Phoenix Astronomical Society

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» People of PAS

These are the people that make P.A.S. go and the ones you are most likely to meet at our events.  We are a fun and interesting bunch of people all interested in science and the cosmos.  You won't see all of us at any single one, but you will see most of us at all.  We are very active in public outreach as we feel it is our duty to share the beauty of the night sky with as many people as we can.  We do this for two reasons, to foster interest in science and space exploration and to educate people about light pollution and how important it is to utilize good lighting in order to preserve the scenic beauty that is the night sky.  We are happy to help you with your scope or show you a splashy nebula or cluster.  We have a great time at all our meetings and star parties. Some of us are working on our observing awards, others do astrophotography and some just like to look.  You never have to feel intimidated with us as we all know what it is like to just start out as an amateur astronomer.  We've been there - done that and we'd like to help you.

We've each written a little bit about ourselves so that when we meet on the field you will know us.   

 
Sam on Astro Day 2006   Sam Insana
President

Sam has been a continuous member of PAS since 1986 and for 30 years has enjoyed exploring the night sky with his 8 inch newtonian reflector telescope. He has participated in star parties, attended meetings and scientific lectures, enjoyed the many socials, provided weather analysis for our club, and was elected President of PAS in 2015.  As President he would like to help our club organize field trips to planetariums, observatories, astronomical conventions, festivals, and other fun activities. He recognizes that our club has many talented members with a real passion for astronomy, so Sam would also like PAS to engage in scientific programs like occultation research, variable star studies, spectroscopic analysis, dark sky monitoring, meteor shower counts, and other activities the members could do individually or in groups. Sam has a Bachelor of Science degree in Engineering from Cal Tech, and worked with NASA's Planetary Quarantine unit in the late 1960's.  He has been a member of the Arizona Science Center since its inception in 1984. He practiced law for 35 years, but now enjoys stargazing, music, golf, birding, travel, and most activities involving nature.  His son Frank, a naturalist working at the Grand Canyon, and his wife Vera, still practicing law, also enjoy astronomy
 



Howard   Howard Moneta
Vice President
 

I have been fascinated with science, especially astronomy for my entire life. Within the last few years I have taken a strong interest in learning the night sky and observing its wonders for myself. The Phoenix Astronomical Society has been a wonderful resource - the members are friendly and knowledgeable and have encouraged my growth and development. I manage PAS’s MeetUp.com page and am also active with our telescope workshops, encouraging our members to travel out to dark sky locations where they can really take in the beauty of the night sky. Living in Arizona, we are near some of the best astronomical research facilities in the world; I strongly support club members in getting to see them for themselves. As assistant to the President and the Event Manager I always try to help the club grow. Please reach out to me if there is any thing that I can do to help you enjoy PAS.
         


Kevin Witts
Secretary

Kevin is currently the Secretary of the PAS. Kevin has had a lifelong interest in Astronomy and is an avid follower of all topics related to space exploration. He fondly recalls watching the first Moon landing on his family’s black and white TV when he was 6 and then collecting astronaut bubblegum cards. He has a collection of meteorites, scale model rockets and spacecraft, three telescopes and various binoculars. He also conducts presentations on behalf of PAS that focus on the Moon, planets, the Sun and various outer space phenomena and objects. He’s employed at a local university and has a very cool dog named Joey.

 
 


Eric Steinberg
Treasurer

Eric Steinberg is a Phoenix resident and avid astronomer. Fascinated by science and how things work from childhood, he has followed that path both personally and professionally. Eric has a BA in Biology/Premed from Rutgers College and an MS in Computer Science from Polytechnic Institute of New York. Especially interested in astronomy, he found the light pollution and heavy tree cover of New York to be frustrating enough to stick to “textbook” observing. After settling in the Valley he has been able to fully pursue that interest. These days, Eric can be seen regularly presenting at star parties or in the deep desert with his automated 22” Dobsonian telescope. In addition to his astronomy interest, Eric bring years of accounting and bookkeeping experience to the Treasurer's position here at PAS.
         
Don on an other world   Don Boyd
Editor
  I have been interested in astronomy for about 20 years, and 5 years ago I bought a small 4.5 inch goto scope. Shortly after this a friend told me about the Phoenix Astronomical Society and I went to a meeting. I have made many friends there and know that you will as well. In my job as Editor I am responsible for producing and distributing PAStimes, our club newsletter. I also take the minutes at our meetings and photos of our speakers.
         
