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Georgia Sky View 2009 -  "A Stellar Event"

Phil Sacco


PHILIP SACCO is one of the most highly sought-after speakers in amateur astronomy.  Blessed with an engaging wit, a love for the mythology of the night sky and a storyteller's flair for the dramatic, Philip has been known to deliver his mythology talks clad in open-toed sandals and a toga.

     Philip is a modern Renaissance man, a visionary who is an acknowledged authority on virtually every aspect of astronomy from cosmology to technology to (of course) mythology.  He served two terms as President of the Atlanta Astronomy Club, during which time the AAC experienced the largest growth gains in its history and became the largest club in the southeastern U. S.  During his term as Observing Vice President, Philip was instrumental in breathing life back into the club by revitalizing the AAC's Villa Rica observing site. 

     Philip played a major role in the formation and early development of the Charlie Elliott club, an AAC affiliate, and he served for six years as Southeastern Representative of the Astronomical League (SERAL).  Philip also narrated FRAC's stunningly beatiful "The Night Sky Explorers" CD (which, incidentally will be on sale at GSV '09).

     Last (but certainly not least), Philip is the A. L.'s Master Observer #11, having attained that lofty status by earning ten A. L. observing club pins.

     Philip lives in Stone Mountain, Ga.



Dr. Richard Schmude

Dr. Schmude most recent publication is "URANUS, NEPTUNE AND PLUTO and How To Observe Them."



On July 19, 2008, DR. RICHARD W. SCHMUDE, JR. received the prestigious 2008 ASTRONOMICAL LEAGUE AWARD, the highest honor bestowed by that organization.  When presented at all -- it's not an annual award -- the A. L. Award "is presented to any person, either amateur or professional, who has made worthwhile contributions to the science of astronomy on a national or international level."  Nominees must be elected unanimously by the selection committee.

     Dr. Schmude's achievements, honors and activities in astronomy are legendary.  He has served as Executive Director of the Assn. of Lunar and Planetary Observers (A.L.P.O.), and he will serve in that capacity again in 2009.  He was the Executive Secretary of the A. L. from 2003-05.  He has delivered nearly 400 talks (and conducted 86 workshops) for audiences ranging from kindergarten classes to high school groups and amateur and professional astronomers, engaging such groups on their own levels of comprehension.

     Dr. Schmude has served as coordinator of the Jupiter and Outer Planets sections and assistant coordinator of the Mars section of A.L.P.O., and his book on Jupiter, "Jupiter Observer's Handbook," was published by the Astronomical League.  In his own research, Dr. Schmude has conducted more than 1,000 photoelectric magnitude measurements of all the planets and more than 51,000 visual magnitude measurements of variable stars for the Amer. Assn. of Variable Star Observers (A.A.V.S.O.).

     Dr. Schmude most recent publication is "URANUS, NEPTUNE AND PLUTO and How To Observe Them."

     Dr. Schmude is a professor of chemistry at Gordon College.  He lives in Barnesville, Ga.



Brian Combs


Brian is originally from south Florida but has lived in Macon since attending Mercer University (B.A. Political Science, 1980) and Walter F. George School of law (class of 1983). He practices law in Milledgeville, Georgia in a sole practice.

In 2004 he re-discovered his love of Astronomy and bought his first telescope. Now, 6 telescopes later (including a 12.5" RCOS on a Paramount robotic mount) he has been developing his interest in deep sky and planetary imaging. In 2007 he had Backyard Observatories build him an observatory on a very dark piece of land near Buena Vista, Georgia owned by Matthew Gauthier. Looking Glass Observatory is a completely automated observatory which he is able to control in the comfort of his home in Macon.

 His website is www.bcastropics.com and displays some of his work.

 He recently had an image of the Elephant Trunk featured in the August issue of Astronomy Magazine.


Larry Owens

His presentation, "Planetary Imaging for Amateur Astronomers",  is a general interest presentation that starts with the history of planetary imaging from the 1800's through the digital revolution and to present day.  It underscores the importance of amateur imaging as a significant contribution to science with some details on how amateur astronomers are doing it today.


