Introduction

Welcome to my video astronomy website. Along with electronics and software programming, music and astronomy have been my two lifetime passions. Originally established in 1996 when I was working at the Anglo-Australian Telescope at Siding Spring in NSW Australia, the main goal of these pages was to share my early exploits into astro-photography. However, it was the simplicity of obtaining astronomical images using economical video cameras with small to medium commercial grade telescopes that has been my main interest and wow..., hasn't technology changed since those days.

Starting my celestial adventure in 1971, I have enjoyed recreational astronomy for over 50 years and since boyhood, it has always been the planets of our local solar system that intrigued me most. 
In the early to mid 1980's I experimented with a bulky, early model Sony camcorder held up to the eyepiece of an 4.5 inch Newtonian. With it, I'd capture the Moon and brightest planets and by the early 1990's the benefits of "video photography" as a tool became more apparent with its ability to capture random moments of rock steady "seeing". It was the perfect tool for high magnification imaging of the planets.    

These days I do most of my observing and photography from a suburban backyard on the Fraser Coast in Queensland.
In the late 90's and early 2000's I did, for some time, occasionally use the 60cm (24-inch) and 1m (40-inch) Cassegrain telescopes at Siding Spring Observatory through project time applications. This was a great opportunity to experiment with video on large aperture instruments.

Based on successful sales internationally of my software LunaView 2000,  I decided in 2001, to established a "true" online optical supply business called Astronomy Online which (for my part) was later to evolve in 2003 as MyAstroShop (or AstroShop ). My Astro Shop Australia grew far beyond my initial expectations before I passed the baton on in 2019.
Through this business I proudly introduced and further developed the GSTAR-EX range of CCD and CMOS cameras specifically for use in astronomy along with supporting software and hardware components.
 

Siding Spring Observatory

Steve Massey at SSO 24 inch telescope in 1999

A piece of history - preparing for another experimental night of planetary imaging with the classic old Boller & Chivens 24 inch (60cm) Cassegrain telescope at Siding Spring in 1999.

Another visit to Siding Spring Observatory for a weeks observing in 2000

MSSSO 24 inch telescope in 2000 

The 24 inch telescope


The wonderful astronomers at Mount Stromlo approved my telescope time applications for several years as I experimented with pushing the limits of simple video technology in order to capture planetary detail using large aperture instruments. Here, my old beloved Toyota Camry parked in front of the historical 24 inch telescope dome at Siding Spring during a Jupiter and Saturn run in 2000.

40 inch telescope SSO in 2003

The classic 40 inch ( 1 metre) Boller & Chivens telescope on Siding Spring mountain in 2003.

The 40 inch telescope


Another piece of history, the classic old Boller & Chivens 40 inch (100 cm) Cassegrain telescope at Siding Spring in 2003 during the closest approach to Earth of the planet Mars. What a night that was and although being incredibly grateful to the lovely folk in Canberra for allowing me the telescope time, it came with some deal of pressure to deliver for the media at large. 

The old one metre SSO telescope

Boller & Chivens 40 inch Cassegrain

Steve Massey on the SSO 40 inch telescope in 2003

Getting familiar with the 40 inch telescope drive system back in the day. This was the largest aperture on which I had ever had an opportunity at using a video camera.
It was the crazy media frenzy time of Mars closest approach to Earth in 2003. 

Backyard Astronomy

Steve Massey's AS&T magazine Profile

The commercial grade 12 inch telescope I've used since 2009 seen here in this 2021 Australian Sky & Telescope magazine article as featured amateur astronomer in profile. 


Like most, I have a backyard set up but I never got around to building a dedicated observatory ( often to my regret) and simply have a level pad in the yard just a few metres from my shed. I run all my controls, video and USB cables from the telescope to the computer in the shed so I guess in that sense, it is an observatory of sorts. Nonetheless, I've spent literally thousands of hours here testing mounts, optics and developing cameras and software over the years. I've always liked demonstrating what is possible from commercial grade gear so that beginners can see the potential for themselves. Having owned innumerable telescopes of all shapes and designs, I pretty much settled with a 12 inch f/5 commercial grade Newtonian as my main instrument for lunar and planetary videography and have been using it since 2009. Depending on the target, using 2X and 5X tele-extender combined with the small foot print of a CMOS or CCD image sensor yields exciting close up views on a computer monitor. For wide-field deep-sky work using frame accumulation video cameras and long exposure still shot cameras I also use an excellent Vixen 130mm f/5 Newtonian with modified focuser.

