Some facts about me

I am 58 years old and live in Buxtehude, Germany. Buxtehude is in the north of Germany , just 30 km (20 miles) southwest of Hamburg.

I am interested in astronomy since more than 40 years. In those days I lived in a small town in a rural area and was fascinated by the bright milky way and the twinkling stars in the clear winter nights. There were no astronomy lessons at my school. So I wanted an astronomy book for Christmas that I had seen at a local book shop. Luckily it was a very good book providing a excellent introduction and overview of many aspects of astronomy.

What wonder that I wished to look at all the stars and wonders of the night sky with my own eyes and, most of all, to see them enlarged. I bought a pair of 10 x 50 binoculars and was overwhelmed by the number of stars I could see when I pointed the binoculars to the milky way. What seemed to be a hazy patch seen with the unaided eye turned into a rich star cluster: h and c in Perseus. Other objects were disappointing. The moon was by far not as big as I hoped. But of course, I could see many, many more craters and other details on its surface. The Andromeda galaxy M31 was only a bright fuzzy patch and nothing the like I had seen on these wonderful pictures.

I needed bigger optics, a telescope with an equatorial mount! So I bought in a department store a newton telescope with a 114 mm (4.5") mirror and 900 mm focus length. But on the first cloud-free night I got down to earth. It was impossible to keep a star in the field of view at higher magnifications. The slightest wind gust shook the telescope unacceptably. The mount was much too shaky. I returned the telescope and knew that I wouldn't be satisfied with a cheap telescope.

Some years later when I was a student at the university I felt again that wish for a telescope. My inquiries to dealers who sold amateur telescopes revealed that reasonable telescope were much too expensive for me. So I bought again a telescope in a department store. This time it was a 60 mm (2.4") refractor on a altazimuth mount. The quality of the optics were important for me. I didn't want to invest too much money in the mount because I intended to use that refractor as a guide scope on a bigger scope (on a solid mount) some day later.

I still use this refractor. But it took 15 years for the bigger scope to come. In the meantime I built an equatorial mount for that refractor and don't use it as a guide scope but for watching the sun. Today I am a member of the astronomical workgroup at the adult education center in Buxtehude. Outside of Buxtehude we have a site where we erected some piers for our mounts. Usually I observe and take photos from that site.

Since 35 years I take photos of the night sky, nowadays supported by a good telescope on a very good mount, but I started with a camera on a tripod. I used 400 ASA consumer films then. Trials with 100 ASA films gave very poor results. I could hardly see more than those stars I could see with the unaided eye. The 400 ASA films could record more and fainter stars but most celestial (deep sky) objects still looked miserably. The exposure times were too short. Then I mounted the camera piggyback on the refractor. But the accuracy of the clock drive of the home-built equatorial mount for the refractor was far too low. And the clock drive was operated by 220 volts that limited the observing sites within a radius of the length of a power cord around my house where I suffered from urban light pollution.

When films with higher sensitivity and acceptable grain size were available I tried them. You can see examples on the pages "Astrophotography with a tripod" . With fast lenses, very sensitive films and a well tracking mount you get nice pictures. You can see some that I made with my current equipment on my "Astrophotography" pages.

Since 2003 I have the possibility to take pictures with a CCTV-camera. I take these pictures unguided from my backyard in the middle of the town. It is amazing what results can be obtained under such conditions. With a traditional SLR camera and chemical film it would be impossible to get such pictures under the same conditions. The pictures with the CCTV-camera can be found here. Sorry, but these pages are currently only in German. Over the years my skills and experience in capturing photons and image processing improved. Yet a transparent sky and good seeing are still essential for good results.

With growing experience grew the wish for better equipment to improve quality and efficiency. Meanwhile I own a modern GoTo Mount, a cooled CCD-camera and an observatory in my backyard. The results are continually presented on this website.

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