Kevin's Story
Home
Kevin's story
Images
Spectroscopy
The Equipment
The Observatory
Remote Sites
Books
Web Links

Kevin's Astronomy Story:

Well I was bitten by the astronomy bug in 1986 when Halley's comet was big news.  I bought a $50.00 refractor (glass lens) telescope at a department store hoping to see the comet of a lifetime.  This telescope was the shakiest piece of junk, but I did manage to see Halley's comet.  It looked like a fuzzy cotton ball that was surrounded by stars.  But then I started playing around and pointed it at the planets. I could see the cloud bands on Jupiter, and the rings of Saturn.  Even though I had a poor image, I could still tell that they were planets.

Then I picked up The Peterson Field Guide to the Stars and Planets, a book on astronomy at the bookstore (when you really went to a bookstore).  It was packed full of photos, star charts, loads of information, and last but not least telescope makers.  Real telescopes, not department store junk.  It listed telescopes that had mirrors, great for looking at objects like galaxies and nebulas.  The Newtonian reflector style telescope with a ten inch diameter mirror was under $300.00.  I thought if I get bored with this I'm not out thousands of dollars.  So I went for it and I still have it today.  Now over the last thirty-eight years I have aquired quality astronomy equipment to explore the many areas of astronomy.  Most of all, I have spent hundreds of hours looking at and imaging the night sky, all because of one comet and one book.

With computers, digital imagery, and robotic telescope mounts for astronomy being reachable in price.  Highly detailed digital images can be obtained with a telescope by amateur astronomers today.  So I made the jump to digital astronomy many years ago and have enjoyed the capability to image galaxies million of light years away and I also have the capability to collect scientific data.  This is a great time for amateur astronomy.  I shared my telescopes and knowledge of the night sky with thousands of people for nine years up on Palomar Mountain, California.  As part of a United States Forest Service program called Explore the Stars , amateur astronomers like myself setup our telescopes and share the wonders of the night sky with campers and visitors.  But there are Star Parties all over the USA and other countries listed here: go-astronomy.com. You can also check to see if there is a local astronomy club in you area.

Since 2003 I've spent most of my time imaging from our driveway.  As of 2019, we sold our home in California. We were exploring New Mexico visiting friends in our 5th wheel travel trailer.  We have a small visual/science telescope and a solar telescope you can see at the bottom of the Equipment Page.  Having a clear dark night has always been a treat for us.  After spending four years being full-time Rv'ers, we found our dream property, under dark skies in southwest New Mexico.  The dream observatory that we always wanted to build in Valley Center will happen on our new property.  As we build the observatory, we will update the Observatory Page to share the progress.  The day we are looking forward to is having our 20-inch Obsession telescope out under a new moon night at 6,600 feet.

An Astronomy theme for a website can be a great way to share the hobby and hopefully create more interest in the hobby of amateur astronomy.  For me personally, astronomy has always kept me anchored. Learning the vastness of this universe and really how miniscule we all are in the scheme of things, makes one realize theres a more to life than just what is happening on this pale blue dot.

All the images in this site are Copyright 1999 to Infinity by Kevin Hearst.
Commercial use of these images without the prior written consent or knowledge of the author is strictly prohibited.