Members Ken Redcap and Tom Hagen are teaching an eight week Python 3 computer coding class to middle school students at the Rochester Hills Public Library. Classes are offered in the RHPL maker space known as the “Eureka Lab”. The Eureka Lab kindly hosts our class there on Thursdays for 8 week sessions. We have conducted 3 sessions starting earlier in 2019 and will be starting the next session on January 2, 2020. We accommodate 10 students at a time and we teach basic elements of the Python 3 language for 1 hour. The first half of the class is devoted to Python coding on laptops in an integrated development environment (IDE). The IDE we use is called “Mu” and is intended for beginning programmers. The second half of the class uses the Adafruit Circuit Playground Express (CPE) development board. The CPE is programmed over a USB cable and a different project is run each week of the class. Some of the projects are; infrared remote control, musical capacitive touch piano, servo motor drive, and many more.
The 2019 Detroit MakerFaire was held at the Henry Ford on July 27-28. This was the second MakerFaire we have attended. Marty Kunz, Ken Redcap, Jim Shedlowsky, and Tom Hagen manned our tent located directly across from the clock tower on the front lawn of the museum. Included in our display were:
- Solar White Light Telescope
- 1.42 GHz horn antenna (pictured) for detecting the neutral hydrogen 21 cm line from the Milky Way
- Fresnel lens for using the sun’s energy to burn pieces of wood and asphalt
- Adafruit Circuit Playground Express development boards that MHAS volunteers use to teach Python classes to children at the Rochester Hills Public Library
Dave was an active volunteer at MHO and he and his talents will be missed. His work on the SuperSID project of the Society of Amateur Radio Astronomers (SARA) helped add to the scientific legacy of the observatory. Dave was on the Board of Directors of SARA also. He is remembered for being an enthusiastic mentor to many DIYers from places as far as Uruguay. He also shared his knowledge and experience freely with anyone who sought his help and expertise in radio astronomy.
Pat Seitzer recalls, “I had dinner with a South African friend who was putting a SID setup together in Johannesburg. He had some questions, so I suggested he email Dave. Turned out he already had and Dave was most helpful. It really is a small world. My friend was very impressed with Dave’s knowledge and willingness to help.”
Being an avid ham radio operator, Dave was a member of the Hazel Park (MI) Amateur Radio Club. He also was a member of the University Low Brow Astronomers club at the University of Michigan. Earlier in life he obtained his Master’s Degree in Counseling & Guidance from Michigan State University. He served at Chrysler for 20 years as a Supplier Quality Specialist. His survivors include his wife of 41 years, Joanne, son David R. Benham Jr., and daughter-in-law, Anne Marie.
Some excellent work on upgrading some infrastructure at the observatory has been taken on by Matthew Visnaw and others.
An intense geomagnetic storm brought some bright auroras to local observers. This followed an impact by a coronal mass ejection (CME) around 2:00 pm EDT on October 24th, 2011.
Watch the video from an observer in Martin, MI: