2012: https://youtu.be/YKjm6QZRunA
On returning from the TOV I did a presentation for the AAAP where I met Robert Vanderbei. Robert approached me and asked if I could find a single image from Maui that matched images he shot from Princeton. We found two that were time stamped the same moment. Robert published a paper showing how it was possible to measure the AU from the two images.
Venus Transit Parallax Measurement
Over the years Robert has inspired and mentored me in refining my ability to align my scope to the point of being able to image deep space objects. My equipment is modest but I have a lot of fun.
Along the way I have continued to make time lapse videos of celestial events.
Here is a sample.
Transit of Mercury 2019: https://youtu.be/ghvZzkw86c4
Jupiter Rising 2012: https://youtu.be/fL1fciYQnMQ
TSE 2017 360deg: https://youtu.be/yq44Pcq7SvI (this works with google cardboard)
Winter Milky Way Haleakala: https://youtu.be/D95HouSvWT4
TSE 2012 Cairns, Australia: https://youtu.be/6YVocuUyQek (we were clouded out)
Presently I am upgrading two new planetariums, one for me and one for Williams College. They are based on the new E&S D7 software and will run in 4K. I have a lot of software to update and will need to re-render many of the videos. When I finish the upgrade perhaps I can do a demo for the AAAP, it will be few months yet.
With the help of Jay Pasachoff, I was given access to 4k frames from the SDO to do some studies of various Solar structures. Here is just a tiny taste: https://youtube.com/shorts/6_Z6nPPUNy8?feature=share I have many more but have not posted them.
If you are interested, I have also posted recordings I made of the Voyager II flyby of Neptune.
Voyager is one of my many obsessions. https://youtu.be/Xp22IEmotRU
Here are the two recent videos I posted on YouTube of the “Green Comet”