The Authors

Vic & Jen Winter

“At a very young age I was permitted to stay up late and watch something amazing in the sky above,” Vic recalls. “A bright, shiny, star-like object passed overhead as twilight faded. I witnessed Sputnik and the start of space race. “A few years passed and I was still looking up. I thrilled watching man take his first steps on the moon on a tiny black-and-white television, then stepped outside and looked up at the real thing. The small telescope I owned at that time was the next best thing to being there.” Vic Winter was born in Kansas and has lived in the Midwest most of his adult life. He began his photographic career in the 1960s and won a photography award from the William Randolph Hearst Foundation when he was at Kansas State University in the 1970s. His career took him to Bartlesville, Okla., and eventually to The Kansas City Star. In 1980 he was honored as the National Press Photographers Association’s Photographer of the Year for the Midwest. Vic has been involved in amateur astronomy since the middle 1980s and has been president of the Astronomical Society of Kansas City as well as director of the society’s observatory. Vic also holds seven major observing awards from the Astronomical League and was voted regional amateur astronomer of the year in 1987.

Today, Vic and Jen own and operate, an educational astronomy website where visitors can look at their photographs and learn about the sky. The couple’s photographs have been published in magazines, books and on internet sites worldwide. They travel around the world capturing astronomical events such as total eclipses in Africa and southern hemisphere delights in Bolivia. They lead others on these expeditions through their travel company, Astronomical Tours.

In 1999 they founded the StarGarden Foundation, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of astronomy education in the Kansas City area. The two also are editors of The Reflector, the national quarterly publication of the Astronomical League.
Jen can be reached by email at
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Vic & Jen with a few of the telescopes they use to photograph the heavens.

Gary Lezak

Chief meteorologist at KSHB-TV, the NBC affiliate in Kansas City, Gary has been fascinated by weather phenomena for as long as he can remember. While Gary was growing up in southern California, his idol and inspiration was George Fishbeck, a weathercaster in Los Angeles. Knowing the weather was more exciting in other parts of the country, Gary enrolled at the University of Oklahoma, where he received a bachelor of science in meteorology in 1985. He began a broadcasting career that brought him to Kansas City in 1992.

Gary won the Kansas City Media Professionals award for Television Reporter-Sports/Weather in 1997 and 1998. He also won awards for best weather graphics and overall show at weather seminars in 1994, 1997, and 2001. He won the Missouri Broadcasters Association award for Best Weathercast in 2000. Gary has the American Meteorology Society seal of approval for television broadcasting. He takes his dogs, Windy and Stormy, to about 70 public appearances a year. There he helps students and adults learn how the weather works.

Although Gary’s favorite subjects are cloud types and precipitation, he spends most of the time on tornadoes and tornado safety. Windy and Stormy appear at the end of his presentations to perform for the audience. Gary also enjoys working out, participates in many sports activities and is an avid sports fan. First and foremost, however, is his hobby: Watching the weather.
He can be reached by email at

Gary with his dogs Stormy and Windy.