Michael A. Stecker
Mt. Pinos "Rat Pack"
(Southern California 1980's - 2000)
Mount Pinos site
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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."
least now I can say that I've been to one of astrophotography's legendary
Dennis Di Cicco,
Associate Editor of Sky and Telescope Magazine
Photos of Mt. Pinos "Rat
Please mouse click on any of the thumbnail
photos below to see an enlargement