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