Members gather for our annual Star-B-Q event.

The SVAS maintains an Event Calendar and Message Board through its Yahoo! Group. If you are a member of SVAS, but do not have access to the Yahoo! Group, please click here, and then click the blue “Join This Group” button to request membership. Thanks! Back to our 2017 Events.

2016 Events

December 16, 2016 at 8pm : Our speaker will be Jon Richards from SETI at the Powerhouse Science Center- 3615 Auburn Blvd Sacramento, CA

Jon Richards is a Senior Software Engineer and Head of SETI Observing, Center for Research. His work involves detecting SETI signals using the Allen Telescope Array. He has a website that shows the details of the observing schedule and will show real-time observation status when it is observing. Please visit: SETI Quest For more info on Jon, please visit: Jon Richards

From SETI: "SETI, the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, is an exploratory science that seeks evidence of life in the universe by looking for some signature of its technology.

Our current understanding of life’s origin on Earth suggests that given a suitable environment and sufficient time, life will develop on other planets. Whether evolution will give rise to intelligent, technological civilizations is open to speculation. However, such a civilization could be detected across interstellar distances, and may actually offer our best opportunity for discovering extraterrestrial life in the near future.

Finding evidence of other technological civilizations however, requires significant effort. Currently the Center for SETI Research develops signal-processing technology and uses it to search for signals from advanced technological civilizations in our galaxy."

November 18, 2016: Bob Fies - Owner of Aluminum Coating
Will present on proper aluminum coating for telescope mirrors, and his experience with laser spotting at Lick Observatory. John Dobson asked Bob, many years ago, if he could figure out how to coat telescope mirrors. He achieved the goal, and coated countless mirrors for John and the San Francisco Sidewalk Astronomers. Check out his web site: and the SVAS newsletter article dated Jan / Feb, 2016.

October 21, 2016: Chuck Real - SVAS Board Member
Will present on Near-Earth Objects or NEO’s. He will discuss historical and pre-historical evidence of large extraterrestrial impacts on Earth, and work that is currently underway to better understand the risks future impacts could pose to humanity. Check out the SVAS newsletter article dated July / Aug, 2015, page 8.

2016 Sunday Funday! September 25th from 11am-3pm
Come join SVAS and the City of Citrus Heights, Sunrise Recreation and Park District and Citrus Heights Regional Chamber for a fun, filled family day packed with solar viewing,inflatables, rides, vendors and food! Click here for information...

Sunday Funday Event Logo

September 16, 2016: Lonnie Robinson - SVAS Vice President
Will present on Telescope Mechanical & Optical Tube Alignment, RA-Dec Alt-Az Mount Motions, Simplifying Polar & Drift Alignment, Choosing Guide Stars, Pointing Devices, Computer Control; Hardware & Software. Beginners to Experts.

July 29th-31st, 2016: Star-B-Q!
Time really flies, it’s Star-B-Q time again! Time for the SVAS to get ready for this years main event, our big blowout party, a chance to see old friends both human and stellar. High Sierra mountain atmos-phere, clear dark skies, great friends, great food, and some quality time with the heavens. Does it get any better?

Arrive early if you can, say around 2:00pm on Saturday, to find a great parking spot and get your scope set up before we start cook-ing steaks about 4:00pm. Please bring a dish or dessert to share at our potluck table. The raffle begins around 5:30pm and lasts a couple hours, so don’t follow my lead and end up eating late during the raffle! Lots of great prizes will be spread out on tables for everyone to view and pre-select should you have a winning ticket! There will be club an-nouncements following the raffle. Then on to a great viewing evening under the stars.

We will be following the 12’ rule again this year, all the parking and equipment along the easterly side of the tarmac should be within 12’ from the tarmac’s edge. Most vehicles will need to be parked partly on the SUP dirt area. That will allow us an ample sized emergency access lane. RV’s, campers, and tents must be entirely on the dirt SUP area! If you have any questions, or if you take any images from our upcoming 2016 Star-B-Q contact Walt Heiges. Star-B-Q Rules and events can be viewed here: Star-B-Q Rules.

This Years Star-B-Q Sponsors

OPT Telescopes Logo Agena Astro Products Logo Stellarvue Logo
Meade Logo Logo Oberwerk Logo
Sky & Telescope Logo Astronomy Magazine Logo PowerHouse Science Center Logo
Bob's Knobs Sponsor Logo Explore Scientific Website  

Please remember to bring a red flashlight, mosquito repellent, suntan lotion, a large brimmed hat, and drink plenty of water! Don’t forget a knife and fork to do some real damage to your B-B-Q specimen, along with steak sauce (really not needed up here), salt and pepper.

