“Astronomy compels the soul to look upwards and leads us from this world to another” – Plato
Ever since I can remember, I have been fascinated with the night sky, a place you can look and let your imagination run wild. My first memories of being interested in Astronomy go back to when I was 8 years old reading through the How and Why Wonder books on the Moon and Astronomy. I found the information in these books fascinating and was especially attracted to the stories about the Moon and the Moon landings and wondered what it would be like to be an astronaut walking on the Moon.
My first telescope was a 4 inch Newtonian reflector with a manually controlled equatorial mount. This was a good way to be introduced to operating a telescope with enough power to easily observe the brighter objects as well as some deep sky objects in good seeing conditions. One of the most memorable experiences is definitely seeing Saturn for the first time through a telescope. Even after having seen countless pictures in the media and in books, it is still an amazing experience to see it through the telescope and think, “hey, it really does have rings!”.
As happens to all amateur astronomers, once you start you are hooked for life. Soon I started playing with attaching a film camera to the telescope and was taking photos of the Moon and the brighter planets. Without any tracking I was limited to the brighter objects (Moon, Jupiter, Saturn and Mars) and short exposures. I did however manage to take some photos of an occultation of Jupiter by the Moon on film. Seeing the different amazing images that amateurs were publishing in the various astronomy magazines, my hunger for better equipment began.
Eventually I acquired a Meade LXD55 8-inch Schmidt Cassegrain (SCT) telescope with computer controlled mount. With today’s DSLR cameras and relatively cheap webcams and CCD cameras, some amazing planetary and deep sky astro photography is achievable. For a number of years I have concentrated on planetary imaging from my backyard, however more recently I have started playing with autoguiding and trying some deep sky imaging.
The purpose of this website is to share my astronomy experience and knowledge with anyone interested. The web site is still taking shape and evolving while I am still learning how to use the different web tools so hope you bear with me as I come up to speed…
Dark nights and clear skies…Jim Katsifolis.