Taylor Jernigan

Taylor Jernigan


Web Page URL:  www.TaylorJernigan.com

Meade ETX 125 Maksutov

Area(s) of special interest:  Privatization of spaceflight and space tourism. I would also like to try my hand at astrophotography, and I enjoy taking my scope to public events where someone new may get interested in astronomy after looking through a telescope for the first time.

AAS:   Are you a seasoned amateur astronomer or just getting into the hobby?

TJ:  I'm a longtime space enthusiast, but I bought my first telescope just 4years ago.

AAS:    What was your first experience that attracted you to astronomy? 

TJ:  My interest in space in general began during the Skylab missions when they showed video of the astronauts floating around inside Skylab. My interest in astronomy really began when I had to teach a regular class in astronomy at Space Camp in Huntsville. My first good telescope experience was in Arizona while taking part in an Astronomical Adventures tour.

AAS.   Tell us a little about your family members; spouse? kids? siblings? significant other? 

TJ:  I am married to the former Mary-Aileen McLemore of Montgomery. We have two incredible sons.

AAS:  Can you tell us a little about your formal education? 

TJ:  Graduated from Huntsville High School, Huntsville, AL, and attended Huntingdon College, UAH, and graduated Auburn University in 1993.

AAS:  Do you have any pets? What kind?  How Many? 

TJ:  No pets yet.

AAS:   Where do you work? If you're retired, what was your occupation?   If you're still in school, have you chosen a career? 

TJ:  I have been a realtor for 8 1/2 years in Montgomery. I am the president of the Multiple Listing Service, and will be president of the Montgomery Area Association of Realtors in 2007.

AAS:   Besides astronomy, what other hobbies do you enjoy? 

TJ:  Masters swimming, birding, space tourism, hiking, travel, and lots of reading.

AAS:  What was your first or favorite car? 

TJ:  A pedal firetruck when I was 3.  Nothing I have had since then can compare.

AAS:   What was your first or most interesting job? 

TJ:  I worked for many years at Space Camp/Academy in Huntsville. I started as a counselor instructing a new team of children each week, but spent most of my time as the chief lecturer and instructor for the entire camp program. I taught space history, spacecraft systems, spacesuit systems, astronomy, crew systems, shuttle launch procedures, and others. I also worked for a year with Space Adventures, a company offering high-end space orientated travel adventures.  Space Adventures brokered the very first private trips to the space station via Russian Soyuz rockets, and they offer many other space related adventures.

AAS:   Tell us about your favorite vacation. 

TJ:  A 10 day trip to Arizona with my wife, that included a three-day hike of the Grand Canyon.

AAS:  Have you ever lived in some other part of the U.S. or another country?  Where?  When?  

TJ:  Grew-up on an Air Force base in Georgia, lived in England for 6 months when I was 11, but lived most of the rest of my life in Alabama.

AAS:  This is your space. Tell us anything else about yourself that you'd like to share.

TJ:  I am also a member of the Solar System Ambassador program for the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. I may be available for speaking events at your children's schools or your own civic organizations. You can find out more about the program at http://www2.jpl.nasa.gov/ambassador/index.html