I have been interested in astronomy for many years, but did not get my own telescope until 1992 when I bought an 8" LX200 telescope. I now have a 4" Astro-Physics refractor, an Orion 6" dob, and a12.5" Portaball.
We try to make astronomy a family activity. My son takes pride in locating objects himself, but he is not as interested as he used to be. My wife prefers unaided-eye observations of the constellations but has lately taken an interest in the AP refractor.
My family enjoys camping out, and I usually take a scope with us on our camping excursions. We regularly attend the nearby Twin Lakes Star Party in Kentucky, and have also made it to the much further away Winter Star Party and Nebraska Star Party.
I do most of my observing from my backyard. I am lucky in that there are few trees and direct lights. There is a street light in front of my house, but the 2-story building shields most of the glare. My best views are overhead and to the east and southeast. When its not too hazy I can see the Milky Way from my backyard. Some of my early astrophotos were taken from my backyard, but now I usually wait until I can go to a darker site.
Astronomical observing and photography are hobbies for me. I do not like using strict observing programs and prefer a more casual approach. In fact, I prefer to consider myself a recreational astronomer rather than an amateur. My other interests include gardening, fishing, computers, dancing, and model railroading.
I am a biochemist at the University of Alabama in Huntsville. My research interests are in the structural biology and thermodynamics of proteins, DNA, and DNA-protein complexes. You can visit my professional home page here.
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