Michael A. Stecker


Warren A. Keller
Buckhannon, WV

Contact information

A child of the 60s- Star Trek, Lost in Space, 2001: a space odyssey, Apollo launches at dawn.  Like many of us, I boldly went with my heroes "Where no man [had] gone before".  I never really touched down again.

As vice-president of my middle school astronomy club I owned an 8" Newtonian. By college, it was forgotten for a career in music, most nights playing in city clubs far from the dark skies of my youth. I was a recording, performing and teaching musician most of my life and am a multi-published Nashville songwriter.

It wasn't until Christmas '97, when my ex bought me a star chart and modest achromat that the passion
re-ignited. I was gifted with Fred Hoyle's book Astronomy when I was a child. Its cover had the glossiest, full color photo of The Ring Nebula in the blackest, velvet sky. I knew from that moment I would someday photograph the heavens' wonders. 

Working with 35mm film til 1998, I switched to CCD in 2003. Artistic by nature, the highly technical aspects of the hobby can be challenging. For me, it's less about chemicals and cosmology, and more about the thrill of the hunt and the myriad of beautiful colors and shapes throughout the universe.

As a teacher, I'm told I have an ability to reduce difficult concepts to the essentials and effectively
communicate it to others. I also try to stress the importance of artfulness in this largely left-brained hobby. It is my desire to convince new imagers that they can accomplish anything they want in

I'm proud to have been published in: Sky & Telescope, Astronomy, Amateur Astronomy, ATT, Pennsylvania Recreation & Parks and Pennsylvania magazines, Astronomy Online, AstroPhoto Insight, Cloudy Nights, and other places on the World Wide Web. I'm a list owner of SXV-OSC at Yahoo Groups. I've been a presenter at NEAIC, MAIC, Black Forest Star Party, and for groups as varied as Boy Scouts, camera clubs and civic organizations. My Astrophoto tutorial business www.IP4AP.com was named a Sky & Telescope Magazine 'Hot Product' in 2007.

Astronomy Tales
The two funniest 'vignettes' (in retrospect!) were:
a. Driving two hours in rush hour to image at a friend's club site, also a semi-abandoned air strip. All ready to go, when C-141 cargo jets began flying 200 ft overhead, dropping palettes on us. As the skids would land on parachute, forklifts and trucks would scramble to pick them up in a training exercise. Not much was accomplished that night!
b. Just this month 2/08, my observatory was obliterated by a wind storm. The G-11 and telescopes came to rest 100-ft down the hill on their side. I didn't discover this until talking on the phone the next day! It was real carnage but nothing except the shed was totaled and insurance eased the pain!

Areas of interest
Artistic Imaging

Astrophotography publications
Sky & Telescope,
Light Pollution article- Delta Record 
Astrophoto Insight articles and columns 

Observing site
Home 'Foxcroft Observatory' in Buckhannon, WV, USA.
Formerly, Cherry Springs area (BFSP) of Pennsylvania, USA      

Astronomical Equipment
TV60is, Vixen R200SS,
Perhaps Vixen VC200L next. Losmandy G-11, SXVF-M25C, STV Deluxe.
Adobe Photoshop CS2, Astroart 4, Neat Image,

Church, Music and The Arts, travel to friend's observatory in Ft Davis, TX. Walks and drives in
the country.
Additional Information: Wife, Christine, Grandpa to 8!


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