Riverside Astronomical Society—Outreach, star parties, dark sky site, and you!

Riverside Astronomical Society

Board of Trustees and Club Officers & Directors

As a non-profit organization, the RAS has a Board of Trustees to ensure the club is meeting the goals of its charter and conducting itself in a manner consistent with 501(c)(3) rules and regulations.

The club also has a group of Officers & Directors who carry out and oversee the activities and operations of the club. These are the people, along with participation of the general membership, who keep the club active and strong.

See the Contact Us page to contact RAS Board Members and Officers.

Board of Trustees

Frank Boecker
Board Chairperson

Diane Childs

Rick Debus

Tom Hill

Bob Massey

Cary Pooler (R)

Bill Vining

Club Officers & Directors

Yeti or Rick Debus Rick Debus | Club President
Rick Debus joined the club in 2004 after his interest in astronomy was rekindled by meeting club members at an outreach event connected with the Mars opposition of 2003. He typically observes at GMARS with integrating video cameras instead of eyepieces so he can see deep-sky objects in color in near real-time. He has served as "What's Up?" director since 2008, as a trustee since 2012, as Speaker Director since 2013, as Vice President from 2014 to 2016, and as RAS Club President since January 2016. As a club trustee and officer, he strongly supports the development of GMARS to accommodate the needs and desires of current and future club members and strongly supports the club's outreach program.

Bob Massey Bob Massey | Vice President and Merchandise & Fundraising Director
Bob joined the RAS in 2006 as a result of a chance encounter with RAS evangelist Alex McConahay at a solar astronomy workshop. Like many others, Bob's interest started in his youth and included grinding his own mirror for his homemade 6" reflector. With family raised and careers winding down Bob got serious again about his love of the skies and completed an MS in Astronomy. He is currently the proud occupant of one of the GMARS observatories where he tries valiantly to collect copious amounts of photons. His interests include deep-sky imaging as well as involvement in several pro-am observing collaboration campaigns.

Alex McConahay Alex McConahay | Secretary
Alex joined the RAS in June 1996, after he visited the RAS in the high desert during the Comet Hyakutake outreach. He quickly discovered he could combine camping and astronomy to make a new hobby. For several years, Alex had served as Star Party Coordinator (along with his lovely wife Judy). He has also been volunteering as painter, weed cutter, and whatever else is necessary at GMARS, and junk dealer for the RAS store at the now defunct RTMC. As one of the Riverside Amateur Telescope Makers he has built two telescopes and earned an RTMC Merit Award. He has also spent some time chasing eclipses, and volunteering at RTMC. Alex helped establish the RAS's Astro-Imaging group. He became an RAS Trustee in 2004, was named President in 2006, and became Secretary in 2014. Visit Alex's website.

Linda Boecker Linda Boecker | Membership Director & Treasurer
Linda joined the RAS in January 2006. She became interested in astronomy through her husband Frank. After a year of impatiently waiting for her turn at the eyepiece of his telescope, she went out and bought her own 10" Orion Dobsonian telescope. In just a few shorts years, she's become quite good at navigating her way around the night sky. After sharing the role of Membership Director with her husband, Frank, for about 2 years, she accepted the position of club Treasurer. Her many years of experience in accounting and bookkeeping are sure to serve her and the club well in this role.

Bill Vining, Star Party Director Bill Vining | Star Party Director
No bio submitted.

John Liderbach-Vega John Liderbach-Vega | Outreach Director
John joined the RAS around 2003. He first became fascinated with astronomy and space exploration at the age of 9 when Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walked on the Moon. Around that time, John successfully begged his mother for a 60mm refractor from Sears. While that scope quickly found its way into a closet, John got his second telescope (a 6" Dobsonian) a mere 25 years later, and has been looking up ever since. While he thoroughly enjoys a quiet night at the eyepiece under a dark sky, John gets an even bigger kick out of letting children of all ages look through his telescope to view the craters of the Moon, the rings of Saturn and the moons of Jupiter.

Alex McConahay Alex McConahay | GMARS Site Director
See above for Alex's bio.

