Michael A. Stecker


Robert Reeves
San Antonio, Texas

Contact information

Locator Map
Level of accuracy: city of San Antonio, Texas, USA

My name is Robert Reeves and I live in San Antonio, Texas. I was born in this city in 1946 but traveled  extensively until 1970 when I finally resettled back in San Antonio.  In addition to the regular 9-to5 job which helps support my family, Mary and Jeffrey, I am a magazine and book author.   For ten years, I also used to teach astronomy for both the Northeast Independent School District and the Alamo Community College District here in San Antonio.

I have written over a hundred articles for Astronomy Magazine, The Astrograph, The Reflector, Amateur Astronomy Magazine, and the defunct Deep Sky and Deep Sky Journal Magazines. I have also written 20 encyclopedia articles about space exploration and co-authored the book The Conquest of Space with Fritz Bronner. In 1994 my book The Superpower Space Race, subtitled “An Explosive Rivalry Through the Solar System” was published by Plenum Publishing in New York. In May of 2000, my next book, Wide-Field Astrophotography, was published by Willmann-Bell. My current project is  the book Digital Astrophotography, soon to be published by Willmann-Bell.  Other works in progress include a future book on the exploration of Mars, and an ongoing series of biographies about amateur astronomers published as the “Star People” column in Amateur Astronomy Magazine.

My interest in astronomy had its roots in my attraction to space exploration, a topic I have pursued since 1955.  Astrophotography has been a passion of mine for since 1960. Wide-field piggy-back photography and lunar and planetary photography through the telescope occupied me until 1977. That year I obtained an 8-inch Celestron Schmidt Camera. For several years I experimented (less than successfully) on how to mount the Schmidt in order to use it to its fullest
potential. Then, an old high school classmate of mine, David McDavid, invited me to use his newly completed D. Nelson Limber Observatory located in the Texas Hill Country north of San Antonio. For several years, I was given virtual free reign to use Limber Observatory as I pleased. The Celestron-14 telescope installed under the observatory's 4-meter dome was a natural match for my 8-inch
Schmidt camera. Color photography with hypersensitized Ektachrome emulsions, and black and white work with 103a spectroscopic films and hypersensitized TP-2415 occupied my observing agenda.

In 1984, the D. Nelson Limber Observatory was upgraded with a DFM Engineering computer-controlled .4-meter Cassegrain telescope and restructured for a comprehensive program of observing B(e) stars with a photometer and polarimeter. Since my Schmidt camera was incompatible with this new instrument, I embarked on the construction of my own observatory, the Von Braun Photographic Station, which became operational in 1986.  In late 2003, after a long and productive life, the observatory building was severely damaged by storms and was dismantled.  I now leave my telescope mount on the observatory’s concrete slab and observe in the open.

At about the same time the observatory was damaged, I crossed over to the “dark side” and began to extensively use digital cameras for astrophotography.  Now, in spite of owning 10 film cameras, including the 8-inch Schmidt astrograph, all my celestial imaging is done through digital means.

As soon as the ink was dry on the manuscript for the book Digital Astrophotography, I started my third book on celestial photography.  At this
point, I’ll hold the topic close to the vest, but theme follows the amazing shift in astrophotography from film to electronic imaging.  While I find it
enjoyable to write articles and books about astrophotography, I do lament that the poor weather here in south Texas allows me more time to write
about astrophotography than to actually DO astrophotography.

Areas of interest
wide-field astrophotography with a Schmidt camera

Astronomy publications
Astronomy, The Astrograph, The Reflector, Amateur Astronomy, Deep Sky and Deep Sky Journal

20 encyclopedia articles about space

The Conquest of Space with Fritz Bronner
The Superpower Space Race, 1994
Wide-Field Astrophotography, 2000

Observing site
The “Von Braun Photographic Station” near Vanderpool, Texas. 
Altitude: 2200 feet

Astronomical Equipment
Classic Celestron 8-inch f/1.5 Schmidt camera with dry nitrogen purge.  Mounted on a C-11 fork mount.

Celestron 8-inch SCT


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