Sky-Watcher family member profile: Mike Geisel
Like many of us, Mike’s long interest in astronomy started when he was young.
“I first got interested in astronomy as a 12-year-old in 1969, probably influenced by the Apollo Moon landing. So, this year is my 50th anniversary as an amateur astronomer! I remember lying on the front garden path with a torch and a star chart I found in an atlas and learning the constellations. I joined the AAQ – Astronomical Association of Qld – as a teenager and got my first telescope at 14, A Tasco 4 1/2 inch equatorial reflector.”
“At that time there was a lot of interest in Transient Lunar Phenomenon (TLP) and I spent many hours monitoring the moon with red and blue filters. I eventually compiled a big lot of observations and sent them to the British Astronomical Association and was thrilled to get a personal letter back from Sir Patrick Moore thanking me. “
“I bought a second hand SLR when I was about 16 to try my hand at astrophotography but with very little success. This led to a lifelong interest in photography as well as astronomy culminating in 2014 when I achieved my professional accreditation with the Australian Institute of Professional Photographers.”
Although his participation in astronomy ebbed and flowed with family and work commitments in Warwick QLD, Mike’s interest in it stayed with him throughout his life. After retirement due to ill health, he and his wife built a 2.3m Sirius observatory in their backyard and joined the Southern Astronomical Society.
“Living in a country town, on good nights the seeing can be very good.”
Mike also upgraded to a Sky-Watcher EQ8 pro mount and a Sky-Watcher Esprit APO 150ED along with a Sky-Watcher Black Diamond 80ED as a guide scope.
“I just love this equipment. The image quality is superb and the EQ8 does a great job and is very solid.” Says Mike. “At times while I am sitting in the dome listening to music and watching the images come up on the computer, I look at the scope and mount and get an urge to hug or pat it or something like a pet! I know how lucky I am to have this gear.”
“At the moment I use a range of ZWO cameras, mainly a 1600 MM-C Pro and an electronic filter wheel as I love imaging nebulae and galaxies. I also use a ZWO 290 MC and 290 MM for planetary and Lunar imaging with Tele Vue Powermate eyepieces. I do both LRGB and Narrow Band imaging. I am constantly amazed by how the digital revolution has changed astrophotography for the better. I can get images with my amateur equipment from my backyard now that are as good as or better than the biggest professional telescopes in the world were getting when I started as a teenager. I still have books I bought in the 1960’s and 70’s with images in them that prove it!”
“I have a Sky-Watcher HEQ5 Pro and a Sky-Watcher Esprit APO 80ED that I use when I go to astrofests etc. My wife and I own some land in a dark sky area about 40 minutes’ drive from home. I am in the process of setting up an observatory out there that I will use on new moon weekends.
“I usually post my astro images to Facebook including my personal page and the SAS club page, Sky-Watcher Australia page and Astrophotography/amateur astronomy group where I have had comments from all over the world, including a request to share some of my images from a professional observatory in Europe. I was very excited to have an image published in the readers photos section of Australian Sky and Telescope and have two images in this year’s Sky Watcher Australia catalogue. I hope I will have many more years of astrophotography ahead of me and while the last few years have been a challenge and a very steep learning curve I am happy with my progress and with the excellent gear I have, I hope to keep improving.”
Thanks Mike for sharing your story!