Last updated: 13 September 1999

FEMA Declares California a Disaster Area for Astronomical Observing This Year

Date: Fri, 12 Jun 1998 03:20:12 -0700 (PDT)
From: "wayne t. watson" (wayne@netcom.com)
Subject: BULLETIN: California Disaster

        Federal Government Declares California a Disaster
           Area for Astronomical Observing This Year

Today the Federal Emergency Management Agency, FEMA, declared that because 
of the atmospheric effects caused by El Nino dating back to late 1997 that
California would receive federal aid for professional and amateur
astronomers in the state.  It was noted that night seeing has been near
impossible most of the 1998 and a good part of the last months of 1997.
Weather predictions for the remainder of the year by JPL suggest that
it may be September before three successive nights of good viewing
might be possible.  Kodak, Fuji, and several other film makers have
expressed concern. 

"CCD and photographic imaging has been way down this year.", said John
Rigel, a spokesman for CAANTC, California Amateur Astronomers Neighborhood 
Telescope Commission.  The noted Irish amateur astronomer Jerry O'Berry
mourned the inability to see the spectacular O'Brien nebula, which only
can seen for a short period around St. Patricks day.  Several leading
camera stores, Pfotomat and PayMore among others, noted that the demand
for wallet sized astronomical photos was much lower this year.  Several
professional astronomers have given up hope of seeing or photographing
much this year, and have turned to writing proposals for more 'big
ears' to be built in California rather than 'big eyes'.  

In a recent trip to Silicon Valley to attend a conference on electronics 
and software for everyone, vice-president Gore noted that in his last
several visits here that he hadn't seen any stars in the California
skies for in a long time.  When pressed on the subject, he admitted
that his bed time is usually 6pm and he often rises late.  Newt
Gingrich was asked about the crises, and responded with "What?
California again! They are really starting to annoy me out there."

In the FEMA announcement, it was stated the astronomers in California
would be compensated fairly.  The compensation, although not finalized,
would be along the following lines:

	Professional Astronomers: 
	-Triple the loan period on books containing 
	 galactic images from any state university library. 
	-Double the loan period on any other astronomical
	 image books found in state university libraries.
	-Free 8x10 glossies (black and white) of any 
	 image shot by Kitt Peak in 1997. Limit of 5.
	-Free wallet size color photos of any image shot
	 by the Hubble Space Telescope in March, 1998.
	-Reduced admission to the Eselen Institute this
	 summer for group therapy for distraught astronomers 
	 with lunch a Nepantha.

	Amateur Astronomers: 
	-A five day extra grace period on any book in
	 their local public libraries written by Carl Sagan.
	-By arrangement with Sky and Telescope Magazine,
	 the right to copy any image in a forthcoming
	 special issue on the viewing crisis in California.
	-A free government pamphlet titled "How to Keep Dust 
         Off Your Telescope While in Storage.".
	-At a modest cost from the Dept. of Defense, a full 
	 color Messier object eye chart.

	Occasional Astronomers: 
	-Free 3-D glasses and one 3-D image of the latest 'face
	 on Mars' image obtainable directly from FEMA with 
	 assistance from NASA.

	Art Bell Listeners:
	-Psychic images of M666 in the Hyades.
	-From the U.S. Govt. Printing Office, a free pamphlet
	 on optical illusions in the day and night skies.

After the announcement, representatives from Washington, Oregon,
Nevada, Utah, Arizona, Texas, and Florida were thinking of asking for
similar assistance.

Late Item: Special prosecutor Kant Star was looking into the rumor that
CAANTC membership fees were diverted to Al Gore's campaign fund in 1996. It was
also heard, that when Newt heard this news, he was able to utter "this is the
last straw" just before he went nova.

Written by Wayne Watson, but not Copyrighted 1998 by Wayne Watson. 
Anyone is free to distribute this material without restrictions other 
than to have a good time with it. 

- -- 
    Wayne T. Watson  |                              |     /  *              
   The Software Hill |  Consulting in C, UNIX, C++  |    /              .    *
   Mountain View, CA |  Java, OO Methods, Graphics  |   //            *
    (650) 969-4233   |    Statistics, Science,      |  o         *      .
   wayne@netcom.com  |  Space Sciences, Astronomy   |              .     * 
         Web Page: http://www.netcom.com/~softhill (Updated 12/07/97)

"Not everything that counts can be counted, and not everything
that can be counted counts."    (Sign hanging in Einstein's office
at Princeton)

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