Bob Grossfeld, Observatory Manager
Bob first came to the Observatory as a volunteer in 1990 after receiving his BA from the University of California at Santa Cruz, and became the Manager of the Observatory in 1998. He has advanced the teaching of Astronomy and the outreach of the organization throughout the greater Northwest community. He is a distinguished member of NASA/JPL Solar Ambassador program since 1998 enjoying the benefits of the advanced programs offered by the organization. Since 2007 he has also been the principal instructor in Astronomy at the Central Oregon Community College. Bob continues his education through special programs offered through NASA and MIT. Bob is a hearty outdoorsman and enjoys the skiing and boating opportunities offered by Central Oregon.
Don Barnes, Volunteer
Don was born and raised in Portland Oregon. He served in Coast Guard from 1953 to 1957, part of the time was on scientific trips to the Arctic and Antarctica. From 1958 to 1990, Don worked at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, installing electrical systems on Navy ships and submarines. He took up flying in 1959 and owns his own plane. Don has three grown kids, and seven grandchildren. He has always been interested in the stars and purchased a 100-year old 4-inch Mogey refractor telescope that had belonged to a retired sea Captain when he moved to Sunriver in 1990. In 1991 when the Nature Center started building the original observatory, Don was there to help and started volunteering on the first night it opened. From there, he started learning more about objects in the night sky and continues learning every day. Don's favorite views are with low magnification and a wide field of view. Don loves explaining the night sky to people in laymans terms and sharing his knowledge with "city people" who rarely get to glimpse the dark skies. One of the favorite things he hears from people, "I took astronomy in college, but now I understand it."
Jerry is the longest active employee at the Oregon Observatory. He started doing programs in the Nature Center parking lot in the mid 1980s with his own telescope. He has an unparalleled affinity for the beauty of the night, and can spend hours in the dob farm, out in the back of the observatory. While he has extensive knowledge and experience with the science, the most important thing Jerry will tell you is to "just look up and enjoy the view".
Lynn is a life long stargazer who has participated in astronomy in Central Oregon for many years. He has been involved with the Central Oregon Astronomy Club, Pine Mountain Observatory, and with the US Forest Service at Lava Butte, before joining the Oregon Observatory in 1997. His knowledge about meteorites, comets, and auroras is unrivaled. His extensive knowledge in this area, and in the technical detail about telescopes and filters, has made Lynn a invaluable asset to the Observatory.
Paul has been with the Observatory since 1996. He loves traveling and stargazing. After studying aerospace engineering, astronomy, meteorology, anthropology, and various other subjects, he ran out of money and decided to graduate with degrees in Accounting and Finance. Not interested in either of those things, and after doing a little traveling, he was able to return to his first love of astronomy when he was asked by Bob Grossfeld if he wanted a job at an observatory. He loves mythology, quantum mechanics, and museums. He has a few other jobs outside the organization, one with the Deschutes Public Library, and another as a light and sound tech at Northwest Theatrical Productions.
Tracy and Jan Brown, Volunteers
The Brown’s have been involved with astronomy in Sunriver since 2001. Tracy, a retired engineer and technical writer, enjoys astrophotography because the long exposures required reveal fine detail and color otherwise invisible in the night sky. His work is found in the observatory’s brochures and other literature, is displayed on the north wall of the observatory, and is featured on the Oregon Observatory website. Tracy was also instrumental in developing the Planet Walk found on the path behind the observatory. Jan is an avid solar observer with a backround in accounting software. She has put together several wonderful solar telescopes over the years including the Coronado double-stack 90mm in the observatory. Tracy and Jan also help “man the telescopes” during public programs whenever they are in Sunriver.
Larry Cerullo is a familiar face at regional star parties and outreach events representing the Oregon Observatory at Sunriver. With Bob Grossfeld, he runs the retail operation for the Observatory and AstronomyShop.org as a volunteer. A horse rancher in Powell Butte, OR, Larry is a semi-regular volunteer in the evening programs. He also is the SNCO’s editor for the newsletters Aspen Leaves and the Night Sky News. He has been involved with the Observatory since 1999.
Thomas and Penny Brondum, Volunteers
Thomas has always been interested in the night sky. He is a real life "rocket" engineer and worked with hardware currently on the International Space Station. Thomas and Penny are both retired. They both worked for Rocketdyne in Southern California before coming to Bend. Thomas began volunteering at the Observatory over 10 years ago. When their children (Alex and Thaedra) were old enough, they both worked at the Oregon Observatory during the summer while in college. In order for Penny to see more of her family during the summer, she began volunteering as well. Now that both children have graduated Penny still volunteers twice a week. Thomas being an engineer loves telescopes: their optics, mechanics, electronics, etc. Thomas likes near sky objects like the Moon, Sun, planets but also galaxies, whereas Penny is fond of double stars and galaxies. He is one of the tour guides for the night sky and will occasionally give talks at the Observatory. Penny can be found most often at the 20" telescope in the dome explaining the Great Globular Cluster in Hercules or the Orion Nebula to guests.
Brian discovered his interest in astronomy in 2010 when he took an astronomy course at the local community college taught by Observatory manager Bob Grossfeld. He has no formal astronomy education but feels that he has learned far more from his fellow staff members than he ever could in a classroom setting. His continuing "education" is driven by his fellow co-workers, his enthusiasm for the night sky, and his own curiousity. Brian most enjoys sharing his knowledge with others, and bringing a smile to others faces.
Matt is a full time teacher in the Bend-La Pine school district during the school year. During the summer he teaches kids classes at the Observatory.
Carole moved to Oklahoma from San Jose, California in 1977 only to return to the West coast in 2005 to be closer to family. She is a proud mom of three successful children, Jennifer, Matt and Chris and one wonderful grandson, Ashton. Carole’s daughter, Jennifer, is currently the Lead Naturalist/Interim Manager at the Nature Center. Carole works in the medical field by day and observatory by night. Carole joined the observatory staff in 2012 and collects admissions in our store. She takes every opportunity to stargaze in hopes of seeing the aurora borealis (on her bucket list), iridium flares, meteor showers, comets and, of course her favorites Saturn and Jupiter. She spends evenings lying on her deck, eyes to the sky, watching and waiting. She is always learning from her fellow space geeks! When she is not working her two jobs, Carole loves anything nature, wildlife observing, boating, skiing (snow and water!), hiking, and gardening and enjoying time with her dog Jamie, and of course family and friends.
Carolyn Maxwell, Administration
Carolyn joined the SNCO team in August 2011. A native of Oakland, California, Carolyn has a B.S. in Biological Science, and several years office administration experience in the public and private sectors including work with nonprofit organizations and nature centers. Carolyn and her husband, Ray, moved to Sunriver in 2010. When not working, Carolyn enjoys spending time with her three grown children, camping, hiking, and gardening.
Al Bagley, Head of Maintenance
Al is an avid fisherman, spending many weekends at the Columbia River Gorge with his son. He enjoys spending time with his wife Lauren, daughter Therese, son Myles, and grandson Elliot. In addition to making sure the Nature Center and Observatory grounds are in beautiful condition, Al often takes time out of his day to talk with visitors about wildlife related topics and even offers up some of his favorite fishing hole locations.