About me

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  1. © Copyright 2014 by Lieven Persoons

Visual observations

I am involved in astronomy since 1989. In the early days I was only interested in the theory but in 1996 I acquired my first telescope, a 20cm f/7 Newtonian on a Losmandy G11 mounth. With that instrument I did about 1100 visual observations. Most of these visual observatons were done in Nieuwerkerken-Aalst (Flanders/Belgium), Hour (Ardennes/Belgium) and in Puimichel (Provence/France). All these observations are publisched on the VVS DeepSkyLog website www.deepskylog.be and on the website from Andromeda-Aalst (Belgium) www.andromeda-site.tk . By 2006 I had observed all Messier objects and was awarded the "Golden Messier certificate" by the "Vereniging voor sterrenkunde (VVS) www.vvs.be "

By the end of 2009 I took my interest in astrophotography to another level and got myself equipment geared toward high resolution deep sky  astrophotography. This equipment consists of a TMB 152mm/f:8 apochromatic refractor on a 10micron GM2000 equatorial mount and an SBIG STL11000M CCD camera. Though it quickly became clear that due to the massive light pollution, bad weather and atmospheric conditions I was not able to get the results that I was hoping for.

First CCD ‘low resolution’ images

Remote astrophotography

Due to the massive light pollution at my observatory in Nieuwerkerken (about 500m from a major highway exit complex) it quickly became clear that observing fainter objects would become increasingly difficult and less and less meaningful. The only way to keep observing fainter objects was the purchase of a CCD camera. As I am also a professional photographer by day this also sparked my interest in astrophotography. I purchased a Starlight-xpress  MX716 camera as well as a new telescope; a 12" f/10 Meade LX200 Schmidt Cassegrain. I upgraded my mount  with “Peterson” components for better and precise performance.

When I was in Puimichel (France), I also made piggyback images with a Canon lens 70-200mm L f/2.8 in combination with a CCD camera Atik 16HR. This configuration was mounted on the Meade 12” telescope. With these instruments I imaged about 230 objects from my self built and in 2005 completed observatory in Nieuwerkerken, named “Patrick Mergan Observatory”. Patrick Mergan was a cousing of my and best friend. He was also a astrophotographer. Patrick passed away unexpectedly on 20 december 2009. His observations and astrophotograps are publisched on the VVS DeepSkyLog website www.deepskylog.be and on the website from Andromeda-Aalst (Belgium) www.andromeda-site.tk. Patrick wrote a lot of software including  some plug-ins for Astroart. Read more here.

“Patrick Mergan Observatory” Nieuwerkerken-Aalst (Belgium)

To do top level astrophotography a perfect sky is indispensable. Therefore I decided to build a new observatory in Southern France. This observatory is entirely operated remotely. Dome, mount, telescope, camera, all are operated from my home location in Belgium. My observatory is part of ROSA which stands for "Remote Observatory Southern Alpes" and is located in Verclause. This location is among the best in entire France (combination of perfectly dark skies, lots of clear nights and easily reachable by road). My observatory is named ‘PROPUS’ and is completed and entirely operational since March 2012.

Lieven @Puimichel - Provence France

©2012 Observatory ‘PROPUS’ - Verclause - France

Inside ‘PROPUS’ - TMB152 + 10micron + SBig11000