Michael A. Stecker


Stephen Cannistra, M.D.

Contact information

see: http://www.starrywonders.com/aboutme.html

I am a physician at an academic medical center in Boston, MA.  My love of astronomy began in childhood, when I received a small, department store Newtonian scope and was disappointed to see that none of the objects looked like those in magazines.  I promised myself that once my training was done and I was settled down, I would once again return to astronomy and capture the wonders of the night sky through photography.

So now it's about 40 years later, and I find that there's not much more free time!  But my passion for astronomy, cosmology, and photography have found a perfect outlet in astrophotography, and it has become an addictive hobby.  I find myself imaging on almost every clear, moonless night (which isn't that common in New England), often after a long day at work.  Although I live near Boston, I image in the darker skies of North Smithfield, RI at my old homestead, which means that I must travel 50 miles to and from my imaging site every session.  I don't have an observatory, and I have to set up and take down every session.  My equipment has grown over the years and now includes an NJP mount, FSQ106 and VC200L telescopes, as well as STL11K, U32, and ST402 CCD cameras.  The images that I've captured still amaze me, and I take none of their beauty for granted.  Processing every image is an exercise in discovery, and I love the excitement of seeing an image
 appear before my eyes, and realizing that I captured it with my own equipment and skills.

I have published several research and clinical articles in my professional life, but I am just as satisfied when one of my astrophotography images is felt to be worthy of publication.   Astrophotography has become a part of my life, and it has added a dimension of enjoyment that I could not do without.  Also, the internet has greatly enhanced my experience in this hobby, since it has allowed me to share images and ideas with other astrophotographers around the world.  Some of my nicest astrophotography interactions have been in cyberspace, since I don't have much time to attend astronomy meetings due to my schedule.

I hope that you enjoy my webpage, and that you derive as much satisfaction as I do from this wonderful hobby

Astrophotography publications
see: http://www.starrywonders.com/publications.html
Magazines and Online Publications
Astronomy, Sky and Telescope, Sky Watch, Universe Today, Astronomy Picture of the Day
Professional Journals
New England Journal of Medicine, 336:1207, 1997, Hale-Bopp

SCT-User Imaging Competition, First Place, Prime Focus Film Category, 2003
SCT-User Imaging Competition, First Place, Deep Sky Digital Camera Category, 2004
NASA's Astronomy Picture of the Day,
July 28, 2004

Observing site
North Smithfield, Rhode Island.
Limiting visual magnitude is about 5.5 and it is class 5-6 on the Bortle Dark-Sky scale

Astronomical Equipment
see: http://www.starrywonders.com/equipment.html

Takahashi FSQ-106N
Vixen VC200L
Mount and autoguider

Takahashi NJP mount
SBIG ST-402 autoguider
CCD cameras
SBIG STL-11K, SBIG ST8300M, Apogee U16M


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