Michael A. Stecker


AstroPeople 3:
Mt. Pinos "Rat Pack"

(Southern California 1980's - 2000)
Astro-People 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
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Astrophotographer Portraits Slide Show with captions-1
Mt. Pinos Gang And Other Astro-friends




During the 1980's and '90's a group of dedicated astrophotographers gathered each new moon weekend to Mt. Pinos, about 110 miles north of Los Angeles, California.  At that time their astrophotos dominated both books and magazines dealing with astronomy.  Because of their notoriety and friendship, Tony Hallas dubbed them the "Rat Pack" (probably in reference to the one in entertainment led by Frank Sinatra).  They have since separated for various reasons.  During their hey day they consisted of : Martin Germano, Kim Zussman, Tony Hallas, Bill Fletcher, James Foster, Bob Fera and myself.

Quote regarding Mt. Pinos in 2000
"...the location you mention is exactly where I sat for nearly 1 hour the night I was up there (except that I climbed the steep slope and actually sat under the overhanging pine branches). It was an hour of "personal time" that I really enjoyed using just the Canon 15x45 IS binocular. I was less interested in the scopes (been there, done that at other dark sites). In deep (make that *very* deep) twilight I walked about a mile up the road toward the summit. Not exactly the smartest thing to do without a flashlight, but a nice experience. I found a little opening off the road with a decent view, but what really struck me was how silent it was. When I turned to go back I could see the lights of Bakersfield -- it's bigger (and closer) than I thought."

 "At least now I can say that I've been to one of astrophotography's legendary sites."

Dennis Di Cicco, Associate Editor of Sky and Telescope Magazine


Photos of Mt. Pinos "Rat Pack"
Please mouse click on any of the thumbnail photos below to see an enlargement


Panorama of Mt. Pinos, California astronomy site


Rat Pack minus 2 and Dennis Di Cicco


Tony Hallas's farewell






Tony Hallas


Janice and Bob Fera


Daphne Hallas and Janice Fera


Tony Hallas, Dave Newton
and Martin Germano


Martin Germano


Kim Zussman


Bill Fletcher and Kim Zussman


Sally Fletcher


James Foster at home


M. Stecker,  J. Foster


James Foster


Michael Stecker