Michael A. Stecker


Dietmar R. Hager, M.D.
(see additional photo below)

Contact information
Locator Map
Level of accuracy: Linz, Austria

Born in 1969, I was raised in the city of Linz, Austria. I attended medical school in Vienna, and consumed my training to become an orthopaedic trauma surgeon mainly at the trauma surgery department in the common hospital of Linz. I also bounced around in several further departments all over Austria, Europe and even in the U.S. to enrich my knowledge especially in hand surgery. My specialty therefore is Hand and Microsurgery but I also cover orthopedic trauma-surgery. In 2000 I co-founded the microsurgical research and training centre (www.maz.at), offering international microsurgery courses to attendants from all over the world.

I discovered my passion for astronomy when I was a child. My father brought me to the local astronomy club (www.sternwarte.at) when I was only 15 years old and encouraged me to join this club. The astronomical virus infested me at once when I gazed through a telescope for the very first time. This was a very ancient but most interesting and beautiful 5” f/15 Zeiss refractor being attached to an old german eq-mount. Ever since two things became quite clear for my life in a blink of an eye: this infection implied an infaust prognosis and the wish to build my own observatory when I`d be a “grown up” arose at the same moment…but it took me a long time until this came true.

I started to hold astronomical lectures in public at our club-observatory at the age of 16 years, enriching me with the privilege to work with people which I do love and now suits my occupation as a doctor perfectly. I am a counselor for astronomy projects to the Ars Electronica Center in Linz, Austria. I am also a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society.

In May 2005 I carried out my plans on creating my own observatory. It is a small 3m square building with a 10 foot HomeDome (http://www.homedome.com/) that contains my dream come true main-scope: a 9” f/9 TMB Apo. Since the space inside the observatory is insufficient to hold a large refractor like this, I needed to let this telescope be designed as a folded refractor (Schaerrefractor). Matthias Wirth, Markus Ludes (http://www.apm-telescopes.de/) and Wolfgang Ransburg (www.teleskop-service.de)  managed to build me this telescope. Handling this equipment for visual and photografic purposes grants me great relaxation and recreation.

In 2009 I started to undertake another exciting project: together with my partner and friend Immo Gerber I raised my remote-observatory in the South of France. The 9” TMB Apo will serve me well under way better sky-conditions.

I am married to Christine and we have 3 kids. My wife is also in Astronomy and she shares my enthusiasm for this hobby. Christine is an artist, mainly working as a painter (http://christelhager.info/) but also creating lamps, textile arts and comics.

Astronomy Tale
     When I was holding a lecture at the club-observatory one afternoon those many years ago, I encountered one of the most terrific experiences in my life. I met Christine and from the first moment I layed eyes on her face, I somehow foresaw the future and something inside my innermost soul told me, one day I`d be married to her. When I uncovered this experience to Chrisine many years later when we were already married, she admit and regret, that she would never had thought of a thing like that when she saw me for the first time.

Areas of interest
Deep-sky imaging: wide field images and high resolution also.
Planetary and lunar visual and photografic observation.

Astrophotography publications
NASA APOD (several times)
Lunar APOD

Featured images in Universe Today (several times)

Image of the day in Anacortes Astroforum (several times)
Image of the day in Astronomy magazine (several times)
Image of the month in Deepsky forum (several times)
Image of the month in Cloudy Nights Astroforum

Image of the day in Adirondack VideoAstronomy
Best image of object in Cloudy nights Astroforum (several times)
Contest winner of best Mars image in Deepsky Astroforum
Image publication in german magazines: Sterne u Weltraum, Astronomie Heute, Interstellarum.
Image publication in Sky and Telescope
Image publication in Astronomy Magazine
Images published in various books and videos.

Observing sites
TAO remote internet controlled observatory in south of France
My “Stargazer private observatory” is located some 35 km north of Linz in a very nice and dark area under 6m5 limiting magnitude skies at an elevation of 740m above sealevel.

Astronomical Equipment
local obs: 5” f/9 TMB APO
20” f/3.7 Intes Dobsonian – Matthias Wirth design
remote obs: 9” f/9 TMB APO with TMB flattener

local obs:
Mountegra (Gemini-product:
www.astronomy.hu) a one arm fork mount – fully adaptable to its weight it is supposed to carry, meaning that the horizonal (RA) arm can be moved within a certain amount to balance the scopes.
Boxdörfer Dynostar driver system (

remote obs:
10 Micron 2000

local obs:
Starlight Xpress SXV H16
FLI filterwheel and Astronimik 2” Filterset (LRGB Ha O3)
Starlight Xpress guide-head
DMK21f04 fire wire camera for lunar and planetary work.

remote obs:
SBIG ST 11k + Astronomik 2” filterset (LRGB, Ha)

AstroArt 4 for image acquisition, autoguiding, alignment and color conversion.
CCD Stack, Maxim DL for preprocessing. Photoshop PS CS2, Registax 4 and PixInsight for postprocessing.
CCD Autopilot, CCD Navigator, Focus Max for remote photography.



Dietmar wearing his surgical apochromatic head-microscope


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