First Light
July 15, 1999

Click for larger image - Photo by John Waechter
On the evening of July 15, 1999, at about 9:10 p.m., the Keller Telescope opened its eye
skyward for the first time in many years - we figure 20-25 years.  There
is still much work to be done.  But the telescope was begging to reach
out for the stars - hungry for photons.

Those present - Kent Rothermel, John Waechter, Glenn Coates, Gene
Rickenbrode, Ken Engle, Dave and Loren Ross and Dave Gill drew straws
for the honor of first light.  Somehow, the short straw found me. 

Since the young waxing moon was hanging in the west, we could not resist
its pull.  As I trained the telescope on the silvery sliver, the
symbolism of the first view was unmistakable.  The terminator passed
through Mare Crisium. The sun was rising over the Sea of Crises -ending
the long night of Crises bringing the new dawn of brilliant light. 

After we all took our looks at the beautiful crescent perched over
Venus, we stopped for a celebratory toast:

To all those who helped bring the telescope back to life - those present
as well as those such as Gary Liknes, Matt Oltersdorf, Bill Castro and
others who were not there - especially Robin who pushed the project in
ways we will never know and was there every step of the way.

To all those beyond the WCAC who made it all possible - starting with
Norman Giust, Dr. & Mrs. Keller, the Fred F. Silk Foundation, Monty Reed, Tom
Dobbins, Wiley Organics, Sacks Electric, Terry Kirby, Powder
Innovations, Dean Wilson, Gary Jervis, and many others who's names
escape me at this moment including the many who contributed to the
Capital Campaign. 

To Gordon, Howard, Joann, Ken, Bob, Sarah, Toni, Lynda and Tammy who's
unflagging support and shared vision of the night sky as wilderness made
all this possible.

To TWC, its officers and its board who also believed that this project
fit into its mission and who included this project in the expansion for
the future. 

Thank you one and all.

Dave Gill

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Last updated July 3, 2000 by Bill Castro