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Monthly Meeting April

April 12 @ 8:00 pm - 9:00 pm

With Rolf Wahl Olsen.

My talk will be about latest images and achievements in the last two years, including the first amateur image of light echoes of Supernova 1987A and a new collaboration with NASA on a multi-wavelength image of Centaurus A.

I have been interested in astronomy for as long as I can remember and have observed the night sky visually for decades with both binoculars and telescopes. In 1990 I got my first telescope, a 60mm alt-az refractor. A couple of years later I upgraded to a 100mm refractor on an equatorial mount and in 1995 I got a 10 inch f/5 Newtonian reflector. This telescope was used extensively for both planetary and deep sky observing and in 2003 I ventured into the world of astrophotography and began taking images with a long-exposure modified webcam. In 2011 I built a Serrurier truss 12.5 inch f/4 Newtonian and then upgraded the webcam to a highly sensitive QSI683wsg CCD camera which I now use to take all my images.

The modified webcam was a great opportunity to learn as it required me to really work on developing processing skills in order to achieve good results. It also forced me to think carefully about my choice of subjects, given the webcam’s limited resolution and low sensitivity. My later images taken with the CCD camera greatly benefited from these early lessons.

I enjoy photographing all astronomical subjects but perhaps my favourites are galaxies, especially peculiarly shaped ones or distant galaxy clusters, or those engaged in dramatic mergers such as the famous pair of Antennae galaxies. I enjoy taking images that are unusual, either being of a rarely imaged object, or perhaps a familiar object presented in a new way. Among my images you will find exotic objects like the circumstellar disc of Beta Pictoris, gravitational lenses, quasars, distant galaxy clusters and extragalactic globulars. I find that these obscure targets often have a very interesting story to tell.




April 12
8:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Event Category:


Bill Thomas


Stardome Observatory
670 Manukau Rd, Epsom
Auckland, 1345 New Zealand
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