I grew up in Kirkwood, Missouri, a suburb of St. Louis. For the last 25 years I have worked for Synopsys, a company that makes Computer Aided Design (CAD) software for integrated circuit design. I became interested in Astronomy when my son had an astronomy project in junior high school. He had to check out a telescope and find various deep sky objects. I hooked him up with the local astronomy club and we went to one of their star parties so he could do his project. We enjoyed it so much we bought a Celestron CPC 1100 and started going to the local star parties. One day someone showed me how to take pictures with my telescope, and the rest, as they say, is history. My work has been featured in Astronomy Magazine, APOD, and at the Royal Observatory in Greenwich. I received the second place award in the Galaxy category in the Astronomy Photographer of the Year contest in 2017.
Gregg Ruppel lived in St. Louis for most of his life, but relocated to Tucson in 2017. He worked as the Director of the Pulmonary Function Laboratory at St. Louis University Hospital for 34 years and retired in 2013. Gregg has been interested in astronomy since the early sixties and owns several telescopes. He began imaging in 1997 when he built a CB245 CCD camera and now uses the SBIG STL11000M. Gregg has been capturing his images at DSNM since 2016. Gregg is also a member of the Eureka Observers Club, the St. Louis Astronomical Society, Astronomical Society of Eastern Missouri (ASEM), and the Tucson Amateur Astronomy Association (TAAA)
I’ve been interested in amateur astronomy since I was in elementary school. Having lived only in big cities, however, severely curtailed my astronomy ventures to the occasional stargazing trips to barely dark sites (Bortle 5-6). Recent advances in sensors, fast optics, and narrowband filters had allowed me to attempt imaging in my Bortle 9 backyard in New York City. The results were encouraging, but I could only image for several hours every month between the constraints of time, work commitment, weather, and moon phases. Setup and tear-down of the imaging equipment took as much time as I could gather photons during every session.
DSNM not only provides access to the darkest skies but also the convenience of a permanent setup, ready to go on moment’s notice. Imaging sessions can be planned remotely during the bus commute (through my smartphone!), and I enjoyed more imaging time the first month there than in my previous year at home. My equipment gets used every clear, moonless night as opposed to spending most of its time in the house. I’m still very much a novice in image processing but DSNM makes data collection fun and easy.
Dan Crowson is the head of IT for a national telecommunications equipment reseller headquartered in Chesterfield, Missouri. Dan’s interest in astronomy started with a Tasco that he can’t ever remember seeing anything through. After a long hiatus, he took a couple of college classes on astronomy and purchased a telescope in 2011. After not being able to see much because of light pollution, he started taking images. Dan currently heads up the Imaging SIG for the Astronomical Society of Eastern Missouri and has over 160 images published. “Dark Sky New Mexico is the premier astronomy site for astronomers with or without a budget. You can’t beat the value or the skies,” he says.
Rex Groves is a scientific consultant for private industry and the Federal Government. Rex’s interest in astronomy started very young with a 60mm refractor where he spent many nights chasing Messier objects. After acquiring physics degrees and working at General Electric for some time, he moved to consulting and bought a Meade 12” Schmitt Cassegrain and then acquired a 6” Takahashi refractor. He then discovered a love of imaging and built his first CCD camera. He now shares a 20” Planewave iDK with fellow DSNM member Al Acker and enjoys the dark skies of Animas, NM. He mentions, “You can’t place a value on these dark, dry skies,”.
Dean Glace is an astronomer from Summerville, South Carolina. Mr. Glace has been interested in Astronomy for over 20 years and Astrophotography for 10 years. He has been a strong supporter of the Astronomy Programs at Appalachian State University (Boone, North Carolina), donating a scope to their observatory. He received his Masters degree in Electronics Engineering from North Carolina State University and spent nearly 30 years in the United States Navy, retiring with the rank of Captain. His last Navy assignment was updating the Trident Submarine Communications System.