Equipment + Influential
I first used predictions made
by Gordon E.Taylor (NAO) who published
events for amateurs in the BAA Handbook. The European
Asteroidal Occultation Network (EAON, R.
Boninsegna / E. Goffin) continued to supported my interest
with yearly predictions by post. Observations were made visually with
an 8" F/6 Newtonian magnification x48 + stopwatch and tape-recorder
to a time accuracy of 0.5 sec using the "TIM" speaking clock.
Most reports were negative - nothing seen. We are attempting to observe
an asteroid passing in front of a star. We see the star disappear
for a few seconds. This is recorded.
In 1990 I built a Philips low-light video camera kit helped by Andrew
J. Elliott (Assistant Director of the BAA Asteroid and Remote
Planets Section 1990-2010).
The camera was mounted a-focally to a 2nd generation Micro Channel
Plate (MCP) image intensifier in a DIY housing and used on my 8"
F/6 Newtonian. The MCP was advertised for sale (possibly failed
military spec) and three were bought in 1991 (at £250 each).
One for the writer, Andrew Elliott and Denis Buczynski. The Philips
camera and MCP were replaced in 2005 with a WAT 120N+. Recordings
were being made on VHS tape with a Mitsubishi TDG (Time-Date-Overlay)
up to 2001. But this had the Millennium date bug so a VOLTEC TDG was
purchased from MAPLIN. Both time overlay units were manually sychronised
to UT by reference to an MSF
LED pulse which was recorded at the start and end of the observation.
This method of timing continued up to March-2010, when i bought a
GPS time unit (GPSBOXSPRITE2)
My first observed occultation
was (130) Elektra on 2010-Feb-20 using a Meade
LXD55 SN8,WAT 120N+ camera and SONY
digital tape recorder. Soon after I acquired
the Blackboxcamera GPSBOXSPRITE gps time-text-overlay which replaced
the manual sync VOLTEC unit. Then in
2014 I purchased the more sensitive WAT-910HX/RC
with recording to my now old SONY camcorder which could uploaded the
recordings to PC via fire-wire on my Windows 7 Novatech laptop.
I now use W10pro and a QHY174mGPS
USB3 CMOS camera, controlled by SharpCap software. The instrument
is a C11 at F/6 or 30cm at F/4.