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Dr. Daniel Kennefick

Professor of Physics

University of Arkansas

Daniel Kennefick is a professor of Physics at the University of Arkansas. He received his Ph. D. in Physics from Caltech in 1997. After a postdoc in Cardiff, Wales, he joined the faculty at Caltech where he worked as an editor at the Einstein Papers Project. He has been in Fayetteville since 2003. In 2007 he published a book on the history of gravitational waves called Traveling at the Speed of Thought. He is also the co-author of An Einstein Encyclopedia. Most recently he is the author of No Shadow of a Doubt: The 1919 Eclipse That Confirmed Einstein's Theory of Relativity. His physics research focuses on supermassive black holes at the centers of galaxies, both as possible generators of gravitational waves (when they are orbited by stellar mass black holes) and for their role in galaxy structure and evolution. He is a member of both the LIGO scientific collaboration and the LISA Consortium.

Saturday, June 10th, Keynote Banquet Speaker

Multi-Messenger Astronomy: A History of this still-dawning field

The detection by the LIGO-VIRGO collaboration of its first neutron star binary coalescence in 2017 was followed by the identification of the source by a host of electromagnetic detectors. This celebrated example of multi-messenger astronomy not only holds out the promise of major discoveries in astrophysics and cosmology, but also finally brings to fruition the promise held out by the then new field of astrophysics in the late 19th century. In this talk I discuss how astronomers’ efforts to use new physics to probe the cosmos, and theoretical physicists’ desire to understand relative motion came together, through the work of Albert Einstein, to make it possible for us to detect two completely different types of radiation from the same source in a distant galaxy.

John Moore

Vice President for Planetary Occultation Services
International Occultation Timing Association (IOTA)

Chasing Shadows - The Exciting World of Occultation Sciences

Brief overview and mission of the IOTA organization 
What is an occultation?
      Video of an event with detailed explanation
Why Occultations are not only fun to observe, but why they are important.
How to get started observing occultations
      Overview of the online occultation resources
      Brief overview of the equipment requirements
      Tracked vs Pre-point observation techniques
Reporting your results - Inclusion in the NASA/JPL Minor Planet Center database
      Co-authoring other scientific publications
      Quick look at the North America results page

I have been interested in astronomy all my life.  I became active with occultation sciences after participating in a lunar graze event in 2016.  In the fall of 2018 I assumed the role of North America Coordinator for IOTA which involved being the North Americn focal point for all planetary occultations.  At the same time, I was named to the IOTA board and accepted the position of VP for planetary Occultation Services.  In the fall of 2022 I relinquished the coordinator role but I continue to serve as a VP and Director for the organization.  I have participated in occultation campaigns in South Africa, Argentina, Spain and at many sites around the US.

Another related interest is the development and testing if new timing equipment and cameras to be used for occultations with a focus on improved timing accuracy and lowering the cost for people interested in getting started in this dicipline.  I have always been a technology geek.  Before retiring in 2013, my professional career invollved 36 years working for IBM in various technical support and sales roles. 


Brad Young

IAU Centre for Protection of Dark and Quiet Skies – Affiliate Member


Coordinator of three Astronomical League Observing Programs


TruSat Executive Consultant (Space Situation Awareness)


Observing Chair of Astronomy Club of Tulsa

Alternate Constellations

Obsolete Groups and Stars of Other Cultures

Finding patterns in the stars is an activity as old as human society. With the adoption of 88 official constellations by the IAU, several other groups became obsolete. These patterns have stories behind them, often of little known historical figures or odd animals.


Non-Western societies also have a rich history of different constellations, some familiar and like our modern groups, others completely different. This presentation discusses these star groups and asterisms and their place in mythology, exploration, and history.


The Astronomical League's Alternate Constellations observing program opens up a new vista for the observer to these new ways of seeing the stars. The speaker developed this program and will present how to accomplish this project and enjoy a new view of the sky.

Brad is a First Platinum Level Master Observer in the Astronomical League. I enjoy deep sky observing with my 22” Dob, satellite tracking and remote imaging from the Perth Observatory. Citizen Science and Outreach through my home club, Astronomy Club of Tulsa.


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Dan Zielinski  

Jenks Planetarium Director

Eclipses Crossing America

This show informs its audiences of the upcoming Solar Eclipses for North America.  It includes the work of 8 total High School Students:  2 actors as the narrators, 5 composers who created the music and 1 artist that created the logo for the show.  This is our 20th production in 12 years. 

Jenks Planetarium is a community planetarium used by all local schools and educational groups in the area.  We host weekly public shows and monthly public rooftop telescope star gaze sessions.  We also produce our own planetarium show using our students.

I have been in the planetarium field since my freshman year in college.  I was the director of the Coshocton Planetarium in Ohio for 3 years after graduation.  Then the Planetarium Director at North Penn High School in Lansdale, PA for 7 years.  Then came to Jenks Planetarium where I’m in my 12th year.  I seek to continue creating good educational planetarium shows that better the industry and excite the students to continue in it in the future.

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John Blaesi

Dark Sky Parks and Obtaining a Certified International Dark-Sky Association Designation

Currently there are not any International Dark-Sky Association (IDA) certified dark sky places within the state of Oklahoma. That being said, Oklahoma offers remarkable dark sky resources; especially in the SE and NW areas of the State. The State's large number of protected landscapes including 32 state parks, over 1.4 million acres of wildlife management areas and 400 thousand acres of national forest and grasslands would potentially allow Oklahoma to become a leader within America's dark sky movement.

John is a member of the Oklahoma Bartlesville Astronomical Society and has been observing the stars since growing up in the dark skies of western Kansas.

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Fred Gassert

Chairman of the Board, Lake Afton Public Observatory
Owner, Home Elevator Company, LLC
Past President, Kansas Astronomical Observers

Out of the Darkness

This presentation chronicles the steps taken to take over the operations of the Lake Afton Public Observatory after Wichita State University decided to shut it down. 

I got interested in Astronomy while I was a volunteer with the girl scouts. We had just opened a new Girl Scout Camp and the Kansas Astronomical Observers came out to instruct us as to how to use our new telescopes that had been donated. I spent that summer showing off the night sky with the Girls and with the help of the KAO. I was hooked.
I joined the KAO that winter and got involved in their outreach through the Night Sky Network. I have served multiple term
s as the President of the Kansas Astronomical Observers and have earned the Master Observers status with the Astronomical League. In 2015 I was president of the KAO when the observatory announced they were closing and it was then that we started the process to take over operations of the observatory.


Val Germann

Astronomy on the Santa Fe and Oregon Trails


Val has been a member of CMAA since 1978 and has twice led the club in hosting the Mid-States Convention, in 1986 and 1999.  Val has been a volunteer assistant at the University of Missouri’s Laws Observatory for two decades.  Now retired, Val taught astronomy for Columbia College, Columbia, Missouri, for 21 years.


Astronomy figured strongly in the early exploration of the American West.  Expeditions led by both Zebulon Pike (1807) and Charles Fremont (1840’s) took along refractor telescopes, chronometers, barometers and other instruments.  Both expeditions set up portable observatories to determine the meridian passage of various stars and to time the eclipses among Jupiter’s moons.  These observations were used both to find the observer’s own position and to enable the creation of accurate maps. 


John Barentine  

Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society

Member American Astronomical Society

Member International Astronomical Union

The asteroid (14505) Barentine is named in his honor.

Obsolete and Lost Constellations

This section of the presentation discusses how to observe the star patterns that were once considered constellations but have been discarded over time. Still, many have interesting patterns and enjoyable views of stars in the “empty” spaces between the official star groups.


John Barentine has written two books, The Lost Constellations and Uncharted Constellations that fascinating details on these groups, both their uranographic history from invention to obsolescence, and the myths and stories that inspired them.


The scope of the Astronomical League Alternate Constellations Observing Program includes both the presentations here, with John Barentine’s insight into Obsolete and Lost Constellations.

John Barentine is the Principal Consultant at Dark Sky Consulting, LLC, and was formerly the Director of Public Policy for the International Dark-Sky Association. He earned a Ph.D. in astronomy from the University of Texas at Austin, and previously held staff positions at the National Solar Observatory, Apache Point Observatory, and the Sloan Digital Sky Survey. Throughout his career, he has been involved in education and outreach efforts to help increase the public understanding of science.

Peggy Walker

Astronomical League STEAM and Junior Activities Coordinator, ALCon

Once Upon a Time in MSRAL part II

Will be about MSRALs beginnings and their contributions to the Astronomical League.

