Michael A. Stecker


Anthony Ayiomamitis
northeastern outskirts of Athens, Greece


Anthony's magnificent Analemma at Delphi
(photo from: http://www.perseus.gr/Astro-Solar-Analemma-060000.htm )
more analemmas at: http://www.perseus.gr/Astro-Solar-Analemma.htm

The Analemma
"... more men have walked on the moon than have successfully photographed the analemma."
(Sky&Telescope, Dec/2003: 73)

An analemma is basically the figure "8" loop that results when one observes the position of the sun at the same time during the day over the course of a year. As a result of the earth's tilt about its axis (23.5) and its elliptical orbit about the sun, the location of the sun is not constant from day to day when observed at the same time on each day over a period of twelve months. Furthermore, this loop will be inclined at different angles depending on one's geographical latitude.

The Oracle of Delphi
Built around a sacred spring located in a dramatic setting on the slopes of Mt. Parnassos, Delphi was regarded in antiquity as the "omphalos" or center of the world.  Its Oracle, dating back to1400 BC, was the most important shrine in all Greece.  People came from all over Greece and beyond to have their questions about the future answered by Pythia, the priestess of Apollo.
ref: http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/cgi-bin/siteindex?entry=Delphi

Contact information
Linked on his website

I am a 41 year-old retired computer consultant (system design) from Athens, Greece My college and graduate school education was at the Universities of Toronto and Waterloo (Canada) where I received the B.Sc. degree in statistics and computer science, BA (computer science) and BMath (mathematics).  In grad school I received the MSc (statistics), MHSc (public health and epidemiology) and M.Ed. (computer science).

My interest in astronomy is perhaps typical of other amateur astronomers as it dates back to my early youth. Perhaps the germinating seed that initiated a tremendous fascination for the wonders beyond our planet was NASA's manned space program and, more specifically, the Apollo series during the late 1960's which, of course, was captivated by the Apollo 11 mission on July 20th, 1969 with the famous "the Eagle has landed" (at:16:17:00 Universal Time-4) and followed a few hours thereafter by "one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind" (at: 22:56:15 Universal Time -4).  Regrettably, commitments to university studies followed by consulting work necessitated that I somehow keep this incessant and burning passion in the background and it was not until until my late thirties that I finally had the financial means and time to pursue astronomy as a hobby.

My first telescope was Celestron 14"/f11 Schmidt-Cassegrain. The telescope coupled with an interest in photography that was initiated in high school led me inevitably to astrophotography.  The bulk of my astroimaging is performed at my cottage-villa on the northeast outskirts of Athens where skies easily reach a limiting visual magnitude of 4.5 and which comfortably exceed 5.0 during winters. For example, Ursa Minor is usually visible in its entirety with/without averted vision; the Milky Way is a beautiful site year-round and an incessant reminder about the richness of the heavens above. When in pursuit of even darker skies, my favorite location is the absolute top of Mount Kithaironas (1430 m), approximately 90 km northwest of Athens.

Regarding my equipment, I was finally notified (after 5-years on the AP waiting list)  that I will soon receive an Astro-Physics 160 mm/f7.5 EDF air-spaced triplet refractor.  I am still waiting for an Astro-Physics Traveller (105 mm/f6) ordered in Feb/2002.  I also own a semi-apochromatic refractor (TeleVue Pronto) as well as a rich-field refractor (Orion ST-80WA).

Areas of interest
Astrophotography involving:
celestial mechanics (analemma, time series etc) and
challenging Deep Sky Objects like Abell PNe, Arp catalog and Barnard's Dark Nebulae

Astrophotography publications
see: http://www.perseus.gr/Astro-Pubs.htm

Magazine Articles
Amateur Astronomy (USA),  Astronomi (Norway), Coelum Astronomia (Italy), Griffith Observatory (USA), Nojum Magazine (Iran), Ouranos (Greece), Popular Astronomy (Britain), Sky&Space (Australia) and Star Observer (Austria) 

Magazine Photos
Air & Space (USA) , al-MAGELLA al-FALAKYYA (Italy/Arabic Edition), Astronomi (Norway), Astronomie Heute (Germany), Astronomy (USA), Astronomy Now (Britain), Astrosurf (France), Sky & Telescope (Australia), Ciel & Espace (France), Coelum Astronomia (Italy), Γεωτρόπιο (Greece), Focus Magazine (UK), Le Stelle (Italy), Luna (Britain), Newton Magazine (Italy), NVOX (Holland), Ουρανός (Greece), Planetarian (USA), Popular Astronomy (Britain), Popular Science (Greece), Recorder (Canada), Sky & Space (Australia), Sky&Telescope (USA), Sky At Night (Britain), Star Observer (Austria), Tahdet ja avaruus (Finland), The Technology Teacher (USA), Urania (Poland), Zenit (Holland-Belgium) and Zvezdotchet Magazine (Russia)

Books, Encyclopaedia, Multi-Media, Mass Media, Television, Web Sites and more
See: http://www.perseus.gr/Astro-Pubs.htm

Observing sites
Home Site
Near Athens, Greece at 38.2997 N, 23.6430 E; with a limiting magnitude of at least 4.5 to 5.0.

Remote Sites
Excursions include frequent trips to Mt Kithairona (38.1831 N,
                          23.2486 E, 1431 m altitude) year-round and Mt Parnonas (1700+ m) in southwestern Greece during summers.

Astronomical Equipment
Celestron 14" SCT/f11
Astro-Physics Starfire160 at f/7.5
Takahashi FSQ-106N f5 (on order)

Losmandy G-11
ME (on order)

Canon EOS 300D SLR Digital Rebel camera
Philips ToUCam PCVC 740k webcam

AIP4Win, CCDSoft, Maxim DL,
Photoshop and Registax

Retired systems analyst and designer


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