About Me

I'm an avid amateur astronomer and sometime amateur photographer living on the Big Island of Hawaii. This blog will primarily focus on my amateur astronomy though you can check out some of my photography over at www.twilightlandscapes.com.

I got in to astronomy as a kid at age 10 or so. I joined the local astronomy club, the San Diego Astronomy Association and quickly graduated from the usual "department store refractor" to a Celestron C4.5 newtonian which was a great starter scope. I eventually ground and polished an 8 inch mirror in a class the club ran on mirror making. I put it in to a simple sonotube style dobsonian which I built and used for many years. Later taking that scope with me to graduate school, though I eventually succumbed to aperture fever and bought a used 16 inch dob which I rebuilt as an Astrosystems TeleKit.

I also enjoy observing with refractors for their portability and ease of setup and use, especially now that getting observing time out under dark skies is harder to get. I've moved up from a small (80mm) grab and go refractor to my newest scope, a Stellarvue SVX152. It's not exactly small, but I've really enjoyed observing with this scope and it is currently what I use the most.

I've dabbled at times in astrophotography. You can see some results over on my photography site in the astrophotography section. However, I've never been able to devote the time to it to really do it well and when I spend my observing time imaging, I find that I miss eyepiece viewing. My dream is to have a semi-autonomous imaging telescope that I can set up and let it collect data while I do eyepiece observing, but I haven't gotten such a system going yet.

As I mentioned, I got in to astronomy as a kid and never really lost the bug. This was to such a degree that I studied the subject in college and later in graduate school, getting my PhD in Astrophysics. I now work as a Staff Astronomer at the W. M. Keck Observatory on the summit of Maunakea.

As a staff astronomer I work on observatory operations, software, and instrumentation. My recent work has focused on infrared instrumentation on large telescopes (e.g. the FMOS, MOIRCS, and MOSFIRE instruments), astronomical software such as data reduction pipelines, small robotic telescopes, and citizen science projects. My research interest is in studying how young stars interact with their parent molecular cloud.