Welcome to Barry's Online Astronomy Journal.
GREETINGS!!! ALLOW ME TO SAY A WORD OF THANKS TO NEIL HEACOCK FOR SETTING UP AND CONSTANTLY IMPROVING THIS GREAT WEBSITE! THROW AWAY YOUR PAPER OBSERVING LOGS. THIS IS THE ONLY WAY TO GO!!!!!
THANK YOU, NEIL!!!!
I am a retired finance manager/stock broker. I have 3 grown children, successful and happy, 3 step kids (triplets) who are 22, and an 12 yr old son who is interested in astronomy, but more interested in computers and video games.
My interests include amateur astronomy, photography, computers, history, paleontology, and I'm also a "car guy". My pride and joy [in addition to my family] is a 'screaming yellow' 2004 SVT Cobra Mustang..... V8 (forged pistons, rods, crank), dual overhead cams, supercharged, 6 speed, IRS, over-sized disc brakes, composite hood and trunk lid. It's a rocket!
I have been fascinated by astronomy and 'space' since childhood. I was given a copy of the book "The Conquest of Space" by Willy Ley for my 10th birthday......and a little 50mm refractor on a table top tripod. I read that book so often, it literally fell apart. Recently, my wife found a copy of it for me on ebay. My friends and I spent hours looking at the moon with that little refractor.
Years later, my then wife bought me [a gag Christmas gift] a little cardboard tube, 3" reflector for $15.00 from the Montgomery Ward catalog. The first night I was able to find Saturn....and was just blown away at how clear it was. I was hooked again!
That same year [probably 1970] I bought a 4 1/2" Tasco reflector on a equitorial mount, from the OMSI [Oregon Museum of Science and Industry] store. I spent many a night freezing in my back yard. With it, I got my first view of M31. It was only a dim fuzzy oval in my scope, but it was a galaxy.......something I had only read about in books. By the mid 70's, career and family responsibilities left little time for astronomy.
Now retired, In early 2006, after moving back to the Portland area from California, I got the bug again, and bought a 6" Orion Dob. That was a wonderful moon and planetary scope, and with it I took my first afocal photos....handholding a digital camera to the eyepiece. From there I went to a 10" and now a 12". Also acquiring along the way, my Celestron NexStar tracking scope.......and for a wider view (for imaging) a 80mm Orion short tube refractor. The best $100 I ever spent.
I am not much into the technical side of the hobby......I just enjoy looking and taking pictures of what I see. I belong to a local amateur astronomy club that meets twice a month. It is very laid back and all the members are friendly and eager to share what they know.
Astronomy magazine has a website with a "readers Forum" broken into various subjects. I spend some time almost every day in the "My astro photos" forum. It reminds me, every time I visit, why I am so fascinated by astro-photography. It is a difficult thing to put into words, but you only have to read the users and visiters comments to get a feeling of why it is so satisfying.
A user posted a rather poor photo of Saturn, but their comments were full of excitement, and a feeling of real accomplishment at being able to photograph what most people only see in books. I am sure everyone remembers their first view of Saturn.....it sticks with you.
I often hear the comment, "You can just get online and download great photos.....why take mediocre ones?". The answer is complicated, but basically it comes down to that feeling of real accomplishment mentioned above. It is doing something that is hard to do.......something that I never thought I could do.
Favorite Sky Object
I suppose the truth is, my favorite deep sky object is the one I am imaging at the moment.....although like almost everyone else, I am constantly drawn to M42. It is such a beautiful sight in the eyepiece of almost any t
Experience: 10+ Years
Astrophotography: Yes, I do take pictures through my telescope
Where I live
Comments about where I live
The Northwest is a wonderful place to live......moderate weather, lush and green, snow-capped mountains 50-60 miles in one direction and a rugged ocean coastline 70 miles in the other. Yes, it rains a bit, but in terms of annual rainfall, many places in the US get more. Unfortunately, we do have a large number of overcast skies, November through May.