Observing at Skyhound



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Meet the Skyhound

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 of view...

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 tiny telescope.

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.

Greg in his back yard with the ancient Meade 6" Newtonian he's been dragging around with him since high school.