Lamentation for a Friend

Sad news.  A friend of mine and fellow amateur astronomer Gordon Tyler was killed in a motorcycle accident on Friday.  Gordon had been an active member of the Riverside Astronomical Society for many years.  He ran our beginners corner to help budding astronomers both young and old learn to love the night sky and help them along.  Recently he stepped up to become the club’s chief observer.  He gave presentations each month on interesting astronomical news and viewing of the night sky.   He was always willing to stop what he was doing at a star party and help any/everyone in need.  He will be sorely missed.  My heart goes out to Gordon’s wife and family.

“there’ll be two dates on your tombstone everyone
will read them..but the only thing that matters
is the little [ dash between them ]”




Happy Memorial Day

I’m not sure if “happy” is the appropriate term today as the purpose of the holiday is to honor America’s service men and women who are actively serving or have given everything to protect this nation.  Happy is a relative term.  I am happy that our country has a large group of individuals that are willing to place themselves in harms way so that no harm comes to others.  I am happy that I can count myself as one of those people that served our country.  I am extremely happy and grateful for the lessons I learned from my time in the service.

This is what I am not so happy about:

The lack of mental health services for active duty and veterans, currently the suicide rates are the highest in history approximately 1 service member takes their own life every 36 hours.

The lack of legal services available.  I am a member of the Los Angeles County Bar Armed Forces Committee that was formed to combat this issue, but we are an island in a sea of need.  Across this nation their are only a handful of count/state bar associations actively helping and identifying the needs of America’s military.  If you know of a veteran or active duty member or family that needs help contact me ( and I will send the request to those that can help.  Most of our work is free or at a greatly reduced cost.  It is our honor to provide this help.

The less than adequate living conditions for military families.  I, and many others, know that the families of active and veterans alike are also part of the military that serves this great nation.  They should not be subjected to needing food stamps and poor living conditions to support our military efforts.

There are a lot of other things that I am not “happy” about, but I (and others) are actively working to help where we can because our past and present armed forces personnel deserve better.

So while you are enjoying your day off.  Going to that Barbecue.  Picnicking with family and friends.  Remember the lives that were given and the sacrifices that were/are made so that you can live here.

I’ll get off my soapbox now and I will have a happy memorial day.  I hope your day is happy and safe.  And, if you happen to see a Veteran or someone in the military, take the time to go up to them and thank them for today and all the other days that you get to enjoy.  They WILL appreciate it.

Norman Van Treeck, FCC, United States Navy(Go Navy! Beat Army!)


A New Look

Ok, so I am trying out the Sunspot theme.  I like it, but it may be a little to dark.  Send me a comment on whether or not I should keep this look, or keep trying.


Happy Holidays!

I hope everyone is having a good holiday season.  I spent Friday and Saturday out at the observatory and took so basic images to calibrate my setup.  I will post the results as soon as I have finished processing them.  If the weather holds, I will probably be out again during the new year’s weekend to take some more images.