Meet the Board of Directors


Stephen Schiff, Board Member

Stephen M. Schiff, (B.A., M.A., M.S., Ed. D.,) has been a life-long amateur astronomer and has recently retired after teaching forty-one years.  His most recent position was that of Planetarium Resource Educator at Poinciana Elementary Magnet School of Science, Mathematics & Technology.  Previous to that, Dr. Schiff served as the Astronomy Outreach Educator at the South Florida Science Museum.  He has given numerous astronomy lectures and hands-on workshops at colleges and libraries on Long Island.  Dr. Schiff has witnessed two total solar eclipses, attended teacher space camp, has been a member of the observatory staff at the Custer Institute Observatory and has participated in the LCROSS webcast at Kennedy Space Center.  He has been awarded eight educational grants to build space shuttle and space station simulators and a robotic observatory at his planetarium.  Currently, Dr. Schiff serves as vice-president on the board of directors of the Astronomical Society of the Palm Beaches where he participates in community star parties in local parks and libraries. He is also a presenter for the NASA Night Sky Network and is a cruise speaker for Sixth Star Entertainment.  His enthusiasm and expertise encourages all astronomy participants to discover for themselves the wonders of our spectacular universe.


Eric Isacoff, Secretary

I am a relatively new member of the ASPB with 2 years of participation. After 30 years of being away from the hobby, I have rediscovered my love of amateur astronomy. My son was about 5 years old when I first showed him the beauty of Saturn and its rings.

I currently own 3 telescopes (albeit small), and am especially interested in the public outreach aspects of the ASPB.


Jay Albert, Board Member

I’ve been fascinated by the beauty of the night sky since childhood. I joined the ASPB in late 1999 (my first year of retirement) and have served as secretary, president and currently as a member of our board of directors. I have a Celestron 11” SCT with a piggy-backed 80mm Stellarvue refractor, a Celestron NexStar 6” SCT and a Coronado 60mm H-alpha (solar) telescopes. I enjoy all kinds of astronomy, but am especially active in lunar and planetary observing. I am also a member of the amateur/professional Association of Lunar & Planetary Observers.


Bob Barr, Vice-President

I am an optometrist by profession and currently practice for the Veterans Administration. I served in the U.S. Navy for 8 years on active duty as an optometrist. I have specialty training in Low Vision Rehabilitation and was a clinical faculty member for 8 years with Nova Southeastern University College of Optometry. My hobbies have included backpacking, spelunking, scuba diving, and photography.

I have had an interest in astronomy as far back as I can remember. My professional training in optics and human sight has enhanced my interest to pursue amateur astronomy as an active hobby. ASPB has a strong commitment to education and public awareness. This has tied in well with my joy of learning new things and teaching others. I currently am using a 12-inch Dobsonian reflector and an 8-inch astrograph. I am still a novice with a lot to learn. We invite you to come on out and see what you have been missing.


Sam Storch, Board Member

Sam has been a long-time lecturer for more than three decades at New York’s Hayden Planetarium.  As a Professor at Nassau Community College in Garden City, NY, he conducted classes in astronomy and also worked and consulted for several other planetariums and institutions in the New York City and Long Island area.

An elected Fellow of the International Planetarium Society, he has received the Distinguished Service Award, the highest award given by the Middle Atlantic Planetarium Society, as well as a Special Service Award from the Northeast Region of the Astronomical League, the largest federation of astronomical societies in the United States.  A long-time active member of the Astronomical Society of Long Island, he specializes in deep-sky observations as well as observations of lunar occultations.  One of his observations first showed the presence of a double star not previously suspected.  He has enjoyed standing in the moon’s shadow during total solar eclipses, and made the first documented observation of the Great Nebula in Orion during the total solar eclipse of July 11, 1991.  

Now in Florida, he is glad to be able to serve on the Board of the Astronomical Society of the Palm Beaches and enjoys patiently waiting for the clouds to drift past his telescopes while he still tries to view deep–sky objects.


Diana Hannikainen, Board Member

I obtained my BSc from the University of Edinburgh in Scotland, and then went on to pursue an MSc and a PhD in astronomy from the University of Helsinki in Finland. My primary field of research concentrated on radio and X-ray observations of microquasars. My colleagues and I were particularly interested in studying the connection between accretion processes around the black hole, and subsequent jet ejection events.

I was fortunate enough to have forged a long-lasting collaboration that started during my studies with the University of Sydney, Australia, and I often visited for research purposes ... Those trips were most welcome, especially during the long, cold, dark winter months of northern Europe. I conducted my research at several institutes in Finland, and also in England, at the University of Southampton, always in collaboration with the University of Sydney.

After moving permanently to South Florida a few years back (I just love the sun too much), I joined the Palm Beach Astronomical Society in 2014, and am thrilled to be reconnecting with the night skies. I am currently editing the 'Stars and Scopes' newsletter, and it has been a great introduction to the Club's members and activities.