Michael A. Stecker



Brian Lula
Worcester, Massachusetts
(See additional photo below)

Contact information
Locator Map
Level of accuracy: Auburn-Worcester, MA

I am President of PI (Physik Instrumente) USA.  PI is the world's leading manufacture of piezoceramic based micro and nanopositioning equipment used in research and industrial applications including: adaptive optic positioners for astronomical telescopes (UKIRT, Keck, NASA IRTF, ESO, Subaru, SALT, etc.), semiconductor fabricating equipment, telecomunication fibre optics, mask alignment and autofocusing mechanisms and high resolution microscopy.  Prior to PI, I was a director with Newport Corporation, a manufacturer of optical components, motion systems and motorized micropositioners.  Formerly, I was on the Board of Directors of LEOMA, the Laser and Electro-Optic Manufacturers Association of America.  Currently, I sit on the editorial advisory board of Photonics Spectra (the leading publication of the worldwide photonics industry), am Chairman of the Finance Advisory Committee for the SPIE (International Society of Optical Engineers) and a member of the Corporate Associates Committee of the OSA (Optical Society of America).

I was born in Toronto Canada, but now live in Worcester, Massachusetts USA where I serve as a leader in our local Christian church.  I am married with 3 daughters and am a member of the Springfield Telescope Makers (home of Stellafane) and the Amateur Telescope Makers of Boston.
Astronomy has been a passion of mine since my Dad took me outside one evening in 1960 to watch the ECHO 1 satellite glide over our house in Toronto. I was 5 at the time and remember going to the library weekly from that point on to read books on astronomy, telescopes, space exploration and machines. We were quite poor therefore getting a telescope was out of the question even though I waited anxiously every Christmas for one. When I was ten I chanced upon a broken and discarded cardboard telescope that someone had thrown in their garbage can. What a treasure! I tinkered around with the objective and a couple of lenses I had removed from "box" cameras that I had bought at a local Salvation Army store. Once I seemed to have a pretty good working combination I turned my first scope on the moon. Unbelievable!!!!!!! To this day few sights have been as awe inspiring.

The passion continued and through high school every project in my mechanical drafting and machine shop classes involved making some part for my telescopes. In mechanical engineering at university every design and fabrication project conveniently centered around the current telescope project I was working on at that time. Needless to say school was never a drag. I drove my teachers and professors crazy because I was always racing to finish the standard curriculum to get on with my telescope parts.....and save myself considerable money!  I learned to be a master of "scrounge" which makes me look at everything and wonder how to use it for making telescope parts. This desire to save money and build has taught me a lot about the technology of high precision having made just about every mistake one can make in designing and building performance scopes for high resolution imaging.....and there are still areas to work on in my current designs.

In 1985, Sky and Telescope published an article on a 12.5" Cass Newt that I built, but from 1985 through 1993 I was on a telescope making sabbatical, being very busy with family, church, career responsibilities and house moves. However that didn’t stop my interest. Just pumped it up! Over the last 15 years though I have worked on a number of new scopes, facilities and scope accessories and am happy to share the excitement and joy this hobby provides.

Heaven’s Glory Observatories grew out of the practical need to house my telescopes but also to honor and worship God for his Creation and love for us. The writings from Psalm 19:1 on the "Pink" Clubhouse” at Stellafane have real meaning to me.

As most astroimagers are painfully aware, there are a lot of working hours between sundown and sunup. I can’t recount the number of times I saw the sun rise as I built telescope equipment and accessories or finished up an image series. And yes......my wife is an angel and without her patience and understanding this work could never have been accomplished…and imagine that…. one of our daughters is taking biomedical imaging at university!

Astronomy Tale
I was 11 and my parents took the family to a drive in theatre in northwest Toronto. I was bored with the movie and looked out the back window of the car to count constellations. All of a sudden I saw a streak and then a blinding flash with some trailing “sparks” that lit up the whole sky and ground as if it was the middle of day . People jumped out of their cars, some crying in fear it was a nuclear attack. I was jumping with excitement because I knew it was a meteor but my Dad told me to shut up. Turned out to be a meteor ( the Kincardine high airburst) and an awesome one at that. From that point on “looking up” took on new meaning.

Areas of interest
Telescope making from optics, mounts, OTA’s, CCD cameras,  filter wheels, focusers etc. High resolution deep sky CCD imaging with a particular interest in galactic nebula.

Astrophotography Publications
 For details see the following:


Smithsonian, Sky & Telescope, Astronomy, various international magazines,
photonics trade magazines
TV/radio/ Newspapers
CBS News, local radio stations & newspapers

Observing sites
Local site
My main imaging site is in central Massachusetts under 4.9 limiting magnitude skies at an elevation of 800 ft. Worcester, a city of 200,000 is approx. 10 miles away, Boston is 50 miles and there are a number of 10,000 plus population towns within 8 miles.
This is the light pollution map for Heaven’s Glory Observatory I
: http://www.heavensgloryobservatory.com/webpageMiscellaneous/HGO%20LP%20Map.jpg

 Remote Dark Site
A new site called Heaven’s Glory Observatory II is under construction about a ½ mile away from New Mexico Skies under magnitude 7 skies at an elevation of 7300 feet.
See this link for more details:


Astronomical Equipment
20” Ritchey-Chrétien telescope
 homebuilt 12.5” f/4/15 Newtonian/Classical Cassegrain
8” TEC Maksutov
All on personally built imaging mounts
CCD cameras

Maxim DL/CCD, Photoshop, AIP, Registar


 Brian’s new homebuilt wide field short f/ratio imaging scope with homebuilt mount
set up for first light at the 2005 Winter Star Party.


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