About Me

 

I was born in Antwerp in 1951. I currently live in Turnhout, Belgium, a medium-size town about thirty kilometres East of Antwerp. I run a small company in the advertising business and I have done so for 25 years. I have been married to Karin for 20 years. We have two lovely children, and a bunch of animals.

Like most of us, I was bitten by the astronomy bug in my youth. It all began when I was about 10 years old and my father bought me a small telescope. When I looked through it at the moon, it was like heaven on earth! At the age of 15, I was working during vacations to collect the money for a 76 mm refractor. It was with this scope I made the first images of the moon, right behind the scope without any adapter ring. A few years later, in the late 1970's, I finally bought a C8 for more serious work. This was the beginning of my deep sky exploration. It was of course with film (Kodak 103a spectroscopic).

Due to a lot of work and other interests I neglected my astronomy in the early 1980's to 2000. However, since 2003 my interest for astrophotography came back and I bought a new set-up and now I'm even more passionate than ever.

  

I started with the Paramount ME with a C14 on top of it and the ST10XME from SBig. Although the optics were not perfect, I enjoyed to work with it for a few years and with good results. But the CCD sensors became larger and with this in mind, I exchanged the C14 for a 16 Hypergraph who was designed for this purpose. With this f/8 and f/3 system in one instrument, Im still working with during the rare clear and transparent nights here in Belgium. But I wanted to do better

I already know a few friends who were operating telescopes from a long distance remotely, and I always was of the opinion that this is not the right way to experience astronomy. But due the very bad weather and sky conditions at home, I was on the lookout for a dark place in France for a couple of years. I wanted the buy a second home, build an observatory there and make the trip to that place to photograph under almost perfect conditions. But after a while I threw away this idea because of the very high prices for the properties up there and also due to work and family commitments.

Especially for my astro-vacations to Southern-France I bought some transportable equipment (TMB152 mounted on a 10Micron GM2000QCI and a SBig STL1000). I visited France about five times a year with friends and during such a trip I met a French guy who owns a large property at an almost perfect spot in France. Alain, the landlord, suggested to me that I place a dome on his land. The idea of building a remote observatory was born. Together with Daniel Marquardt, a German friend with whom I already enjoyed a few astro-vacations in the past, we worked out the plans and the final decision of building two observatories side by side was made very soon after that. Six months passed by and after a lot of worries and hard labour, Im proud what we have accomplished and now Im glad that everything is working like planned. In August 2008 I made my first picture remotely and I was very thrilled to watch the first frames appearing on my screen at home. I can image now with much longer exposure time and go much deeper into space, a great experience!

 
 
With this good old C8, I made my first astro-pics thirty years ago.
 

 
My portable setup ready to use from my backyard in Turnhout.
 

 

 
Making evening-flats from Grandpre (France) while Daniel is watching.