June UVAC Meeting

Our featured speaker this month is Brent Watson:

“I have always had an interest in Astronomy. However, it wasn’t until high school that I really started studying the stars in earnest. I wanted to learn celestial navigation. In order to do that, I needed to learn the constellations. Over the next six months I learned all of the constellations visible from my back yard in Salt Lake City. That was two years ago – two Saturnian years.

Astronomy and aviation have always guided me through life. I worked at the Hansen Planetarium as a technician while attending the University of Utah. After graduation with a Masters degree in electronic Engineering, I went to work at Evans and Sutherland Computer Corporation. There with Steve Mcallister we developed the Digistar planetarium projector.

After E&S, I worked at Iomega Corporation. There I started a company sponsored Astronomy outreach program. I helped build more than 300 telescopes, taught more than 200 teachers to use a telescope, and wrote four books about what you can see in a telescope.

I have never owned a commercial telescope for more than a few months. I have always enjoyed the scopes I have built custom for my liking from a six inch to a 22 inch. I currently own five scopes including my eight inch refractor, my ten inch planetary Newtonian, and my 12-1/2 inch long focus (f8) Dobsonian. I own a couple of others that I can drag out on a moment’s notice also.

This presentation will cover the revolution from a mechanical star projector to an all-digital multi-purpose planetarium system. It is an engineering journey from one of the most state-of-the-art mechanical marvels to an all electronic device, with all of its ups and downs. The circuitous route involved a significant amount of scrounging for materials, manpower, and funding.”

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