• Club Officers and Directors

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    Rob Burgess - President

    Rob has been active in the amateur astronomy scene in Maine for the last 30 years. He rekindled a childhood interest in astronomy in the 1990’s first joining the Astronomical Society of Northern New England (ASNNE), heading up its fundraising effort to build the Talmadge Observatory in Kennebunk, and later becoming club President for several years. In 2004, several members decided to offer a club closer to where we lived (and our kids went to school) and we started SMA. Rob was a board member from inception, serving as club President for the last several years. He has also been a NASA Solar System Ambassador for about the last 10 years as well as served on the board of the Maine Space Grant Consortium for several years, including as Board Chair. Rob has a small roll-off roof observatory at his home in Brunswick where he and several SMA members have hosted all manner of school kids, scout troops and neighborhood groups at star parties over the years. Rob is Vice-chair of the Brunswick Planning Board and has been active in efforts to control light pollution locally and statewide.

    Contact Rob: rburgess250@comcast.net

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    Russell F. Pinizzotto, Ph.D. - Vice President

    Russ Pinizzotto has been observing the Universe since he was less than a year old - at least that’s what his mother says. Seventy plus years later he is an AstroLeague Master Observer and Master Binocular Observer with a collection of at least eight telescopes and three binoculars. Russ teaches astronomy at Simmons University in Boston when he isn’t diligently working as Simmons’ provost. He has taught introductory astronomy over 20 times at Merrimack College, Wentworth Institute of Technology, and Simmons University. He holds a B.S. in Chemistry from Caltech, a Ph.D. in Materials Science from UCLA, and an M.S. in Astronomy from Swinburne University of Technology in Melbourne, Australia. On a clear night, he can usually be found observing the skies from either the eighteenth floor deck of his apartment building in downtown Boston or from his home in Phippsburg, Maine.

    Contact Russ: zzotto@icloud.com

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    Ara Jerahian - Secretary

    Living most of his teenage and adult life in light polluted Los Angeles and San Francisco, Ara Jerahian moved to Maine in 2015 with his family and rekindled his love of astronomy with the encouragement of his wife. In 2018, Ara started taking pictures of the hidden jewels of our night sky and hasn’t stopped! During daylight hours, Ara's time is spent doing software and cool tech stuff, and getting paid for it.

    Contact Ara: jerahian@gmail.com

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    Bob Dodge - Treasurer

    My interest in astronomy probably began as a small child when I observed and was fascinated by a very bright comet (Comet Mrkos). While I never lost my interest in astronomy, my other science interests broadened, culminating in a Ph.D. in Microbiology. I contrast the two fields by saying that astronomers look through eyepieces at very large objects very far away, and microbiologists look through eyepieces at very small objects very close up! I have retired from a career at IDEXX Laboratories developing diagnostic medical devices, so I can now devote more time to astronomy. The recent advances in space-based telescopes and in hobbyist-level scopes make this a great time to explore the heavens! 

    Contact Bob: robert.dodge8@gmail.com

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    Mike Simmons - Director

    Mike has been interested in astronomy ever since a C-8 was donated to his high school. Mike is a longtime club member, having picked the hobby back up after moving to Maine in 2004. He is an active member of his community, currently serving on the board of Foundation 51. Mike lives in North Yarmouth with his family, and wishes he had fewer trees blocking his horizon.

    Contact Mike: mikesimm68@yahoo.com

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    David Gay - Director

    My history with astronomy goes back to childhood when I received a small refractor on an equatorial mount. I explored the moon with this instrument until it eventually found itself in the closet. Years later a friend received a similar scope and it sparked a renewed interest in the night sky. This led to the purchase of a 4½ inch Tasco Newtonian at Service Merchandise, the only store in Maine that sold telescopes at the time. I replaced the original optics with a set of Orion .965” eyepieces and I was off to the races. That scope taught me the basics of using an equatorial mount and with a solar filter gave me many hours of pleasing observing.

