Michael A. Stecker


Randy Brewer
Baytown, Texas


Contact information
Locator Map
Level of accuracy: town of Baytown, Texas

I am 51 years old, married to my wife Dolly, and have 2 great children Jeremy & Stephanie.  I work for ExxonMobil in Risk Management.  Ive been there well over 30 years and am nearing retirement.

 I was born in Houston Texas and have lived on the Gulf Coast all of my life.  We currently live in Baytown on Galveston Bay where we enjoy a variety of boating hobbies from fishing to water skiing.

 I have been involved in many hobbies through the years but re-discovered astronomy in 2000.  We were sitting in the back yard with friends enjoying a good bottle of wine while watching the February 2000 Lunar Eclipse.  I had the usual cameras and binoculars to watch and document the event.  As the discussions (and wine) went on, I mentioned that when I retired that I planned to get a nice telescope to enjoy the sky with.  When asked why I was going to wait until I retired, I didnt have a good answer.  The next month I bought a new 10 LX-200.  I searched around and found a local star party where I was introduced to the locals and the astronomy clubs in the area.  I am now an active member of four clubs in the Houston area.

 I quickly began to be more interested in astrophotography and sold the SCT for a 6 Takahashi refractor and more stable mount to serve my purposes.  I now eagerly attend as many club meeting as I can and attend several expeditions to dark sites with the clubs.  One such star party is at Fort McKavett in the spring and fall.  The site is in central Texas at about 2100 feet elevation and is pretty darn dark.  We camp among the ruins of the old Fort for four days.  We give a public star party for the locals on Saturday night.  I also have a great friend with a house in Ft. Davis near the McDonald Observatory.  I go there about four times a year for a week at a time for some serious CCD imaging time.

Areas of interest
I really enjoy CCD imaging.  I have tried film and the digital cameras but now use the more sensitive CCD.  I have shot a variety of objects from planets to nebula to the large galaxies.  My current focus is now the smaller and more unusual galaxies that are out there.  Therefore, I had to upgrade my telescope again.  This time more aperture.

Astrophotography publications
Sky & Telescope,
Astronomy, European astronomy magazines

Images in a book on the Arp Galaxies and on the cover of Classical music CDs.

Observing sites
The Cedar Bayou Observatory
29.74848 N, 94.96895 W
I currently have my scope set up at my house in Baytown inside a 7 clam shell dome for use.  I cant go after the really faint stuff from here, but I can shoot the occasional nova, occultations, planets, and other bright objects relatively well.

I prefer to image in dark sites like Ft. Davis and the Hill Country.  In 2003, we bought a lot in Stars End in New Mexico.  It is just across from the great New Mexico Skies location.  It is so pretty there as well as great for imaging that we have decided that we will retire there soon.
My equipment can be seen at:

Astronomical Equipment
RCOS 14.5 telescope
It can be configured at either F/6, F/9, or F/15 as it has two secondary mirrors that can be interchanged for specific tasks

Takahashi Sky90
mounted on top for wide field shots

Takahashi EM-500
Takahashi NJP-160 mount
CCD astro-
camera with filter wheel and the AO-7 adaptive optics


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