For solar imaging I use a Synta 80mm f/5 achromat refractor with a Daystar Quark Prominence eyepiece filter. So that is pretty much what I've narrowed my gear down to. 

Articles and Media

My Books

Video Astronomy - Massey, Dobbins, Douglass - Sky Publishing Corp. (2 published editions)
The Night Sky - Steve Massey - New Holland Publishers 2003 (2 published editions)
Exploring the Moon - Steve Massey - New Holland Publishers 2004
How Does the Night Sky Work? - Steve Massey - Young Reed Publishers 2005 ( reprinted 2007 )
Atlas of the Southern Night Sky - Massey and Quirk 2007 ( 5 published editions )
Space, Stars & Planets - Massey ( Young Reed Publishers 2007 )
Deep Sky Video Astronomy - Massey & Quirk ( Springer 2009 )

You can see more about my published books here


Contributor to :

The Astronomy Encyclopedia - Philip's/Oxford
How to ID the Night Sky - Storm Dunlop 
Practical Astronomy - Storm Dunlop
Epic Moon - Sheehan & Dobbins
EL Big Bang - Alejandro Gangui
The Planetary Update - ( Springer Verlag ) 2007
MERCURY - Space Sciences Series - Balogh, Ksanfomality & von Steiger ( Springer )

Published Articles (Periodicals)

Luna-Cam - Sky & Space Magazine
Leader of the Opposition - Sky & Space Magazine
Meade ETX-70AT Review - Sky & Space Magazine
Return of the Giants - Sky & Space Magazine
I'm Your Venus - Aust Sky & Telescope
Challenge of Mercury - Aust Sky & Telescope 
Where's the Smoke? - Aust Sky & Telescope
Video Astronomy Part.1 - Australian Video Camera magazine -August 2005
Video Astronomy Part.2 - Australian Video Camera magazine -September 2005
Video Astronomy Part.3 - Australian Video Camera magazine -December 2005
Sky-Watcher PRO100 ED - Aust Sky & Telescope
Made In Russia - Aust Sky & Telescope
Majestic Saturn - Australian Sky & Telescope
Mercury's Exosphere - Possible source for Na ( A.Sprague & S.Massey )

Special Mentions, Reviews and Images

Visual Astronomy Under Dark Skies -Cooke Springer
Observing the Moon - G.North Cambridge
Backyard Astronomer Guide - Dickinson - Dyer
Hoshinavi Magazine (Japan)
AstroGuide annual (Japan)
AstroRapport (Norway)
Astronomi Magazine (Norway)
Sky & Space magazine
Sky & Telescope magazine
Night Sky magazine
Astronomy Now magazine
Australian Sky & Telescope magazine
Astronomy 2000
ALPO Newsletters
BAA Newsletter
Planetary Report (Planetary Society)
The Australian
Good Reading Magazine
Australian Video Camera
The Age
The Daily Telegraph
Sunday Telegraph
Manly Daily
The Advocate
The Mercury
Your Destiny Magazine
Adelaide Advertiser
Illawarra Mercury
Sunshine Coast Daily
The Independent
Observer
Fraser Coast Chronicle

Other Media & Interviews

2CH, 2GB, 2UE, 2NSB
Sport 927, 4LG FM 
Mix 104.9
ABC Adelaide
ABC Coast FM Gold Coast
ABC North Coast
ABC National
ABC Victoria
4BC Brisbane
ABC Newcastle
Coast FM Gold Coast
2AY Albury
Radio 3AW
NOW FM
4GY , 4CA FM 
1629AM, 5SE Adelaide
Byron Bay FM
WIN T.V , ABC National T.V, SBS News
7 News, NINE news

Software Developed for Astronomy

ASTRO-AVI (the prelude to GSTAR-EX capture)
SKY-IMAGE (first edition released in 1996)
LUNAVIEW 2000 (first edition released in 1996)
GSTAR-EX Capture (later refined with C.Wakeman)
ToupSky (input to its development based on GSTAR4)

     

© Copyright Steve Massey Astronomy since 1996

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