Join Donate

Share Your Story • James Stegeman • August 19, 2013

My Story Concerning Astronomy!

My Story Concerning Astronomy!

I was born and raised in Saint Louis, Missouri. As I was growing up I had the opportunity to witness the greatest exploration of space by mankind. I remember looking up in the sky in the driveway of our home with my dad and seeing the first man-made satellite (Sputnik) fly across the sky above our heads. I had the opportunity to witness the Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo US Manned spaceflights. It was a very exciting time period to live through. My father purchased my first telescope for me when I was around 10 years old. It was a 60 mm refractor telescope. I pointed the telescope at the moon and was awed by the view of the craters, mountains, valleys, and plains. I remember viewing the Pleiades Cluster and was taken back by what I saw through the lens. It was a spectacular wide-angle view of the multitude of stars within the cluster. I saw the Sun with the transit of Mercury crossing the face of the Sun's surface. I was hooked! From then on I became more and more interested in the study of astronomy and space exploration and because of the manned space race, I became heavily involved in model rocketry.

I built and launched several single and multiple stage rocket models which included familiar favorites such as the German V2, Black Brant, WAC-Corporal, Saturn 1B, and the future Space Shuttle replica. I built, experimented, and launched several of my own rocket designs. I launched rockets with engines of commercial design, including everything from solid propellant and liquid propellant engine designs. I was a member of the school rocket club for several years. After graduating high school, I got married and started a family. I studied astronomy in college but never pursued the subject as a career. My career went in a different direction instead in the scientific field of Crime Scene Forensics. As my children were growing up I spent quite a bit of time showing them the wonders that lie above our heads each night. Since I retired, I now have more time to devote to the passion I have in astronomy. I purchased several different size telescopes ranging from 80mm to 1829mm. I built my own observatory in my backyard and spend most clear nights viewing the sky. I developed a website and devoted it to the subject of astronomy, to share with others who have the same interest and passion in this field of study. I spend approximately 20+ nights a month visually observing, studying and researching everything from the Sun, Moon, planets, galaxies, nebulas, variable stars, exoplanets, comets, and asteroids. I have even started dabbling somewhat into the field of radio astronomy.

Comments & Sharing
astronaut on Phobos
Let's Change the World

Become a member of The Planetary Society and together we will create the future of space exploration.

Join Today

The Planetary Fund

Help advance robotic and human space exploration, defend our planet, and search for life.


You are here: