David's Astronomy Pages
Welcome to my Astronomy Pages.
|I've been interested in stars and planets since I was about 9 or 10 years old. I particularly remember a couple of events - staying up to watch the television coverage of the Moon Landings and being given a small 2" telescope scope for a birthday present. Although the scope was rather limited in what it could see, and had no mechanism to track across the sky, it left with me a desire to one day get myself a proper telescope. Many years later (1995 in fact) I finally got that "proper" telescope - a Meade 8" LX200 telescope, later upgraded to a Meade 12" LX200 telescope in 2009.
Initially I used the telescope by placing it on its tripod and equatorial wedge. Setting up the telescope at night and putting it away was quite a chore. In order to considerably ease the task of getting ready to observe and to develop the hobby further I constructed a roll-off roof shed observatory in 1998 (called Hilltop Observatory) in which to house the telescope on a permanent pier. I say permanent but the observatory shed and pier (but not the concrete pier base) are both removable should I need to move house at some future date. This was tested in 2000 when I moved to Dorset, England (Kingcup Observatory), and again in 2003/4 when I returned to Scotland (Clair Observatory)
The design and construction of the observatory
are documented in this web site as an encouragement and practical aid for
other telescope users.
I use my telescope to observe a variety of lunar, planetary, cometary, stellar and deep-sky objects and use my telescope in conjunction with a number of telescope accessories. I also like to take note of and observe any atmospheric phenomenon which are about. Most of my observations are recorded using paper and pencil. However I have a few photos which I've taken which appear on my Images page.
My observing site from 1995 to March 2000 lay in my back garden in a village in NE Scotland. The site suffered a moderate, but not overwhelming amount of light pollution. Light pollution was worst when clouds or haze are about, but I normally only observed when skies were completely clear - unfortunately that wasn't very often.
My new observing site (from September 2000) lies in my back garden of our new home which is at the edge of a town in Dorset, England. The site suffers quite a bit of light pollution due to an overlooking street light and from lights pollution from nearby towns of Poole and Bournemouth. Seeing is typically fairly poor (4 to 5.5 arc secs FWHM).
I keep a 'hobby' diary which lists my main equipment purchases and observing highlights. My ambition has been/is to combine by interests of Astronomy and Computing (Future Steps), enter the world of CCD Imaging and at some stage make an astronomical discovery . I have acquired a ST-7e CCD camera in 2003 and begun CCD imaging. Camera was upgraded to a SBIG ST-10XME in 2009.
My links page has a selection of links to other astronomically related web sites.
I can be contacted by e-mail via link at bottom of this page should you have any comments about my Astronomy Pages or have any questions about how I went about constructing and setting up my shed observatory.
I have taken a number of Distance Learning Courses in Astronomy through the University of Central Lancashire; University Certificate in Astronomy (2000/2001), IT For Astronomy (2001/2002), Cosmology (2002/2003), Sun, Earth and Climate (2004/2005). (About Astronomy Distance Learning Courses)
Figure : Cumulative Observing Time with 8" & 12" LX200 Telescopes
showing key equipment purchases and software changes
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