Bob Stephens Bob Stephens | Historian
Bob joined the RAS in 1974 strictly to get extra credit for his astronomy class. As soon as he graduates, he will no longer need to attend meetings and star parties. He has served in several positions with the RAS including President, Treasurer, and Chief Observer. Meanwhile, he has fallen in with bad company, working with several professional astronomers on asteroid research. Over the past 15 years, he has determined rotational periods for over 450 asteroids, written or coauthored over 150 research papers and articles, and observed at Lowell Observatory and Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory. Bob is a full member of the American Astronomical Society and received their Chambliss Award for Amateur Achievement. Asteroid (39890) Bobstephens was named for him by the International Astronomical Union—just before demoting Pluto. Bob is also an avid eclipse chaser having seen 13 Total Solar Eclipses and 3 Annular Eclipses. The 4th Annular Eclipse was the one that got away.

Michael Bauer Michael Bauer | Chief Observer
Michael joined the RAS way back when the club was hosting PATS in Pasadena. His interest in astronomy developed during the era of regular Space Shuttle launches when he was about 5 years old—it's been an obsession ever since. In 2002, Michael bought his first go-to telescope and a DSLR, and has been enthusiastically astro-imaging and photographing ever since. He holds a B.S. in Astrophysics from UCI. As Chief Observer, he hopes to share with the club the excitement he gets from hearing about new breakthroughs in physics and astronomy.

Frank Boecker Frank Boecker | Beginner's Corner
Frank joined the RAS in January 2006. After discovering the RAS during an outreach at Barnes & Noble and subsequently joining the club, Frank became quite involved – First as Membership Co-Director (along with his wife) then as President and a member of the Board of Trustees. He first became interested in astronomy as a child when he saw a telescope he wanted in the Sears Christmas catalog. Many years later he bought a Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope and a whole new world opened up for him. After several years of observing, he decided to venture into astrophotography and is getting pretty good at it. He enjoys being active in the club and participating in the board decisions that help make RAS a great club.

Carey Sublette Carey Sublette | Director of Capella Operations
Carey joined the RAS in 2011 with daughter Kedron Eridani (1996-2013). Carey has a life-long interest in astronomy, badgering parents into getting him a 4.25" GEM Newtonian in 6th grade, and getting college credit for an astronomy course taken at UCR in 7th grade. Attending a China Lake star party in 1982 he encountered his first large mirror Dobsonian (a 17.5" Coulter) and developed a desire to someday get access to one for observing. He is a software/enterprise architect, with advanced degrees in Computer Science, and a degree in Ancient History. As Capella Operations Director he provides outreach with Capella at each star party night that he is present.

Sam Hill Sam Hill | Prime Focus Editor
No bio submitted.

Daniel Perry Daniel Perry | PF Editor-in-Chief/Social Media Director/Webmaster/GMARS Network Admin
RAS on: Facebook | Instagram | Twitter
Daniel joined the RAS in October of 2005. After being introduced to astronomy in the late 70s by his father, Daniel was hooked and spent the next 30+ years buying and selling astronomy equipment looking for that ultimate mount, scope, and camera. Today, he has two observatories at GMARS and he showcases his astrophotos on his personal website, californiastars.net and on his blog.

Janet Parr Janet Parr | Door Prize Coordinator
No bio submitted.

Diane Childs Diane Childs | Meeting Refreshments
No bio submitted.

Ashley McDermott Ashley McDermott | Advisor
College of the Desert, Professor of Astronomy and History, Emeritus. Founder, Director and Advisor of the Astronomical Society of the Desert (ASOD). Ashley is a member of the American Astronomical Society and director emeritus of the RTMC. He has received a number of prestigious awards including the G. Bruce Blair Gold Medal, the Clifford W. Holmes Award, and the Robert Burnham Award for outstanding contributions to popular, professional, and amateur astronomy. He has published in Sky & Telescope and the Griffith Observer magazines. Asteroid Ashley (serial #6752) is named for him in honor of his long and distinguished career in teaching and popularizing astronomy.