Thomas M. O'Key
Current Projects

The new endeavor


There are always opportunities that come from raw, naturally occurring resources. Recognizing these resources as having value and meaning is a matter of personal choice and interest and can result in the most amazing outcomes. Astronomy is such the case for me and because of the beautiful night skies that can be enjoyed most nights in Joshua Tree, the stars have captured my attention and will not let loose of me!


                                          C11 AND SSK 32 SIT SIDE BY SIDE AT JTAAT 

For insight into the work I am doing in astronomy, please visit the web site that represents the effort me and my friends have created that documents our love for exploring the night sky. Our group is known as the "Southern California Desert Video Astronomers" and our site is listed as 

                          READY TO GO WITH THE STAR PARTY FUN

Here you will find pictures and descriptions of a new form of astronomy that uses highly sensitive cameras combined with large aperture telescopes to render the most incredible live images of our amazing universe. Deep sky objects are projected onto huge screens and the images are seen in ways that are only to be experienced at our astronomy site known as the "Joshua Tree Astronomy Arts Theater". (JTAAT)

                         SCREEN SHOT OF THE MOON IN TWO VIEWS

The theater is located at the Joshua Tree Lake RV and Campground on Sunfair Road in Northeast Joshua Tree. The proprietors, Ken and Sally, are down to earth folks who are scratching their living out of the reconstructed and resurrected campground they have been restoring.

                               M27 DUMBELL PLANETARY NEBULA

On their premises are the fledgling edifices of our video projection theater and observatories where we occupy the Southeast corner of the "Lake". Construction has been going on since our ground breaking ceremony that took place on November 21, 2009. It is a work in progress and represents a grand plan unlike anything existing,anywhere, in the world.

                                      M51 WHIRLPOOL GALAXY

The reason it is possible to say we are unique and that nothing exists like this, anywhere, is simple. We are applying technology that is limited to a very small number of people in the world and we are sharing it in a way that others have not yet found a way to acheive. Not that it is really that hard to do, just that it requires a large number of components to make it functional.

                                          THE LAGOON NEBULA

To make it all work there are several systems needed to pull it all together. First, a great night sky is the base line requirement. Without it, the results are less than acceptable. Second, a place that has weather that works with the needs of an outdoor adventure and has a comfortable environment most of the year. Joshua Tree is a natural winner for both! Great skies most of the year and warm summer evenings that are fantastic! The third thing is an array of decent telescopes that are fully equipted with highly sensitive cameras and computers so as to capture the images of deep space objects with incredible resolution. Next, is the presentation equipment that can deliver the images in an outdoor theater setting. Accommodating several hundred people that can sit and enjoy a presentation where multiple projection screens are arranged side by side to display the high definition images in a relaxed way with comfortable amenities. The campground provides that and allows for camping and libation with long weekend events for large numbers of visiting astronomers and spectators. Bring these things together and include some entertainment to add some dimension to the mix and we are doing astronomy in an entirely new way, unlike anywhere in the world!


The question arises as to why we would bother with all the stuff that requires so much effort. The answer becomes blurred by the many reasons that erupt from the outcome of a successful night of star gazing with a crowd of people who see the show. They are amazed with the realization of the meaning of the connection to the universe that becomes such an experience in reality. They are often overwhelmed by the facts that are unavoidably inescapable and Carl Sagan emerges in spirit and moves the core of all who get what is happening. Outer space, live! Real! Now!




SCDVA.ORG has joined in the effort to turn off un-needed lights and to bring awareness to the community about the reasons of making our night sky dark. The health of the Planet is at risk of damage from many sources and light pollution is one of the most misunderstood kinds of destructive assailants. To learn about our work on this important subject, go to our website at and click on the link to the MBDSA group we are involved with.... 


Art in Astronomy....     bending the light



I am always working on several new projects at any given time. I work best under pressure. Below you will find a list of some of my most recent projects.