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Meeting and Talk: "Optical Illusions and Astronomy"

The Warren Astronomical Society meets monthly on the third Thursday in a room in the library (Building J) at Macomb Community College's South Campus. Because the library is closed for spring break, we will meet in our summer room, J 151. Enter through the north-west back door. We do a bit of club business early on, then have a major presentation usually put together by one of our members.

Bob Berta will present the evening's feature talk, "Optical Illusions and Astronomy... Are You Really Seeing What You Think You Are Seeing?"

We are familiar with a certain famous astronomer who "saw" the canals on Mars and spent a lot of time trying to convince others he was right. Over the years astronomers (and astrologers) have expended much effort interpreting what they saw and trying to convince others they were right.  I will discuss how the fascinating topic of eye/brain interpretation and how what we think is true is often not so.

Bob Berta arrived in Michigan after retiring from San Francisco, California in 2004. He spent his entire youth, education and working career in California but his wife Nancy was born and educated here in Michigan. She was working for the Federal Government in SF when Bob met her. She has many relatives in Michigan and was home sick and wanted to move back. They have two adult children by Bob's late wife still living in California and three of their own here...two attending U of M and an 8th grader. He has three grand children and one on the way. Bob loves it here with all the opportunities to enjoy his many hobbies of astronomy, kayaking, biking, fly fishing, camping and music. He say it is also a LOT cheaper to retire here than in California. He didn't see the winters here as a negative... well maybe this year might cause a change in his thinking?

Bob has served in all the officer positions for WAS except for treasurer. He is still a member of the San Francisco Amateur Astronomers. Besides WAS he is also a member of the Oakland Astronomy Club (past VP and currently speaker coordinator) and the 7 Ponds Astronomy Club. He is also a performing musician. He plays electric and pipe organ, accordion and MIDI accordion and synthesizer. He is past president and currently VP of the Michigan Accordion Society. He also is a member of the Shelby Music Society. He and his youngest son are heavily involved in Boy Scouts. He designed and oversaw the construction of the observatory at DbarA scout camp and is now in charge of it. He is a Merit Badge Counselor for Astronomy for Scouts. His astronomy passion is astro photography, public outreach and tweaking and custom building astro gear with his metal lathe and milling machine.


If you would like to present a short talk (5-15 minutes) or a long talk (40-60 minutes) at a future meeting, please email Dale Partin at [masked].


The views expressed in presentations are those of the speakers and do not necessarily represent, and should not be attributed to, the Warren Astronomical Society.

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  • Joanne Nedwick (.

    The meeting was very good and I enjoyed the talk.

    April 17, 2014

  • Andy K.

    Sorry, I'm going to miss this talk. Something else interfered that came up on short notice.

    April 16, 2014

  • Joanne Nedwick (.

    The scheduled talk sounds interesting and I'm looking forward to attending.

    April 12, 2014

  • Bob T.

    Connie's birthday - I'll be out with her for dinner and a movie. One does not willfully suffer the wrath of Connie...

    April 10, 2014

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