The Star-B-Q is just one of the many benefits of being a SVAS member. Along with our newsletter, HGO and RJMO observatories, our Forrest Service SUP, Glacier Point Star Party, monthly scheduled star parties at our High Serra Observatory, outreach star parties for the general public, school star parties for young aspiring astronomers, speakers for public events, public repre-sentatives for special newsworthy events, regular SVAS meetings (a new and very exciting meeting place will be announced soon!!), scheduled speakers, field trips, help with your telescope issues and ATM advice, mirror and telescope making, Constant Contact to keep you in touch with current events, and great lifelong friendships. We welcome all astronomy disciplines from astropho-tography, visual observing, video astronomy, and binocular (or eyes only) viewers on chaise lounges! Such a value for only $36 a year!

April 15th, 2016 8pm After the General Meeting: Lyn VanWinkle and Phil Robinson from Aeroject Rocketdyne

Topics will include the Basic Physics and types of Rocket Propulsion, with a focus on some of the systems used to Launch, Control, and Land several of the US Planetary Missions, such as Viking, Cassini, Curiosity, and New Horizons. Technology for future planetary assent systems will also be discussed. Be prepared to learn something new!

Phil Robinson has worked in the aerospace industry for 38 years, starting out in mechanical design of liquid rocket engines, designing injectors, igniters, thrust chambers, nozzles and propellant tanks for flight and development programs. He provided design support for flight hardware on the Titan and Delta II programs, as well as test support for the Space Shuttle Orbital Maneuvering System Engine (OMS-E) bipropellant valve. Mr. Robinson transitioned into Project Engineering, becoming the Principal Investigator on several NASA development programs for Liquid Oxygen/Ethanol and Liquid Oxygen/Liquid Methane, where he directed teams to design, manufacture and test new liquid engines for future applications. These liquid engines advanced the state-of-the-art for their respective applications, for which he received three NASA awards, including a Group Achievement Award from the NASA Administrator, Charles Bolden, Jr. He is currently leading a main injector design team for a 550,000 lbf thrust Liquid Oxygen/RP-1 booster development engine to evaluate combustion stability and performance of an oxidizer-rich staged combustion (ORSC) engine. This injector is to be part of an engine test program scheduled for testing at NASA Stennis Space Center (SSC) in June 2017.

Lyn VanWinkle has had several different jobs in her 36 years in the Aerospace industry. She started as a structural analysts working for Rocketdyne in LA before moving up to Sacramento to work for Aerojet. Once at Aerojet, she focused on the Titan Liquid Rocket Engines. After a few years, she moved over to be a production design engineer for Titan program. In 1999 she was appointed as the Chief Engineer for the Titan IV and Titan II Stage I and II Engines and continued in that position until the end of the program in October 2005. She spent one year as the lead project engineer for a very small high speed turbopump for the Air Force before moving in to a Mission Assurance Engineer position. As a Mission Assurance Engineer, she has worked on the Orion Manned Spaceflight program, Atlas V Solid Rocket Boosters, and several Missile Defense Agency programs, as well as many others as a lead for anomaly or failure investigations.

Feb 19th, 2016 8pm After the General Meeting: Vic Maris from Stellarvue

After being introduced to telescope making at the age of 14, Vic polished his first 6” mirror in the mid 1960’s. Not being content with that he took on the challenge of making a 5” f-15 refractor at the age of 16. After graduation, Vic pursued a career working in California State Parks as a ranger and later, a superintendent. He worked 30 years for parks often playing a significant role in protecting the parks and establishing star gazing opportunities such as the Robert Ferguson Observatory.  As Vic neared retirement he was teaching astronomy in Sacramento and his students encouraged him to make telescopes that actually worked. So Stellarvue started in Vic's garage back in 1998. He started the company presenting the first "Astrocamp" and then began producing telescopes. Since then the company has produced thousands of hand crafted telescopes with exceptional optics. 

Vic Maris

"I have enjoyed introducing thousands of people to astronomy for the past 45 years . Many of these people have purchased a poorly made department store telescope, the nightmare of any budding astronomer. It is unfortunate that most telescopes are poorly made. This is what inspired me to create Stellarvue. This is a small telescope company is dedicated to introducing people to the night sky and providing them high-quality, reasonably priced equipment. Our educational programs allow us to share the wonders of the universe with hundreds of like-minded people.  This has always been more a labor of love than a commercial endeavor.  Anyone who has been truly inspired by the majesty of the night sky knows exactly what I am talking about." - Vic Maris. My bio is shown on my website here: Vic Maris Biography