We had a few cool space discussions lately on the forums.


I've been interested in space and stuff since forever, I'll have to ask my mum if she can remember what got me started on it, but I remember spending whole evenings drawing the planets and things when I was about 4.

I got a telescope when I was about 10, it was that cheap 60mm Tasco refractor - the type every science book and astronomer tells you do not buy. I knew that I went ahead and asked for it anyway, we had a good set of binoculars too 10x50mm, so I felt I had a nice range of instruments before being required to spend mega money. The obvious goal with the telescope were planets.

I got the telescope for Christmas, it was cloudy for a good few weeks which was really annoying as Saturn was racing toward the horizon with each passing day, by January it had cleared up, Saturn would be so low that I'd need to start hunting for it in early twilight. Within 20 minutes I had found it. It totally blew me away, I remember thinking it looked just like the double-star symbol in sky maps (a circle with a line through it).

Over the next couple of years I saw the bands across Jupiter, the phases of Venus lots of stuff on the Moon, and I even spotted the Andromeda galaxy through it. I tried hopelessly for M13 and several other objects. However that piece of crap telescope had kept my interest going, until I was older and had access to more cash.

I also independently discovered M45 with the binoculars! A bit late, but not bad going for an 11 year old. 8-)

By the age of 14 I brought a tripod for the camera we had here and I had started experimenting. The first image I took was of Venus (or may be the Moon?) was in early 1996, I believe I then got my TAL 2M (which is what I have now) later then year or early next (it was definitely after Hyakutake). Then of course Hale-Bopp came around in 1997.

By 1999ish things had fizzled out, getting up at like 7 in the morning for work had drained my abilities for staying up all night. I still get the telescope out for things now, but it's pretty rare. It'll be going out the next clear night for Mars however.

My astronomy site is still up and running, and I do still get a quite a few questions from people. I still go out now and then, the Persieds this year were great.

Just the other day I was thinking, why not restart the astrophotography side up again - I'm up all night anyway now, cameras are much better and digital has taken over, I'd need a lot of cash for a new camera, then I'd probably need some filters to help deal with the light pollution, I had enough problems with orange pictures 8 years ago, let alone nowadays. But why not.

Anyway - the forums, interesting how they went. Djdamondo and Nick ended up donating $10 each to the fund, even when there wasn't a fund, wow thanks guys. So here I am announcing the official start of the get me a new camera fund, here's where you can donate! The camera I'm after is either the Canon 300D, 350D or 20D. The 20D is the best out of the lot, but it's also the most expensive, eeep.

I've been looking at setting up a gallery for some of my old photos, but have still not got around to doing it, some are up on the forums, some are on the blog. Hopefully that's something I'll get sorted at some point in the not to distant future.