Michael A. Stecker


Klaus R. Brasch, Ph.D.
Flagstaff, Arizona


Contact information
e-mail: krbrasch@earthlink.net
telephone: (928) 522-7061

My interest in astronomy was kindled as a teenager in Montreal when I joined the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada around the time of Sputnik 1. I quickly took to lunar and planetary observing and joined the ALPO, later serving as its Mars coordinator. Astrophotography was very challenging in those days, but I got hooked on it by snapping the moon and planets with the horribly grainy films available at that time. It was off to college after that and then graduate school with little money or time for telescopes, astronomy or anything else deemed extra-curricular! After earning my Ph.D. in 1972, I joined Queen's University in Kingston, Canada and began a rewarding research and teaching career in cellular and molecular biology.

I took up astrophotography in earnest again in 1980, while on sabbatical as visiting scientist at City of Hope National Medical Center in Duarte, California. I purchased a classic Celestron C-10, f/13 Schmidt-Cassegrain and first experienced the clear skies of Mount Pinos and other California dark sites. I was totally hooked on astrophotography from then on. My wife Margaret, young daughter Madeleine and I moved to the United States in 1983 and shortly after I purchased a superb 1970s vintage C-14. Deep sky photography had really come into its own by then as better films and support equipment became available. Many visits to the Texas Star Party, RTMC, Mount Pinos, the Mojave and Sierra Nevada followed, and I met and became friends with some of the best and most active amateur astronomers around.

Over the years my work has appeared in Sky & Telescope, Astronomy, Sky News and numerous popular books. I have also translated several French astronomy books into English. While I do mostly administrative work at the university now, I frequently lecture on topics ranging from astrophotography to life in the universe, at colleges, clubs and star parties.

I experienced an astronomical "epiphany" of sorts in 1999 and 2000 when Mike Mayerchak, Terry Dickinson, Alan Dyer and I were guests at Siding Spring Observatory in Australia. The people, scenery and southern skies were absolutely overwhelming and we came back with some of our finest images ever. Film based astrophotography is pretty much over now, but digital imaging has opened up an entirely new dimension which I intend to pursue well into my retirement years.

Areas of astrophotography interest
                                 deep sky                                    

Astrophotography publications
Sky & Telescope, Astronomy, Astronomy Technology Today, Sky News and numerous popular books

Observing sites
Flagstaff, Arizona
In California
Mt. Pinos, Last Chance (near Red Rock Canyon), Tarantula Rocks,
White Mountains

In Oklahoma
Okie-Tex Star Parties

In Texas
Texas Star Party near Ft. Davis, Texas

In Australia
Anglo-Australian (Siding Springs) Observatory

Astronomical Equipment
Celestron 14-inch Schmidt-Cassegrain Telescope
TeleVue 101 refractor
TMB-130 f/7 apo refractor

Losmandy Titan 50

Hutech modified Canon 20D digital SLR


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