Museum eclipse event highlighting Seymour natives


In celebration of the upcoming total solar eclipse, the Seymour Museum Center has announced Small Town Big Names.

The event will highlight the works of three Seymour natives: Mike Weasner, an amateur astronomer with a world following; Frank Kelley Edmondson, an Indiana University astronomer awarded the Meritorious Public Service Award from the National Science Foundation; and Forrest Willey, a local semiprofessional landscape and wildlife photographer based in the river bottoms of Jackson County who specializes in astrophotography

The works of Weasner and Edmondson and photos by Willey will be on display.

Weasner also will be at the museum to autograph his recently released autobiography, “Finding my Way to the Stars.”

The museum will be open from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. April 6 and Weasner will autograph his book from 2 to 4 p.m.

Weasner reports he is looking forward to celebrating the April 8 total solar eclipse in his hometown, where he saw his first solar eclipse in 1963. He will be a featured speaker on April 7 at Knights of Columbus for Seymour’s pre-eclipse festival.

About Weasner

Born and raised in Seymour, Weasner’s interest in astronomy was sparked by his brother in 1954. His interest grew further in 1961 when he received a telescope from his mother for Christmas. In December 1964, the Seymour Daily Tribune published some of Weasner’s total lunar eclipse photographs on the newspaper’s front page.

After graduating from Seymour High School in 1966, Weasner attended Indiana University in Bloomington and received his degree in astrophysics in 1970. He then did graduate level work for two years in meteorology at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, WI, where in 1972 he was commissioned a 2nd lieutenant in the United States Air Force. Following college, Mike attended USAF pilot training, earning his “wings” in December 1973. Mike served his country from 1974 to 1983 as an A-7D jet fighter pilot, jet fighter instructor pilot and manager on the Air Force Space Shuttle Program.

Over the course of the next 20 years, Weasner continued to serve his country at a southern California aerospace company. His roles over those years included working as a computer systems security engineer, computer systems manager, Computer Engineers Department manager, Apple Reseller Program manager and deputy training manager, supporting 20,000 employees.

Weasner retired in June 2007 after 23 years with the company. He and his wife Laurraine moved to Oracle, Arizona, in 2009, where they built their home and Mike’s astronomical observatory.

In 1996, Weasner resumed being an active amateur astronomer and created the very popular “Weasner’s Mighty ETX Site” telescope website (, which has a worldwide audience to this day.

Mike’s book, “Using the Meade ETX,” was published in 2002 by Springer-Verlag in their highly acclaimed Practical Astronomy series. In 2009, he started the “Cassiopeia Observatory” website ( with his ongoing observing reports, astrophotography and product reviews.

In 2014, Weasner managed the effort to have Oracle State Park designated as an “International Dark Sky Park” by the International Dark-Sky Association, becoming the first park in the Arizona State Parks system to receive the prestigious designation. International Dark Sky Parks are parks with reduced light pollution, offering optimal conditions for observing celestial objects. In 2015, Mike received a personal “Dark Sky Defender” award for his dark sky advocacy.

To showcase Mike’s dark sky preservation efforts, the Tucson PBS TV station produced a biographical story about Mike in 2017. The story was nominated for a 2018 Emmy Award. In 2019, Mike received the Indiana University Bicentennial Medal for his work in public outreach and science education. Due to popular demand, Mike published his autobiography, “Finding My Way to the Stars”, in 2021.

About Edmonson

Edmondson graduated from Shields High School in 1929. Witnessing an 80% solar eclipse in Bloomington in 1932 it left a lasting impression on Edmondson, an Indiana University student and aspiring astronomer at the time.

After going on to earn his PhD at Harvard, Edmondson returned to IU as a faculty member. He helped build IU’s astronomy department and brought international acclaim and prestige to IU through his teaching and achievements in the field of astronomy.

Edmondson was an internationally renowned astronomer at Indiana University, studying galactic kinematics and asteroids. He discovered and named a number of asteroids, helped establish the Kitt Peak National Observatory in Arizona and the Cerro Tolol Inter-American Observatory in Chile.

He also received the Medal of the Order of Merit from the Republic of Chile for his work and was awarded the Meritorious Public Service Award of the National Science Foundation. He also published a 370-page history of AURA, the Association of University for Research in Astronomy.

About Willey

Forrest Willey founded a photography firm, Cortland Astronomy, that specializes in astrophotography that incorporates elements of the landscape. He is a graduate of Purdue University and a foreman for NaturalScape Services, Inc. His images are available for purchase at

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