     

    After experiencing a real star party at Stellafane in Vermont I felt inspired to buy a 16” Dobsonian which led to the need for all new optics in the 1.25” and 2 range”. This hobby is not cheap. Using this scope a small group of friends gathered with a shared intertest which led to the attempt to form a club which we named “Galileo Society”. The club got off to a good start but never really took hold. We dissolved the club and I sold the Dob. Since then I have accumulated four different scopes, a 6”reflector, a 6” R/C, a 8” Dob. And my prized scope a 80mm Stellarvue on a Am5 mount with a dedicated camera for astro photography. Clear Skies!

    Contact David: deepspacedave@gmail.com

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    Paul Howell - Director

    Paul recently retired from Bowdoin where he taught physics labs which he enjoyed thoroughly, with the possible exception of grading. Prior to Bowdoin, Paul was an entrepreneur and semiconductor research scientist. He did his undergraduate studies in physics and graduate work in astrophysics (where he got to use some really cool big telescopes). Paul is a past President and founding member of SMA.

     

    Paul has been an avid amateur astronomer for - well - like forever. His first telescope at age 10 was a 4" Newtonian on a manual equatorial mount. The only thing he could reliably find was the Moon and a few bright stars (but they varied in color! hmm...). Later, he paired a go to computerized scope with a home-built astronomy camera. Paul's shriek of delight when the Horesehead Nebula appeared on his laptop screen intially worried his wife Colette. She has since become used to that as Paul continues to pursue his astrophotography obsession.

    Contact Paul: howellrcp@gmail.com

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    Howie Marshal - Director

    My bio picture is me on the day that I decided at the age of 13 I was going to go to college at Caltech. I am standing with Jesse Greenstein, chair of the Caltech Astronomy department, in his office while visiting Caltech for the first time.

     

    I did go there with the intention of getting a math degree, but was bewitched by computers, dropped out, and worked in the computer industry for 50 years, straddling the boundary between software and hardware. My first job after college was working on the software for the original GPS receivers and satellites.

     

    As I transitioned into retirement, my wife and I moved to our current home in Harpswell. We were so amazed by the view of the sky here that we got a telescope. I ran into trouble trying to set it up, but then I met someone who told me that I needed to join SMA, that there were members who would be eager to help me get it working.

     

    Recently in my role as chair of Harpswell's Energy and Technology committee I teamed with Rob Burgess to get Harpswell to install very Dark-Sky-friendly street lights when the town converted to LED street lights, and Rob and I are now working toward possibly getting Harpswell recognized as an Urban Night Sky Place.

    Contact Howie: hzm@alumni.caltech.edu

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    Jeremy Wright - Director

    Jeremy became a member of SMA in 2022, and joined the board of directors In 2023. He purchased his first telescope in 2009 with little prior knowledge of astronomy, after his interest was sparked by seeing an old telescope at a yard sale. He enjoys the challenge of trying to photograph objects in the night sky, and learning, in layman's terms, about the astrophysics behind all that we see. He also loves sharing his passion about space and astronomy, especially with young people. Jeremy is a members of SMA ‘s Dark Sky Committee working to promote public awareness and prevention of light pollution. He and his family live in Freeport.

    Contact Jeremy: jfwright1@gmail.com

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    Carson Hanrahan - Director

    Carson has fostered a life-long interest in astronomy, starting as a pre-teen reading books about black holes. His parents, indulging his fascination, gifted him a telescope for Christmas. He spent years learning to navigate the night sky by paper charts under suburban skies and participated in astronomy clubs as a youth. Later, he re-entered visual observing with new, automated equipment and is thrilled to share with others the wonder of the night sky and how new technology makes it more accessible to everyone.

    Contact Carson: carson.hanrahan@gmail.com

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    Kevin Kane - Director

    Kevin is currently working towards his masters degree at USM. He joined SMA in 2021 but has been a life long star-gazer.  In recent years he has taken up astrophotography to enhance his views of the night sky.  Kevin helps out with the clubs website as well as the equipment and membership committees.

     

    Contact Kevin: kkane10@gmail.com