Bob Stephens family was in the Air Force, moving every couple of years as the family was stationed around the U.S. and the world. They settled in Riverside when Bob was 15 years old. Even before then, Bob had developed an interest in photography and still has pictures he took in Montana, Guam, Hong Kong, Japan and Taiwan.
Bob graduated from Cal Poly Pomona, and later got an MBA at California State University, San Bernardino. After working several years for a local accounting firm, Bob co-founded Fox & Stephens, CPAs in 1988.
While pursuing his career as a Certified Public Accountant, Bob was heavily involved in amateur astronomy, joining the Riverside Astronomical Society in 1974. He later been active in asteroid research after attending a conference in Flagstaff, AZ. Establishing a connection with several prominent astronomers working in the field, Bob co-founded a research corporation which receives grants from NASA and the National Science Foundation to study asteroids. Since then Bob has determined over 1,000 asteroid rotational periods and has published or co-published almost 300 research papers, articles and announcements, being lead author on 170 of them.
As part of this effort, Bob founded a nonprofit research organization called the Center for Solar System Studies (CS3). It houses nine observatories and 15 robotic telescopes in Landers, 20 miles north of Joshua Tree National Park. The group discovered or co-discovered about 130 binary asteroids. NASA wrote a profile about Bob’s asteroid work.
Asteroid (39890) Bobstephens was named by the International Astronomical Union in honor of his work. In 2009, the American Astronomical Society awarded Bob the Chambliss Award for Amateur Achievement. In 2013, Bob received a Shoemaker Grant from the Planetary Society in support of the work at CS3. The Planetary Society produced a video about Bob’s asteroid studies.
In addition to his research on solar system objects, he likes to travel around the world to see solar eclipses. Bob has seen 17 Total Solar Eclipses, 3 Annular Solar Eclipses, 6 Partial Solar Eclipses, and 17 Total Lunar Eclipses.
Over the past 50+ years, Bob has been involved in photography, learning how to develop B&W and color negatives and prints. In the early 2000’s he moved exclusively to digital, bringing his astronomical skills to processing images in Photoshop, Lightroom and many other programs. On September 10, 2020, Bob’s image of a Near-Earth asteroid was rated as “Highly Commended” in the Planets, Comets and Asteroids category in the Insight Investment Astronomy Photographer of the Year contest.
Bob Stephens’ Wikipedia article can be found here.