I was fascinated by seeing the stars at a very early age. Even one of my very earliest memories is seeing the Pleiades in a star filled Winter sky. At the age of 6 my parents sended me to a Summercamp for very young children, and there, one of the boys brought a pair of small binoculars. At night we sneeked out of our tent and looked at a beautifull sky with the binoculars, we were both amazed in seeing so many more stars than we could see with the naked eye alone. Shortly after that camp, I constructed, with the helping hand of my father, a small telescope with a spectacle lens and a small magnifier. This improvised telescope showed the craters of the Moon and the moons of Jupiter. At the age of 11, I had become a regular observer, and aquired a 60 mm refractor secondhand. It was not a very good instrument, but I enjoyed the images it gave very much. I started to observe the Sun with it, as it also had a dark glass to be used as a solar filter. The filter cracked very soon, fortunately without any eye damage and I tried the projection method, that was a lot safer and it gave me the opportunity to make more precise drawings of the Sun and calculating the exact positions of sunspots was very interesting. Also in my teenage years, I acquired an other 60 mm refractor that gave much better images. Still later I became the owner of a 3 inch Polarex refractor, a fine instrument that I used for many years. I than had switched to solar photography, first using a plate camera and later a SLR camera was used. Than a very fine 4 inch refractor was bought secondhand. With this instrument I had the best photographic results ever.
Many years later, I acquired a 6 inch object glass. It actually was used in the periscope of a German U-boat during World War II. It became the heart of my 6 inch folded refractor. The lens proved to be of very high quality and it served me very well for a score of years.
In 1993 I started the construction of my main instrument, a 10 inch f/20 refractor. Due to its very long focal length, this telescope had to be folded, to complete this instrument I was busy for many months. In fact such a project is never completely finished, there is always something that can be improved.
Due to buildings and trees in my neighbours gardens, I can not use this telescope during the Winter months for Solar observing, but in Spring, Summer and Autumn, it gives me very fine and detailed images of the Sun. Seeing a large sunspot under good seeing conditions is still one of the most fascinating sights I had in Astronomy.
I started observing in H-alpha light in 1974, when Carson Inc. made the first narrowband filters available for the amateur astronomer. A couple of years ago I bought a Coronado ASP-60 filter to replace the worn out Carson filter. This filter does not require heating and also the coatings should last a lifetime. Early 2006 Mr. Wolfgang Lille announced a new priceworthy H-alpha system on his website. After some correspondence I ordered the system with a 10 cm aperture IR/AR prefilter to mount over de aperture of my 125 mm refractor. This system, known as H-alpha 20, performs very well, giving good resolution on the prominences and de disc as well.
Friends encouraged me to make a simple website. I will post any pictures that are worth publishing on these pages.
My dog is my most faithfull observing companion, so she deserves a place on my site.
Pitoeke, as always carefully watching.
Mail me !
Mail me !