LARRY OWENS is a computer programmer who presently works for at&t.  He has been imaging planets for 40 years as an amateur astronomer, building a 10” fork equatorial ‘scope in high school back in the ‘60s.  He currently does planetary imaging from Alpharetta, using a C14 and Skynyx2-0 or DMK monochrome cameras.  He regularly contributes observations and images to the Association of Lunar and Planetary Observers (A.L.P.O.), of which he is a member.

            Larry is in great demand as a speaker, having done many presentations on planetary imaging at sites such the Macon Museum of Arts and Sciences Planetarium, Emory University Planetarium, Oxford College, Agnes Scott College, the Peach State Star Gaze, the Charlie Elliott Chapter of the Atlanta Astronomy Club, and other places.  Larry is a former director of the Charlie Elliott Chapter of the AAC, and he is currently a member of the staff at A. L. P. O. 

            Larry’s astroimages have appeared in such top-of-the-line publications as Sky & Telescope Magazine, Astronomy Magazine, Beautiful Universe Magazine, and various newspapers and science-related websites including SpaceWeather.com and NASA’s JPL.



Norm Worsley

"I take great joy in sharing the information and experience I have gained through the years working on these projects in astronomy.”

Norm Worsley is an anesthesiologist from Warner Robins, Ga.  He is also a seasoned visual observer and an accomplished astrophotographer as well.   He built his own observatory from which he practices remote/robotic observing and astrophotography.

            Norm became interested in astronomy in his early teens.  His first telescope was a Sears 60mm refractor on an altazimuth mount with slow motion controls.  He used that ‘scope for a decade or more, but it wasn’t until he took an astronomy course in college that he learned how to navigate the sky and understand the apparent motion of the heavens and celestial bodies.

            Pursuing a medical degree required a rather lengthy sabbatical from observing, but after establishing his private practice in anesthesiology Norm returned to astronomy.  He joined the Middle Ga. Astronomical Society and bought a more advanced telescope, an 8-in. Celestron SCT on a Super Polaris mount with SkySensor GoTo. 

“Joining the astronomy club,” Norm says, “gave me what I had always wanted and needed:  people who had much more practical experience and knowledge than I had in the field of amateur astronomy.  I learned more in those few years following than I had in many decades prior to joining the club.”

            With the advent of CCD imaging in the early ‘90s, Norm quickly became absorbed in astrophotography.  He began with an SBIG ST-6 camera and learned the in’s and out’s of astrophotography.  “For the past 20 years,” he explains, “I have obtained better and better equipment, read extensively and listened to those who have gone before me.” 

“I have most recently become interested in remote/robotic astronomy as it relates to astrophotography.  In early 2007, a long-time dream was realized when I built my own observatory with advanced capabilities of remote/robotic observations, all of which I assembled with existing, off-the-shelf components and software with very little personal knowledge of computers or electronics.  Maintaining and improving the installation has become a passion with me.  I take great joy in sharing the information and experience I have gained through the years working on these projects in astronomy.”


April 23rd, 24th, 25th, and 26th - 2009

Camp McIntosh - Indian Springs Park
(near Jackson, GA)

$45.00 per person registration.

Speakers (so far) include Dr. Richard Schmude, Phil Sacco, Larry Owens, and Brian Combs, .

Saturday evening - Pot Luck Dinner.
Download the Registration Form

Georgia Sky View 2009



The Flint River Astronomy Club will again host its annual Georgia Sky View star party at the beautiful Indian Springs State Park just outside Flovilla, Georgia.  This is 4-day/3night event starting at 2 PM April 23rd through April 26th.  Facilities include a large viewing field, large dining hall, craft & display building, men's and women's dormitories complete with showers, and on-field camping. Motor homes welcomed but no hookup facilities are available.  The "Pot Luck" dinner is on for this year.  FRAC will provide the burgers and soft drinks,  you bring your favorite dish.

Hope to see you there.

Hosted by the Flint River Astronomy Club
Steve Bentley
GSV'09 Coordinator

Download the Registration Form

(See our Video)


 "A Stellar Event"