Mike Weasner has been an astronomer since he was introduced to the night sky at the age of six by an older brother. He received his first telescope, a 3" Newtonian Reflector in 1961 (which he still uses on occasion), and earned his B.S. in Astrophysics from Indiana University in 1970.
Mike Weasner on Arizona Illustrated
Weasner served in the United States Air Force as a jet fighter pilot, instructor pilot, and manager on the USAF Space Shuttle Program. He then rose up the management chain at a large aerospace company, eventually becoming the Deputy Director for Training. His high school and college professionals instilled a love for communicating knowledge to people, which further grew as an instructor pilot and then as an instructor at the aerospace company.
Mike Weasner got his second telescope, an ETX Astro (which he also still uses) in 1996 and created "Weasner's Mighty ETX Site". The Site was continually updated 1996-2013 and remains a popular web site for small telescope users.
Mike's book "Using the Meade ETX" was published in 2002 in the Springer Practical Astronomy Series.
In 2007 Mike retired from the aerospace company and he and his wife moved to Oracle, Arizona, in 2009, where he established Cassiopeia Observatory. Today the observatory is home to a 12" telescope which Mike uses for visual observing along with iPhone and DSLR astrophotography. In total, Mike has 10 telescopes that he uses at various times for observing and astrophotography.
Mike Weasner gives a talk about protecting yourself, protecting wildlife, and protecting our dark sky heritage.
Weasner's astronomy outreach efforts really began with his ETX web site in the 1990s and he continues to be active in outreach. His ongoing reports and product reviews on his Cassiopeia Observatory web site help many site visitors in their enjoyment of the night sky.
In early 2014 Mike formed the Oracle Dark Skies Committee to pursue the International Dark Sky Association's (IDA) "International Dark Sky Park" designation for Oracle State Park. The effort was successful and in late 2014 Oracle State Park became the first park in the Arizona State Parks system to receive the designation. Since then Mike has been active with the IDA and its mission to educate people about the effects of Light Pollution on our planet and its residents.
In 2015 he joined the IDA Dark Sky Places Committee, which reviews and approves "International Dark Sky Place" applications from all around the world, and in 2017 he became the Chair of the Dark Sky Places Committee.
Mike Weasner gave this talk about Smartphone Astrophotography on the Explore Alliance's "Explore Now" Lecture Series.
Mike frequently gives talks at Oracle State Park on protecting the night sky and doing simple astrophotography with smartphones and digital cameras. He supports his local elementary school with talks on astronomy, light pollution, and hosts visitors to his observatory. He also conducts a Model Rocketry Program at the school for 3rd to 8th grade students.
Mike has been interviewed by the New York Times and many other national, state, and local media outlets.
Awards and Recognition
Mike Weasner was honored in 2015 by the International Dark Sky Association as an IDA Dark Sky Defender. In 2019, he was the recipient of the Indiana University Bicentennial Medal for Astronomy Outreach.
Mike Weasner was interviewed on an episode of Arizona Illustrated, broadcast on PBS Television. The episode titled "A Universe of Images" was nominated for an Emmy Award in 2018.