MSRAL 2020


Friday, June 12th to Sunday, June 14th at Jenks, Oklahoma



The Regional Planning Committee and Hosting Club BA Sidewalk Astronomer

Look Forward to MSRAL 2021 Tentatively Scheduled June 4-6, 2021

The Mid-States Regional Astronomical League Conference 2020

Is being hosted by Astronomy Club of Tulsa and Broken Arrow Sidewalk Astronomer.  This year, 2020, MSRAL will be held on the third floor of the Jenks High School Planetarium in the Math and Science Building located at 205 East "B" Street, Jenks, OK 74037. 


Registration and conferences will be held here on the third floor along with the Friday night meal.  After dinner, the attendees are invited to the ACT Observatory in Mounds, OK for a star party and observing scavenger hunt for the youth.  This is about 35 to 40 minutes from the conference location.  (see VENUE tab for map)


This year, there will be a Student MSRAL Conference held in the Jenks High School Planetarium that is open to high school students 9th - 12th grades only.  The peer run conference will be accessible to all students - blind/legally blind, deaf/hearing impaired and non-ambulatory.  Because of a special project the youth are working on, adults are asked to attend their conference to allow students to have an element of surprise and for the peer run conference to be a great experience.


Across the hall from the planetarium is the large conference room where the adult program will be held.   In between these two conference sites is the lobby, vendor, swap meet, reception area with seating for networking and vendor visits.


The Saturday night banquet is a full service, plated meal held at the Crowne Plaza Hotel Oklahoma Rooms I - III.   This hotel is across from Oral Roberts University at 7902 S. Lewis Avenue, Tulsa, OK 74136.   (see VENUE tab for map) 


Room discounts have been offered here with block room rates.  For The Crowne Plaza booking portal and room rates go to VENUE tab.

Student MSRAL Conference

With the partnership of Dan Zielenski, Planetarium Director, Jenks High School and 2018 Horkheimer Smith Award winner and Co-Vice Chair of this event, Abby Bollenbach, together will host the student program in the planetarium  Saturday and Sunday morning.

Students will put finishing touches on their special project, make a buckey ball, student talks, conduct solar observing and sketching with tactile sun spot activity for blind/visually impaired students.

Door prizes and giveaways specifically for youth.


Don Ficken is a retired business executive whose passion for protecting our night sky from light pollution grew out of his love for nature and the science of astronomy.  In 2018, he helped launch a Missouri Chapter of the International Dark-Sky Association (“IDA”) where he currently serves as President.  He is well known both regionally and nationally for his role as founder of the St. Louis Eclipse Task Force which grew to over 160 organizations working together to prepare the St. Louis area for the historic 2017 Total Solar Eclipse, and for his role in promoting the Library Telescope Program in the St. Louis metro area and nationally.  
Don is frequently interviewed by print and broadcast media on issues related to astronomy, IDA and the programs he manages.  He was featured in a 2017 article in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch related to his work with the St. Louis Eclipse Task Force and has received many awards for his outreach and community work, most recently the prestigious “2018 Las Cumbres Amateur Outreach Award” from the Astronomical Society of the Pacific based in California.


Dr. Kathryn Garner-Vandy is an Assistant Professor of Aviation and Space at Oklahoma State University in Stillwater, OK.  She has a PhD in Planetary Sciences from the University of Arizona and a BS Geology summa cum laude from the University of Oklahoma, where she also learned how to fly.  Dr. Kat's two main loves are space and flight.  Her research interests include the study of meteorites, planetary differentiation, commercial space flight, student pilot flight training, and STEM education in underrepresented groups.  She lives in Tulsa with her husband and four children and in her spare time, she enjoys boxing and weight lifting.


confirmations in works


Cheyenne Smith is a communicator by day and astronomer by night. Cheyenne has always had an interest in art and a love for science and believes they both must coexist to help humankind understand the universe we reside in and that resides in us. Cheyenne’s interest in creative writing, interpersonal development and science communication encouraged her to pursue a B.A. in Journalism and Mass Communications with a focus in public relations from the University of Oklahoma. Her love for the cosmos has led her to serve as a Solar System Ambassador for NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. As an ambassador Cheyenne’s interests are astrobiology and highlighting minorities in STEAM. Cheyenne is an arts worker at Tulsa Artist Fellowship and Science Heads chapter coordinator. She is a proud Earthling who loves the planet, Paris, faux fur, Royal Albert tea sets and daydreaming about picnics on the prairiebres Amateur Outreach Award” from the Astronomical Society of the Pacific based in California.


My 30+ year career is as a Registered Professional Chemical Engineer, but ever since I was 14 my primary hobby has been astronomy. I became the first Astronomical League Platinum Level Observer, having completed over 70 of their Observing Programs. I am very active in Citizen Science, including my current role as Advisory Consultant to ConsenSys Space, an open source, blockchain structured app recently released to provide crowd sourced trustworthy satellite tracking. 

I don't have imaging equipment; instead, I use remote imaging. My main Citizen Science activities are:
•    Support of NEO tracking and surveying, 
•    AAVSO variable star photometry and spectroscopy
•    Tracking satellites both visually and with imaging
•    Nova / comet hunting 
But most of all, I enjoy a warm summer night with my telescope, my friends, my wife and 2 grown kids, my dog, and the whole universe to behold.

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