Michael A. Stecker


Jim Misti
 Northwestern Arizona

Contact information
Locator Map
Level of accuracy: East of Kingman Arizona USA


Astrophotographic Background
see: http://www.mistisoftware.com/astronomy/
I have enjoyed amateur astronomy as an interesting and educational hobby for over 40 years. I have owned many telescopes over the years, beginning with a low-end Sears 3" Refractor in about 1960. I built a 6" Newtonian, including mirror grinding/polishing, while in high school. Soon after college I built telescopes using 12 1/2" and 17 1/2" inch mirrors from Coulter Optical, and owned a Criterion Dynamax 8.

A little over 10 years ago I bought a 30" Dobsonian made by Tectron Telescopes, and at about the same time bought a Meade 178ED 7" refractor. These were the first telescopes I used at my Northwestern Arizona location, where I built a home in 1992.  A few years later I was able to place an order for the 32" Ritchey-Chretien telescope that I now have, and it was delivered in February of 2001. The time requirements of my employment have kept me from getting this instrument ready for astrophotography until recently, and this web site contains the first decent photographs I've taken. I'll be taking many more as time allows, adding to the collection here, and trying to improve on the existing photos.

Astronomy Tales 
My observatory is in a very remote, high-desert location in Arizona, and I share the environment with a large number of "critters."  I often hear coyotes yelping and howling during the night, but I routinely ruin my night vision in trips from house to observatory by carrying a bright flashlight --
the Western Diamondback rattlesnake is one of my frequent visitors in warm weather, and they are also most active after the sun goes down.  They won't bother me if I don't bother them, hence the white light so I don't accidentally step on one in the night.

Also, Black Widow spiders really enjoy the observatory environment - a nice, dry, dark enclosed space that isn't tightly sealed against visiting insects.  Occasionally one will drop from an overhang onto my laptop keyboard while I'm doing an imaging run, just to say hello.

Areas of interest
"Pretty Pictures" of deep-sky objects

Astrophotography Publications
Sky and Telescope,  Astronomy
Astronomy Photo of the Day
  Perseus Galaxy Cluster: http://antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov/apod/ap041025.html
  Iris Nebula (ngc7023): http://antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov/apod/ap041104.html

Observing site
Misti Mountain Observatory
Northwestern Arizona, about 30 miles East of Kingman,
  120 miles West of Flagstaff, 7 miles from the nearest house.
  Latitude:   35 degrees North
  Longitude: 113.5 degrees West
  Elevation:  1,367 meters (4,500 feet)
  Extremely dark skies

Astronomical Equipment
Telescopes and mounts
32" Optical Guidance Systems Ritchey-Chretien, on an
  Optical Guidance Systems OGS140 German Equatorial mount.
  Meade 178ED APO refractor, riding piggy-back on the RC
CCD Camera
SBIG STL-11000 CCD Camera
  SBIG STV auto-guider, and Lumicon Giant Easy Guider for tracking


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