About This Site
Interest in astronomy for the past few years has led me to take
images of the night sky. Most of the images
here were taken from my back yard in Standish, Maine with a telescope
and a digital camera thats made for
astrophotography. The equipment I am using
currently is an Astro-Physics
Starfire 152 refractor
diameter) and an SBIG ST2000XM CCD camera.
The Losmandy G11
mount that supports and points the telescope is autoguided
with a Televue Pronto
an SBIG ST5C camera.
The telescope is
mounted in a roll-off roof observatory that is also equiped with a PC
to control where the scope is pointed, run the cameras, and
adjust the focus.
In addition to taking images, the telescope provides outstanding views
of the planets, galaxies, clusters, nebula, the moon, whatever
it's pointed at. A set of TeleVue Nagler eyepieces provide
a broad range of magnification levels and vields of view to match the
desired target. Magnification starts at
37X with a 35mm eyepiece and ranges up as high as the sky will allow,
typicaly to 260X, occasionaly to 400X and on rare occasion 520X has
worked well. Jupiter is magnificent at 250X.
As it turns out, space
pictures are a lot harder to take than I expected. It
seems that most of my time spent has been learning the process of
making astrophotos and then learning how to improve it. The
telescope has to be able to track it's target perfectly for long
periods of time and achieve a very sharp focus; both of these represent
numerous challenges. Of course having a clear sky is helpful but
not required as at least 1/3 of astronomy time is spent processing raw
images on a computer somewhere, usualy on poor sky nights.
The observatory PC provides Internet access for audio
conversations using NetMeeting and VNC for remote desktop viewing
and/or control. The VNC connection allows a remote user to see
the telescope being pointed via a sky mapping program and see cameras
acquiring astro images. The Virtual Online Observatory is
online! Contact me
to try it out, or about an Actual Visit to the Observatory.
In the mean time, I hope enjoy viewing
the images on this website!