Friends, Memories and Observatories

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My first Celestron telescope purchased in March 1979

This was the telescope that started me down the road of deep sky astrophotography. Over the next several months I purchased several accessories which included a dual-axis drive corrector, C90 guide scope, cold camera and 12mm guiding eyepiece.

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My first deep sky astro photograph taken with a my new Celestron 8 pictured above. This was a 30 minutes exposure @ f10 using Tri-X film.
M27 - August 1979

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Auroral Display November 1981

My first photograph of the Northern Lights taken from my grandparents farm in Sanford, Michigan. I will never forget the smile on their faces as they viewed the night sky through my telescope. It is a night I will always remember. The auroral display that night was icing on the cake!

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This photo was taken during one of my many trips to my uncle's property in Jerry City, Ohio. I made this trip in October 1983 with my dear friend, Joe Brown. I met Joe at a Detroit Astronomical Society meeting several years earlier while he was giving a lecture on sketching astronomical objects. His C90 telescope can be seen setup in the foreground. Joe took this photo as I was setting up my C11 for a night of viewing and astrophotography. Shortly after this trip, Joe and his wife moved the Santa Barbara, California to be closer to their daughter.

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Hulbert Observatory, Cranbrook Institute of Science

This six-inch refracting Fecker telescope was constructed in 1928. It was installed at the Institute and fitted with a variable clock drive designed by Robert R. McMath. The observatory dome is fitted with a windowed Lanphier shutter permitting observations in comfort throughout the year. The observatory is open for public observation on a regular basis.

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Sherzer Hall located on the campus of Eastern Michigan University and its observatory was always a pleasure to visit. When you walked into this building it felt like you were being transported back in time. I will always cherish the time I spent using this magnificent observatory with its vintage 10 inch telescope complete with hand crafted wooden dome. Norbert and I often had many discussions while sitting in the transit room located just off the main observatory dome. Shezer Hall and its observatory was destroyed by a fire that took place on March 9, 1989. Click here if you wish to learn more about the Sherzer Observatory fire and its re-birth from the ashes.

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This photograph taken by Norbert Vance shows me at the business end of the Mellish 10 inch refracting telescope. On this night, we were using the telescope to align the optics and flip mirror assembly of my photoelectric photometer.

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Norbert with his Celestron 11

I met Norbert back in the early 80's and we have been friends ever since. You never have to bring star charts with you while he is around. He knows the sky better than anyone I know. This guy is a walking star chart and a great friend.

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Saturn occultation, July 3, 1989. These two photographs were taken by Norbert Vance during a trip to Fish Lake. Norb and I were using a photometer to measure the star light from 28 Sagittarius as it was occulted by the planet Saturn. This was the first time we used a voltage to frequency converter to sample the photometers output which was recorded to cassette tape.

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My Friend Emery Erdelyi

I took this photograph of Emery during one of many nights we spent working on the computer drive electronics for my Celestron 11 telescope. I met Emery through my good friend Norbert Vance back in the early 80's. This guy is an electronics genius, and has worked on numerous projects which have flown on the Space Shuttle. Emery is one of the best friends a person could ever ask for.

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Me at the Mount Palomar Observatory

Photograph taken by Emery Erdelyi during a recent visit to the Observatory in the spring of 2000. As you can see from the photograph, the weather was beautiful the day of our visit. I would love to have this scope in my backyard!

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Clay Kessler (November 10, 2001)

A recent photograph of my friend Clay Kessler taken during a visit we made to his new property in Manchester, MI. Clay is planning to build his new observatory on this site in the spring of 2002. During this observing session, Clay took some gorgeous photographs of the North American Nebula ( NGC 7000) and Comet Linear (2000 WM1). Clay is an accomplished astrophotographer. If you are interested in viewing some of his work, visit his web site at

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Me with Norbert's Telescope

This picture above was taken by Norbert Vance on March 30th. 2002 during a visit to Clay Kessler's property in Manchester. Clay, Norbert and I managed to take several great images of the comet Ikeya-Zhang (2002C1) even with the light clouds that are visible in the photograph. I am looking through Norbert's Celestron 8 at the Great Nebula in Orion.

George Korody and Tony Licata

This picture was taken during a recent star party at Clay Kessler's. Tony is standing next to his beautiful Vixen reflector mounted on a new Losmandy G11 mount. George recently constructed a very nice domed observatory which houses a C14 mounted on a Paramount ME.