About This Site
Astro-Physics in Observatory  
Interest in astronomy for the past few years has led me to take some 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  telescope (6" diameter) and an SBIG ST2000XM  CCD camera. The Losmandy G11 mount  that supports and points the telescope is autoguided with a Televue Pronto and 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!