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
|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)|
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 !
|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
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
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.
Maintained by Michael Oates