Chris   Chris Johnson
Webmaster
  Chris is an avid astrophotographer. He owns his own observatory up in Mayer, AZ and hosts the Dark Site Star Parties at his location. He attends many outreach programs with the group. He is also the webmaster for Starizona, Hyperstarimaging, and David Levy's Let's Talk Stars. His current project is to enable remote imaging from his observatory for club members. His day job is a Systems Administrator for eBay.
          
Terri Prez with M42  
Terri Finch
Event Manager
and Planner
 
I have been interested in astronomy since 4th grade and have had my telescope for over 25 years - about as long as I’ve been a PAS member! I was the Editor of the PAStimes Newsletter for 14 years, President of the Club for 2 years, Vice President for 2 years, and now am the Event Manager. PAS is my most favorite hobby and the people in PAS are awesome! My favorite part of PAS is meeting new people. I strive to give them the best possible view of the night sky and love listening to them “oooo” and “ahhhh” when they see something new in the telescope. If you are looking for a friendly, helpful bunch of amateur astronomers to share your hobby with, this is the club to be involved with.
As Event Manager, I plan, organize and manage the PAS star parties for schools and other organizations that contact me to provide telescopes for their events. If you have an event you wish to have PAS participate in, email me the details. Remember our mottos: “Bring a Friend!” and “Let P.A.S. Be Your Portal to the Stars!”
I am also a private music instructor (I play 15 instruments and I teach 8 of them). Though PAS is my favorite, my other hobbies include, photography, art, rubber stamp greeting cards, Doctor Who, watching movies and more.




 
 Alex Vrenois Member At Large    Alex Vrenios
Member-at-Large
   I am a retired computer scientist. My first telescope was a gift from my older brother when I was ten or twelve. It was a Newtonian with a 3” metal mirror in a cardboard tube on a rickety tripod. “First light” was a street lamp; second light was the Moon that I was originally aiming for.

 



Matt, the green silent type   Matt Kohl
Member
  Matt was placed on Earth quite a while ago. As an amateur astronomer he scours the night sky hoping to find where he belongs in the universe.
 



Mike relaxing on Triton
Mike Marron
Member
  Mike Marron has been an amateur astronomer for almost all of his life. When Mike was very young his father began working with the Roger B. Chaffee Planetarium in the Grand Rapids Museum. Both of Mike’s parents have run the Grand Rapids Amateur Astronomical Association (GRAAA) and have long-term also been involved in acting, directing and the arts. As a youth Mike helped build and then teach astronomy at the James C. Veen Observatory built on a hill in his parents backyard in association with the G.R. Museum, the planetarium, and GRAAA. During the 60's Mike also helped his parents build a solar heated, ground cooled, Frank Lloyd Wright prairie-style house with a windmill electric generator. A graduate of Michigan State University, Mike has wide ranging interests and can be heard talking about his theoretical contributions to impact related planetary geophysics, stellar mechanics, galactic evolution, the reading of stellar and galactic jets, cosmology, quantum physics, and prime numbers. Mike is rebuilding a century old ranch house in Carefree and has a 6" Celestron. Mike can be found teaching stellar and planetary evolution to both the young and old with his touchable collection of meteorites at various public schools, colleges, hospitals and other venues.
 
 



William (Bill) Powell

I joined the US Air Force right out of high school and served 20 years including stateside assignments at Monterey, CA, Omaha, NB, Fairbanks, AK, and Anchorage, AK. Overseas assignments included Okinawa and Germany. I have a BS Degree in Computer Science which I put to good use after the Air Force. I worked as a software engineer and software test engineer for various companies. Most recently I worked as an information security officer for the Veterans Health Administration, retiring in early 2015. My wife and I moved to the Phoenix area in 2014 and live in the northwest valley. Interests include astronomy, photography, and amateur radio. My telescopes include a 12” Meade LX200GPS SCT and an 80mm Meade APO with a computerized Celestron CG-5 mount. I have read and studied a lot and really want to get out and observe. Eventually I would like to get into astrophotography and spectroscopy. It’s great to have the time and opportunity to get involved with an active club and other folks interested in astronomy.
          


Dewell Howell

I have loved Astronomy since first watching Cosmos on PBS at 9 years old. If I had heroes, Carl Sagan would be one.  I am passionate about science in general but love astronomy best of all.

 








 
 


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