About AstronomyMike

Welcome to my Southern Hemisphere astronomy blog.  I am based in a rural location  just north of Levin, New Zealand where the skies are nice and dark.

Although I have had a small (60mm) refractor for many years, I never knew where or how to find interesting objects in the sky, and it was put back in its box after the first couple of ‘observing’ sessions.

My interest in astronomy remained in the background for several years until Christmas 2008, when I received a gift voucher for a NZ electronics department store (Dick Smith Electronics).  Whilst looking for something to purchase with the voucher, I stumbled across a Celestron 127mm newtonian on an equatorial mount (non-motorized) and purchased it.  I still had no idea how to find objects with it though, and it wasn’t until I attended a star party (StarDate) in January 2009 that my eyes were opened to the wonders of the sky around us.  Fortunately for me, I also met the founder (Ron Fisher) of the Levin StarGazers club at that star party and joined the club.  It was through the Levin StarGazers that I started to really get involved in astronomy and was introduced to a number of astronomical groups and individuals.

Of course after looking through several large telescopes at StarDate, I knew that the 127mm Celestron was not quite going to ‘do it’ for me, so I purchased an Orion XT10i dobsonian (10-inch primary mirror) in March 2009.  In April I took part in the International Year of Astronomy (IYA) 2009 worldwide events with the Levin StarGazers, which we won the IYA2009 Public Outreach award for.

By May 2009, I was wanting to share the incredible sights that I was seeing through my telescope with as many people as I could, so I started learning about basic astrophotography and purchased my first ‘astro’ camera – a Philips SPC900NC (ToUcam III) webcam.  Shortly after, I also bought a Meade LPI (Lunar/Planetary Imager), but still preferred to use the Philips webcam.  I have since upgraded to a higher resolution Imaging Source DMK41AF02 astronomy camera and filter wheel, which is what I am currently using.  At some point I would like to get a DSLR so I can image some deep sky objects (such as nebulae and galaxies) instead of being limited to just the Moon and planets.

The Orion XT10i is still the telescope that I use, but I have now replaced the ‘push-to’ dobsonian mount and homemade EQ platform with a NEQ6 Pro Go-To mount, which allows me to get much better tracking and will also mean I can do deep sky imaging later on too.  My current astronomy setup is shown below.

My Astronomy Setup

My Astronomy Setup

I do hope that you will enjoy reading my blog and viewing some of my images.  The images are by no means perfect, but you have to start somewhere and I’m still learning new/improved techniques all the time.

Clear skies to all! – Mike White

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2 Responses to “About AstronomyMike”

  1. Hi, I am the space editor on beforeitsnews.com. Please email me if you would be interested in or more information on syndicating your posts. Great blog. thanks Neill

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