My Spacelab in Space

About Me

This site is intended to display some of my photography work. By day, I’m a PhD mathematician. This is mainly stuff I do in my spare time. Most of the photos here will be astronomy-related though I will upload other stuff.

While I’ve always been interested in astronomy, I got into it in a big way in college where a friend of mine had a cheap department store telescope. In spite of the small size and poor quality, I was able to do quite a lot of observing with it. I bought my first telescope, a 12.5″ Dob, in the fall of 2002. While I did do a lot of visual observing with that scope, including completing AstroLeague’s Messier award and Herschel 400, I got into astrophotography almost right away. As I was a poor graduate student, I went with the lowest budget options I could. After getting some decent pics of the planets with a standard digital camera, I bought an equatorial platform for my Dob and found out that you could modify commercial webcams for long exposures. I then bought two cameras from SAC, a now-defunct company that sold pre-modified cameras. I owned the SAC 7, which wasn’t much more than a regular modified webcam, and the SAC 8.5, which was a low-budget version of a CCD camera.

My second telescope was an Orange tube Celestron C8. I soon replaced the German equatorial mount with a standard equatorial mount, the Celestron CG-5. Around this time, I had started my PhD at Washington University in St. Louis, and got access to the observatory during my first summer there. I continued to work as an observatory assistant for the rest of my time as a student there. I used the telescope in the dome there, a 150-year old Alvin Clark refractor, for some pictures. A few years in, I bought a Canon Rebel XT, my first Digital SLR. I bought a Stellarvue 80mm achromatic refractor. I tried autoguiding, but failed quite miserably, so for the next few years, I imaged with either the C8 or the Stellarvue.

After moving to Maryland and getting a job with steady income, I purchased a Canon T2I. It was a huge step-up from the Rebel XT and I still use it. My fourth telescope was a Celestron 9.25″ Edge HD. It’s probably the highest-quality scope I’ve owned. About 6 months later, I purchased an AstroTech 65mm apochromatic refractor. My most recent additions are some higher quality lenses for wide-field astrophotography: a Tokina 11mm-16mm, a Canon 50mm f1.4, and a Canon 200mm, f2.8.

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