Astronomy became my first (serious) hobby in my life when I was about 11 or 12 years old, reading a small pocketbook about the solar system and the universe. This booklet (Zim, Baker: “Sterne: Einführung in die Astronomie”, 1956, Delphin Verlag) was a gift from my grandma because I had a flu. Few years later (1967), my parents gave me my first telescope, a 60 mm f/15 refractor on a german mount and a tripod. No motor, no “go-to”.... This scope made me happy and I loved exploring the night sky with this scope.
My first telescope in 1967:
a 60 mm f/15 refractor
The 110 mm APO refractor on CGEM mount (left), and the 8” Dobson (right)
Ultimately, my hobby became my profession and I worked as astrophysicist at ESA in the Netherlands from 1985 until my retirement at the end of 2013. My hobby became my job, and vice versa.
However, the average wavelength of the photons I dealt with during my professional life was about a million times shorter than the wavelength of optical photons. So, optical astronomy was “gone” for quite a long time. But, after many years of “dormant backyard astronomy” I am now picking up my “old hobby”, stargazing in the night sky…..and taking pictures from time to time….
The following pages show a selection of images I obtained since 2011….. and they will expand with time….the MENU on top of each page will guide you….. Some background information is presented for each target, adapted from Wikipedia in most cases.
As the contents will expand in time, also my knowledge about digital astrophotography and image processing expanded with time. Some pages, eg. M42/Orion or M31 contain pictures which I obtained when I started my hobby, but also “better” images obtained later with improved equipment and better analysis techniques. I want to keep this “progress” rather than publishing the nicest pictures only.
Some images can also be found at https://www.astrobin.com/users/chris_w