Michael A. Stecker


Dr M. Francois Du Toit
Port Elizabeth
South Africa

Contact information
franlet@aerosat.co.za or startrace@gmail.com
http://startrace.googlepages.com/ (new)
http://home.intekom.com/franlet/ (old)
Locator Map
Level of accuracy: City of Port Elizabeth, South Africa

In a nutshell... I am a Family Physician in private practice.  Currently my main areas of interest are: my work, scuba diving/underwater photography and astronomy/astrophotography - the latter being my 'first love', and likely to remain so!

The passion for astronomy is shared by my wife, who started it all many years ago. My astrophotography is very much at amateur level, but I get great satisfaction out of squeezing the maximum out of the equipment at my disposal and designing and making my own brackets, piers etc.

I am a member of the Astronomical Society of South Africa and also serve on the committee of the Port Elizabeth People's Observatory where we have a very old 8" Cooke refractor. This facility is open to the public on a regular basis. 
( http://home.intekom.com/franlet/astronomyPAGE90.htm )

I regard public outreach as very important and am currently involved in an advising capacity with the Dept. of Physics at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University here in Port Elizabeth. We are in the process of establishing an observatory on a guest farm about 170 km out of town - beautiful dark skies! We often present lectures, slideshows and a "star party" there. While this observatory will also be open to the general public, its main aim is to bring astronomy to schoolchildren and students.

Areas of interest
Deep sky and wide-field imaging

Astrophotography publications
[1] Images in: "Stars of the Southern Skies - an Astronomy Fieldguide" ed. by Mary FitzGerald ISBN 1-86814-351-1

[2] Few short notes and images of Transit of Mercury and Transit of Venus recently in the ASSA magazine.

[3] Astronomy Picture of the Day: 14 May 2004  -  The grazing occultation of Zubenelgenubi during the lunar eclipse of 4 May 2004.

[4] Images published on Astronomy Magazine's. website and various other websites

Observing site
Light-polluted Port Elizabeth, South Africa:  Long: 25 34' 96" E   Lat: 33 57' 91" S

Remote sites
 Noorspoort Guest Farm in the Karoo - very dark skies.
Holiday home on the coast - very dark skies.

Astronomical Equipment
10" Meade LX200 SCT on one of several polar aligned, permanent piers -  or on tripod in alt/az when traveling.

ProOptic Maksutov with full aperture sunfilter.
4.5" Newtonian reflector with motor on German equatorial mount.

Homemade wide-field film camera with 65mm f/0.75 Oude Delft lens - from old
X-ray machine, see: http://home.intekom.com/franlet/astronomyPAGE68.htm

Canon EOS 300D SLR - at primefocus or piggyback.

SBIG STV for autoguiding as well as imaging - "stack  and accumulate" with H-Alpha 10 nm filter etc.

Sony Digital Camcorder used afocally on the telescopes.


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