LVAAS General Meeting

Sunday, April 14, 7 p.m. at South Mountain Headquarters  

and via ZOOM


"Playing in the Shadows"

If you want to add some stress to your astronomy hobby, try chasing eclipses for starters.  Gary A. Becker and Peter K. Detterline will detail some of the eclipses they have successfully tracked, focusing on the October 14 annular eclipse they witnessed in Utah, and hopefully, the April 8 total solar eclipse that they are anticipating to observe somewhere between Vermont and Texas, in the nearest clear-weather location that is closest to home.  If they are clouded out, plenty of other success stories will be detailed, including at least one lunar eclipse they have chased.  If you're an umbraphile, and who isn't, plan to join Pete and Gary for a fun-filled program as they explore what it's like to chase and play in the shadows. 



Featuring Gary A. Becker and Peter Detterline


Gary Becker has had a lifelong passion for astronomy, photography, and sky watching.  As director for 38 years of the award-winning Allentown (PA) School District Planetarium, and currently, Adjunct Professor of Astronomy at Moravian University in Bethlehem, PA, Gary has taught astronomy from the preschool to the graduate level under the electronic as well as the natural sky.

An ardent traveler, Gary has hosted tours to observe and photograph comets and eclipses and has taken urban students to the Southwest to view the heavens from some of the darkest locales in the United States.  He and his pupils volunteered as Night Sky Interpreters at Chaco Culture National Historical Park, NM and Bryce Canyon National Park, UT between 1999 and 2006.  In 2012, he joined the Astronomy Team of the Mars Society where he helps to maintain and enhance the Elon Musk (Solar) Observatory and the MDRS Robotic Observatory at the Mars Desert Research Station near Hanksville, Utah, the latter which supports the astronomy program at Moravian University.

Gary A. Becker’s half-century of amateur and professional interests in astronomy have provided him with a unique perspective for writing and teaching.  He has authored the book that his Moravian astronomy students use, edited the national newsletter of the Astronomical League, The Reflector, founded (1996) and continues to maintain as an educational outreach the very visual website, and has for over a quarter century written a homespun, informative weekly column called StarWatch which is distributed to the Moravian community and appears in 25 newspapers nationwide.

Gary resides in Pennsylvania’s beautiful Lehigh Valley with his wife, Susan, a retired English teacher who also enjoys writing, and their three spunky Dutch rabbits, “cerebral” Sagan, “T-Rex” Stella, and "princely little" Fynn.

Peter Detterline is an avid astronomer whose interests cover a wide range of the astronomical spectrum.  For thirty-five years he was the Director of the Boyertown Planetarium, where he gave programs to over half a million people. He is a recipient of the Thomas Brennan award from the Astronomical Society of the Pacific for exceptional achievement related to teaching high school astronomy. He teaches an astronomy course at Montgomery County Community College, and for teachers through the Montana Learning Center.  In research he has coauthored numerous papers on eclipsing binaries and contributes data to the AAVSO, ALPO, IMO, and IOTA.  He is the Observatory Director for the Mars Society where he heads up an Astronomy Team providing a solar and a robotic telescope for their members at the Mars Desert Research Station in Utah.  He also provides training for a robotic telescope in New Mexico as the Lead Astronomer for the Montana Learning Center. Both robotic telescopes are used remotely by students around the world.

Peter was selected to be part of the “Astronomy in Chile Educator Ambassador Program”, where he visited the largest American observatories in that country.  As an amateur astronomer he has traveled the globe to view solar eclipses, built his own observatory, and has completed over 45 observing programs including the Astronomical League’s “Master Observer”.  He is an honorary life member of the Lehigh Valley Amateur Astronomical Society (LVAAS).

When he’s not staring at the heavens, Peter is preaching about them as a Lay Minister for the United Church of Christ.  Astronomy for him is a deeply enriching experience that connects the heavens to the Earth.



Prospective new members who wish to attend the meeting should email

—    LVAAS    —

THE LEHIGH VALLEY AMATEUR ASTRONOMICAL SOCIETY -- 620B East Rock Road -- Allentown, PA 18103 -- 610-797-3476 --


Founded in 1957, the Lehigh Valley Amateur Astronomical Society (LVAAS) is one of the oldest continuously-operating amateur astronomy organizations in the U.S. The mission of LVAAS is to promote the study of Astronomy and to maintain a meeting space, observatories, and a planetarium.

LVAAS operates two astronomy sites: The South Mountain site in Salisbury Township is the headquarters of the Society. It has a planetarium with a Spitz A3P projector, a 21 foot dome, meeting space, the Red Shift store, library, workshop space, and three observatories. The Pulpit Rock site near Hamburg is LVAAS's members-only dark sky site. At 1600 feet above sea level, the site features five observatories and a pad for member's scopes.

Members who receive training on the scopes may obtain keys to the observatories. LVAAS also maintains a rental "fleet" of telescopes that members may rent at low cost. Members also receive access to The Observer, our online newsletter, as well as reduced subscription prices to Sky and Telescope and Astronomy Magazine. If you want to learn more about astronomy and LVAAS, please join us at our next public star party.

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