Advanced Imaging Conference
2017 Hubble Award Recipient
Mike Rice

Mike is the well-known and highly regarded operator of one of the world's first and most preeminent remote observatory hosting services, New Mexico Skies.

Mike's interest in astrophotography bloomed at age 9 when he constructed his first 6-inch reflector telescope based on plans published by Scientific American magazine. When Comet West made its historic 1976 appearance, Mike chose it as his first astrophotographic subject. Mike built his first digital camera in 1994 and, within a year, placed it in a remote Alaskan observatory that was 50 miles from the nearest connection to the power grid and the closest access road. Controlled by UHF ham radio over a 120-mile link, this remote observatory gave early evidence of Mike's resolve and technical prowess in the face of overwhelmingly difficult odds.

Mike and his wife, Lynn, established New Mexico Skies Observatories in 1997 and, in so doing, gave birth to remote observatory hosting services. In 2001, they initiated their first remote project as a joint venture with Software Bisque. Known as the Student Telescope Network, it attracted over 1,000 student imager registrations. Today, Mew Mexico Skies hosts 60 remote, Internet controlled observatories- 12 located in South Australia with the balance high in the south-central Sacramento mountains, near Mayhill, New Mexico.

Mike has appeared at AIC several times over the years. He has selflessly shared his expertise in the mechanics, repair and maintenance of the complicated equipment and electronics we depend upon in multiple AIC workshops and general session presentations. Mike's willingness to help others is also well known across the community to those who have been faced with perplexing equipment problems or vexing observatory situations.