Back­yard ob­ser­va­tory pas­sion

Daily Mercury - - NEWS -

AS­TRON­OMY has been a pas­sion of Nin­da­roo res­i­dent David Hat­field since he watched Apollo 11 land on the moon as a young boy.

Watch­ing Neil Arm­strong take that first step in­spired Mr Hat­field to buy his first tele­scope at age 14.

Now, Mr Hat­field has his very own ob­ser­va­tory in his back­yard so he can ob­serve the stars and plan­ets in more de­tail.

“I still re­mem­ber when I first looked at a star through my tele­scope when I was 14 and it turned out to be Saturn,” Mr Hat­field said.

“It was just co­in­ci­dence, but for me Saturn is still the pret­ti­est ob­ject in the sky.

“The rings make it some­thing spe­cial.”

Mr Hat­field pur­chased his ob­ser­va­tory in 2012 and said it is much more con­ve­nient than us­ing a nor­mal tele­scope.

“When you use a tele­scope you have to line it up with Earth’s axis and that can take over an hour just to line it up,” he said.

“With the ob­ser­va­tory, it can be out there al­ready lined up and away you go.”

Mr Hat­field’s ob­ser­va­tory stands out from the road and has peaked the in­ter­est of many who pass by.

“Peo­ple have left notes in our mail­box won­der­ing what it is,” he said.

A Mackay scout group has even had an ex­cur­sion to see the ob­ser­va­tory and learn more about as­tron­omy.

“I showed them a few ob­jects in the sky and how to use the equip­ment,” Mr Hat­field said.

“The moon, Saturn and Jupiter were out that night so they were pretty im­pressed.”

Mr Hat­field’s in­ter­est in as­tron­omy has grown over the years with tech­no­log­i­cal ad­vances.

“The cam­era qual­ity has im­proved so much, it makes look­ing into the sky a lot more ex­cit­ing ,” he said.

Although as­tron­omy is Mr Hat­field’s first pas­sion, his hob­bies also in­clude build­ing model aero­planes, build­ing his own tele­scopes, elec­tron­ics and drones.

Photo: Stu­art Quinn

Nin­da­roo res­i­dent David Hat­field’s pas­sion for as­tron­omy has seen him place an ob­ser­va­tory on his prop­erty.

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