I've been interested in astronomy every since I was a small child. It's my mum's fault - she used to go out for walks in the countryside with me and teach me things about the night sky. Like most people I think Orion is my favourite constellation, probably because in Winter it was visible before my bedtime.


On 8th June 2004 the 2nd planet in our Solar System: Venus made a transit of our Sun. I had taken the day off work and arranged to visit The @stronomy Centre to see the beginning of the transit at 06:13 but the clouds put paid to that idea. After an hour or so it looked like things were not going to improve enough to see anything much so I headed for home. Not long after getting home, the clouds all but disappeared so I decided to try and take my first ever astronomical photograph.

I used a cheap photographic tripod which cost me around £22, a cheap pair of Russian 10x50 binoculars that I bought in Cornwall for £40, an Olympus Camedia  C-350Zoom Digital Camera which cost about £160, a piece of white paper and a shoe-box with a hole cut out (to allow one objective lens see though while covering the other and allowing some shade for the piece of paper onto which the image of the sun was to be projected). I pointed the whole thing at the sun, fiddled with the focus of the binoculars and this is what I ended up with:

 

Not fantastic by the standards of some of the incredible pictures and videos out there but it's MINE and I'm impressed. This picture is about 17K, click on the image for the full size 720K version. You can just about see the tiny dot that is Venus in this picture. In the full size picture itís quite clear.

 


For my second ever astronomical photo I used the same cheap Olympus digital camera but this time I held it up, by hand, to the eyepiece of a friendís Meade Lx90 8Ē Telescope while looking at the moon. Iím quite impressed with the result of this too.

 

My favourite bit is that the clearly visible sea is the Mare Crisium: the Sea of Crises. I like that so much this picture is printed out on an A4 glossy and hangs behind my desk at work.