|Gary A. Becker, (left) StarWatch writer, loves the dark night sky as much as the bright city lights. Articles are written for mainly suburban audiences who also enjoy viewing the heavens. (right) "Not another picture, Gary," says Brandon Velivis, a former astronomy student volunteering at Chaco Culture National Historical Park in New Mexico. Photography by Lois Wolter, 2003...|
|Gary A. Becker, hiking on Mt. Bierstadt (14,065 feet) along the Front Range of the Colorado Rockies during the summer of 2012... (Insert) Bringing up the rear during one of the scarier parts of the hike, but NOT the scariest... Adam R. Jones photography...|
Gary A. Becker has had a lifelong passion for astronomy, photography, astrophotography, and sky watching. As an educator and director of the Allentown (PA) School District Planetarium for 38 years (retired 2010), and currently, Adjunct Professor of Astronomy at Moravian College in Bethlehem, PA (since 2010), Gary has taught astronomy from preschool to the graduate level under the electronic as well as the natural sky.
An ardent traveler, Gary has hosted tours to observe and photograph comets and eclipses and has taken urban students to the Southwest to view the heavens from some of the darkest areas in the United States. He and his pupils volunteered at Chaco Culture National Historical Park near Nageezi, NM between 1999 and 2001 and helped to staff the Chaco Observatory as a part of the Park’s Night Sky Initiative. Gary has also served as a Night Sky Interpreter at Bryce Canyon National Park in Utah. In 2012, he joined the Astronomy Team of the Mars Society which maintains and enhances the Elon Musk (Solar) Observatory and is currently involved with the construction of a fully robotic observatory at the Mars Desert Research Station near Hanksville, Utah. Moravian College Astronomy has a 25 percent buy-in to that facility’s usage.
Gary A. Becker’s half-century of interest in astronomy and his career as an educator have provided him with a natural avenue for writing and imaging. He has authored the book that his Moravian astronomy students use, founded and maintained the very visual website www.astronomy.org as an educational outreach for his pupils and the public, and has for 21 years been writing a homespun, but informative weekly column called StarWatch which is distributed to the Moravian community and appears in 25 newspapers nationwide.
Gary resides in Pennsylvania’s beautiful Lehigh Valley with his wife, Susan, a retired English teacher who also enjoys writing, and their three spunky rabbits, “crazy” Sagan, Sundance DeShea, and "little" Fynn.
It is safe to say that my original motivation to take pictures stemmed from my father who was an ardent Leica enthusiast. During my youth, photography provided me with a natural avenue to record the places and objects that I saw, as well as the night sky under which I observed. When I began to teach astronomy, I soon realized that my students were more motivated when I presented information and images gleaned from my own personal experiences. This motivational factor, which has only been enhanced by the digital revolution, has been a wonderful catalyst for me to continue my photography and to hone my images to the concepts about which I am teaching. Astronomy is truly a “beautiful science,” and what better way to express that, then through the photographic medium.
|Gary A. Becker, happy at the Mars Desert Research Station near Hanksville, Utah... 2013 image by Peter K. Detterline...|