Greg Crinklaw, the author of PC-Sky
and SkyTools, is an accomplished
astronomer, educator, and programmer. Greg became interested in astronomy
at an early age and spent many an evening scanning the skies with his tiny
Tasco refractor. He still recalls not knowing how to focus the instrument--he
once showed his grandfather an out of focus star that filled the field
Greg went on to bigger and better telescopes
and eventually pursued a BS in astronomy at San Diego State University.
Now properly prepared in the art of focusing, he went on to obtain master's
degrees in both astronomy and astrophysics. Always the observer rather
than the theoretician, his published works include studies of open star
clusters, eclipsing binary stars, and a study of interstellar calcium.
Greg eventually ended up working for NASA
on the Mars Observer project. He was responsible for developing the image
processing software used to view and analyze the images sent back by the
Mars Orbiter Camera. Mars Observer failed just as it reached the Red Planet,
but his work lived on in its replacement, Mars Global Surveyor.
As an avid enthusiast for both the night
sky and the science behind it, Greg taught introductory college astronomy
courses on a part time basis for nearly a decade. Always enthusiastic and
willing to share the wonders of the universe with anyone who will listen,
he tries to keep in mind that young boy who didn't know how to focus his
These days Greg and his family live in
the mountain village of Cloudcroft, New Mexico. He still has the 6-inch
reflector he bought in High School, but now does most of his observing with his
home-built 18-inch Obsession clone. Greg is an avid deep sky observer and
comet chaser. His years of experience observing comets lead to the article
Comet Chasing, which appeared in the April 2005 Sky &
Telescope. Greg is also an active member of the Alamogordo Astronomy
Club. So how do you describe Greg? Is he an amateur astronomer
or a professional? His preference? Skyhound.
You don't need a science degree to be a
skyhound yourself; all that is required is an enthusiasm for exploring
the night sky and a desire to understand what you are seeing.