Peggy Walker sits on National Council for STEAM and Jr. Activities Coordinator, Accessible Astronomy & amp; Outreach and current Mid-States Regional Representative.
Regular column in The Reflector Magazine, part of the League’s 75th Anniversary Planning Committee, Amateur
of the Year recipient for the Mid-States Region in 2022, and Proposed the new Williamina Fleming Imaging Award for Women now in its third year.
New Selected Coordinator for Science Heads – Tulsa Chapter of the observatory and E.A.A. trailer
On the Board of Sidewalk Astronomers, restored John Dobson’s favorite sidewalk scope (current caretaker) “Tumbleweed”
On staff for 5 years with Astronomers Without Borders as US National Coordinator and managed the global coordinators with monthly skype meetings, developed observing programs and resources for People With Disabilities for Global Astronomy Month, co-coordinator for Star Peace virtual star parties above and below equator in same time zones (international connections).
President of Broken Arrow Sidewalk Astronomer conduct outreach to 8 different school systems for STEM Nights, science café for middle schools, and scouting astronomy badge sessions.
Spoke at Muskogee School for the Blind about tactical resources, develops her own resources, worked with Tulsa Council for the Blind
National Park Astronomy Volunteer is in their Grand Canyon Star Party Promotion video.

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Richard Stember

Founder of  Science Heads Inc. 

Science Heads Inc. 

Established  to Support STEM Education and Raise Science Literacy based in Lake Forrest California. As a NASA Solar System Ambassador volunteer he loves to share his passion for space with the public. One aspect of their outreach is the construction of a Mobile OBServatory (MOBS).   The traveling observatory features an 11” Celestron and a Coronado Solar scope.  Plus, ability to link to the Slooh network of remote telescopes when the sky is cloudy.


Richard will be sharing with us how Science Heads is extending its outreach to other parts of the  country so that other communities can be involved in this kind of community outreach.

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Science Heads Inc. Northeast Oklahoma Chapter Mobile Observatory

On Saturday afternoon during lunch and afternoon break time guests will have an opportunity to see the newly completed Northeast Oklahoma Chapter Mobile Observatory. This new unit is a result of a collaboration with Richard Stember founder of  Science Heads Inc. in California.  Their goal is to Support STEM Education and Raise Science Literacy. The traveling observatory will visit  local schools, libraries, museums, and other public venues with the goal to inspire local students and generally raise science literacy in the community.  It is equipped with  an 11-inch Celestron 1100 HP main telescope along with a 70mm Coronado MAX 2 H-alpha scope for safely observing the sun. In case of cloudy skies, it has a dedicated Hot Spot connection so that it can connect to telescopes in the Canari Islands or Chile using the SLOOH network of remote telescopes.

Northeast Oklahoma Chapter Mobile Observatory

The  Northeast Oklahoma Chapter Mobile Observatory has recently been completed and will be at our MSRAL site during the Saturday lunch time for our guests visit and ask questions about.


Byron Labadie

Astronomy in Chile Educator Ambassador Program


Byron Labadie began his interest in astronomy at the age of 9. His first MSTL convention was at the School of the Ozarks in O'fallon, MO in 1972, where he recieved his first Astronomica League certificate for observing all of the Messier objects. Byron became an avid astrophotographer in high school using film emulsions and wrote a research paper on selection and usage of positve and negative films. He was a teaching assistant at OSU in the astronomy and physics department. While in the army, he became friend with Clyde Tombaugh while stationed in El Paso, and made frequent trips to Clyde's home in Las Cruces NM to visit with him. In 2020, he was selected along with 8 other cohorts to go to Chile as part of the Astronomy in Chile Educator Ambassador program, where he toured several of the observatories in detail, as well as spending nights on the observatory sites. Today he enjoys public outreach at schools, clubs, and universities.


Rosa Hathaway   

The New Space Economy

The New Space frontier has been unlocked thanks to lowered launch prices, paving the way for a thriving market in space technology. Let's delve into the historical journey and witness the rewriting of a fresh blueprint for commercial space companies.

Rosa is an aerospace engineer turned investor. She started her career at NASA, followed by 10 years at SpaceX, where she worked on the rocket engines that power the Falcon 9 and Starship vehicles as a propulsion engineer. Rosa is now leveraging her experience at Atento Capital, driving innovation and accelerating economic development in Tulsa.

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