Welcome to my web page!
This page gives an overview of my activities as an amateur astronomer, in the light polluted areas of Belgium, as on better locations.
I was born in and live in the area of the city of Aalst, resulting in the name of this page.
My interest in astronomy started when I was a young boy. My earliest memories are the Challenger disaster and the space probe Giotto passing Halley’s comet (1P/Halley) in 1986. My interest in space travel has diminished a bit through the years, but seeing a real launch is still on my bucket list. My interest within astronomy is much wider. I photograph and sketch, and it is my goal to observe as many objects as I can.
For me, stargazing is a way to relax, and knowing the photons that reach your retina or CCD have travelled milions of years, only to end up right there and then, is humbling.
To get the best views, I often travel to dark locations, combining my love for astronomy and nature.
Astrophotography is the process of making pictures of objects outside the atmosphere. A picture of the Moon qualifies as an astrophoto, but my interest lies beyond the Moon. Lightpollution is making this more and more impossible, as photons from space are being drowned by photons of poorly placed artificial light. This is why I rarely take pictures from home anymore, only bright objects (planets, clusters, bright galaxies,…) and ‘transients’ – objects that are restricted in time and/or place: Asteroids, comets,… and all of that through special filters to combat light pollution.
My setup needs to be transportable, and the weight of my equipment restricts my movements to what I can reach by car. Taking pictures on exotic locations is not really an option…
Sketching, however, can be done anywhere.. It shows a more realistic image of what views a telescope has to offer. Although a sketch is very personal and depends highly on the used equipment, digitalising, drawing skills, and your computer screen (wink), I will try to make my sketches as realistic as I possibly can.
I am hoping to show some of the evolutions of my progression in the hobby, what effect lightpollution has on observations, and to give a realistic image of what this fantastic hobby holds.
In this day and age, an amateur can get the same results from his back yard, as professional astronomers 50 years ago (!!)
Imagine what the future holds…