a bit about me...

Halley's Comet
Halley's Comet
My First Astrophoto's

My interest in astronomy stems from my childhood, I was very interested in the Apollo program which I followed intensely. I only got actively involved with astronomy in 1985 with the return of Halley' Comet. As I was already very interested in photography, to the extent of processing my own photographs, I instinctively turned my camera to the sky. My first astrophoto's were of the comet, they were not much more than faint smudges on the negatives but they meant a lot to me, my very own bit of Halley's Comet!. I soon learned that you needed more elaborate equipment to take longer exposures in order to stop the stars trailing. So decided to build a motorised equatorial mount to photograph Halley's Comet after it had gone around the Sun. Unfortunately I was also soon to find out that, when ever there is something important happening in the heavens, it was sure to be cloudy. So I never used the mount to capture the comet again, but it was the start of a new adventure for me, as I continued to photograph fainter and fainter objects on film, even though I was only using a telephoto lens.

Nascom Computer
Nascom Computer

My interest in computing also goes back a number of years, and in 1979 I took the plunge and purchased a kit. (these were the days when you had to build one your self or needed large amounts of cash to buy one). It was a Nascom 2, it came with a massive 16k ram (WOW!) and boy what you could do with so much memory :-) This was the time when nothing was standard. If you wanted a program to do a certain function you wrote it your self. I even went as far as writing my own Operating System in FORTH with a disk operating system and video driver of my own, I even had a primitive form of windows back in 1981 !!! (That was before 'MS Windows' was thought of)
Nascom Computer
Inside the Nascom

As there were hardly any commercial programs available at the time I decided to put the Nascom in moth balls around 1983, only to get back into computing when the 486 machines came available, the Nascom would not start again, still, I would not have been able to run any programs on it any way. My computer now has 16GB ram instead of that original 16k with the Nascom !

                Electroplating Logo
Phoenix Electroplating

The first home pages I produced were for my company and my Astronomical Society in Manchester. This was one of the first Amateur Societies on the web in the UK. And the Phoenix Electroplating site was the industries first in the world.

The web sites continued to grow with addition of North West Group of Astronomical Societies. home page followed quickly by the Campaign for Dark Skies. (CfDS) site. Other sites added were Star Watch UK, National Astronomy Week 1996, William Lassell, Royal Astronomical Society and the latest, The Society for Popular Astronomy (SPA) with its magazine Popular Astronomy.

More recently I have reduced the number of sites I maintain as they were not all getting the attention they deserved. See the list of sites I currently maintain.

Michael Oates, MSc.
I really enjoy being able to combine my interests of astronomy and computing in this very constructive way. The World Wide Web is a great resource for astronomy, with NASA and JPL etc. having so many sites. Amateur astronomy on the web is growing rapidly with many societies now having home pages. It's a great feeling to think that I am in some way contributing to this expansion.

The X Clan

I play games as well, no, correction I play Quake, a fast action 3D game by ID software. It's a multiplayer game often played over the internet. My clan was "The X". I also make new levels for the game, see my Quake page for screen shots and to download the levels.

I have to correct this again, I used to play Quake, I don't have the time any more see below...

In Jan 2000 I turned my attention to discovering comets, I have found an incredible number of comets in SOHO images available on the internet. See my SOHO Comet Hunt page for details. So far I have discovered 144 comets! I could have found more, but I decided to spent 3 years studying for an MSc. which I obtained from UMIST (University of Manchester) in Dec 2004. This was in Environmental Management and Technology.

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Maintained by Michael Oates

Last modified 7 Sept, 2013