Staff Volunteers

Our programs wouldn't happen each year without the contributions of many volunteers. Some of us staff the program 24/7, while others pop in and out as needed, night to night or year to year. The thread that binds us is our love for Mount Wilson Observatory - its science and its history.

Paula Turner

Paula is a professor of physics at Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio. Her PhD research involved near infrared imaging of merging galaxy systems, using infrared radiation to probe the merger-induced star formation in the centers of these systems. At Kenyon, Paula teaches courses ranging from "Astro 101" to senior-level experimental physics. She is also the director of the Franklin Miller Observatory on Kenyon's campus.

Mike Simmons

Founding president of the Mount Wilson Observatory Association, Mike also founded and currently leads Astronomers Without Borders, which keeps him busy traveling and sharing astronomy experiences with amateurs and professionals around the world. With a particular interest in the history of the observatory, Mike has written several articles on various historical topics and often lectures on the observatory's early days. A long-time amateur astronomer, Mike is also a past president of the Los Angeles Astronomical Society.

Tom Meneghini

Tom has been interested in astronomy since watching Earth's first artificial satellite, Sputnik, pass overhead as a child. Director of the Mount Wilson Institute, which manages the observatory, Tom is active in Mount Wilson Observatory's public education and outreach programs. His favorite job, though, is operating telescopes, from the 16-inch Meade telescope used by our program to the 60- and 100-inch telescopes on which the observatory's history was founded.

John Hoot

John, a computer and electrical engineer by training, is recently retired from the software business he founded, which specialized in digital image processing and communications. John is also an experienced astronomer, operating multiple computer-controlled observatories of his own design, in sites ranging from southern California to the Atacama desert in Chile. He is also the designer of several commercial astronomical CCD cameras, autoguiders, telescope control systems, weather satellite telemetry decoders, and image processing products.

Bob Buchheim

Bob has been an avid amateur astronomer for over 30 years. His particular joys are introducing children to the night sky and encouraging other amateurs to participate in small-telescope research projects. His book, "The Sky Is Your Laboratory," a manual for the research-oriented amateur astronomer, is a result of his enthusiastically promoting amateur astronomical research. Bob is an experienced visual observer, CCD photometrist, and telescope maker, as well. He has published several research papers in peer-reviewed journals on asteroids, variable stars, and double-star astrometry, presented papers at a number of astronomy conferences, and gives presentations at amateur astronomy clubs.

John Varsik John Varsik, Ph. D, Astronomy, is a Research Professor at the New Jersey Institute of Technology. He is based at the Big Bear Solar Observatory on Big Bear Lake. He is part of the team building and operating the observatory's New Solar Telescope, the largest aperture solar telescope in the world. He has also served as a Research Associate at the National Solar Observatory in Sunspot, New Mexico.