I do not remember when I began to be fascinated with space. I assume it was some time in second grade (1984-85). In first grade, dinosaurs were my thing. That memory is very clear. I probably had watched a space shuttle launch and became hooked. My father isn't a big sci-fi fan, so that rules him out. I don't remember being excited watching any sci-fi TV shows. We didn't have any sort of cable programming that would've shown the Star Trek movies. There are a few things I do remember in this area of interest from before my teenager years. They would be the Challenger shuttle disaster I watched live in fourth grade, the movie Aliens, and the book Contact. Contact was a bit advanced for me; I remember not understanding a lot of the things being discussed. Without a doubt though, it fanned that flame of curiosity regarding space. Later as a teenager, I would throw an old blanket out in the back yard and stare at the stars. The occasional meteorite and satellite were prizes to behold. I began to wonder, "What is out there?"

Fast forward many years to a recent conversation with a co-worker. He was showing me pictures he was taking of the Milky Way's core. I was impressed at the images he captured, as well as how simple the process apparently was. Neither of us owned a telescope, but that soon changed. We dove into the realm of amateur astronomy; him more on the astrophotography side and me on the visual observation side. It didn't take very long at all for me to want to show friends and family what I was seeing. The ones who couldn't physically be there were missing out. The simplest solution was to take pictures through the eyepiece using my cell phone. As it turns out, that wasn't as cut and dry as I imagined! Not happy with those results, I purchased a planetary camera. This small attachment connects to the telescope instead of an eyepiece, and is used to observe the planets via a USB connected computer. You probably see where this is going; right into astrophotography.

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