Alexandria, VA

About Me - These pages are still here!

photo of Eliz opening domeI used to be 'Telescope Goddess' when I worked at Melton Memorial Observatory as an instructor. I was there for 9 years. I loved the job - the pay was terrible but I got to make my own hours and I was able to teach some, do a little research, and do some public outreach. But then I found something that I love more - 'Soldier Boy.' So I left Melton Observatory, Jeff Price Tennis, Ski, & Skate (I worked there part-time for almost 11 years!), and Columbia, SC, and moved to Alexandria, VA.

Now I'm ADASTRAgrl (For those who don't know Latin, 'Ad Astra' means 'to the stars' and the rest is abbreviated sortof - 'grl' = 'girl'). I'm now working  at the University of Maryland College Park. Part of my duties include working with the Deep Impact mission coordinating collaborations between Deep Impact and the amateur astronomy community (and working on the website!), running the campus Observatory, and coordinating the Service Learning Projects for sophomores in the College Park Scholars - Science, Discovery & the Universe Program. Eliz on balcony w/C8I love astronomy. For as long as I can remember, I have always liked to look at the stars. I got my first telescope - a Celestron 8" SCT- in late 1984. It's a very basic telescope that I use for observing and school programs. My second telescope is a Meade 8" SCT, but it has most of the bells and whistles. This is my astrophotography scope. I don't have the patience to do prime focus shots. I prefer wide-angle piggyback shots using either my 135mm or 400mm telephoto. Some recent gifts and purchases include an off-axis guider, a dew-zapper and hair dryer! Those last two are very important when trying to observe in humid South Carolina! or now in Virginia!! I also have an 80mm Orion Shorttube, which came in very handy while in Europe for the 11 August 1999 Total Solar Eclipse (it was clear in Dunapataj, Hungary!!).

For Christmas 1999, Soldier Boy and my parents got me a Nikon Coolscan III (LS-30) (film scanner). I've always been an organizer, but one of my greatest accomplishments is having neatly stored the negatives and slides I've taken since 1988 in binders. I have lots of astrophotos (tons of pics of the moon especially) but the only photos that got digitized were those that I was able to scan using equipment at USC when I was scanning in photos for the Midlands Astronomy Club as well. Now with my own scanner, I can go back and create a digital library of my photographs! Well, that was the plan! Five years later, I have not exactly scanned in any images -- too busy! Since then, Soldier Boy got a Canon D30 (and in late 2005 a Canon 20Da) digital camera which I've been using alot to also take some astrophotos. And when I do take film shots, I have it automatically scanned when the film gets processed.


So what gives me the right or background to talk about amateur astronomy or astrophotography? I am neither a professional astronomer nor photographer. But I have been interested in astronomy for as long as I can remember (over 25 years). I worked for over 9 years at Melton Observatory where I taught astronomy to beginner astronomy students and supervised those students who had the opportunity to use the Observatory telescopes for photographing the Sun, Moon, and planets. I integrated a SBIG ST-5 into the curriculum (see my Master's thesis). I was also a member and officer of the Midlands Astronomy Club, which has an Astrophotography Contest in which I participated regularly and won a number of times. I have taken photojournalism ('a photograph records the truth') and art photography ('how to manipulate film, subject, and printing to get an image of something that does not exist') courses. I worked at a camera store for a short while and as a fraternity/sorority party photographer.

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Last Updated:  Monday January 14, 2008 by Elizabeth Warner

© 1995 - 2008 Elizabeth M. Warner