Author Archives: Lee Sproats


About the author

Lee Sproats

Dr. Lee Sproats has been interested in astronomy since watching Star Wars in 1977 and has appeared on the UK Sky at Night TV programme. He then went on to study Astronomy where he obtained a degree and then a PhD in the subject at University College London/Mullard Space Science Laboratory. He has worked in Australia in radio astronomy and used optical/infrared telescopes on Hawaii and La Palma and Lowell and Kitt Peak observatories in the USA. After working for the University of Surrey to promote the use of computers for teaching in UK higher education and then as an IT trainer for a stock market company, he went on to work for Greenwich Observatory Ltd where he ran their northern branch and then worked for David Hinds Ltd dealing with our and Celestron products. He is often involved in flight excursions that take passengers to observe the northern lights, has led trips to see the great USA 2017 eclipse near Hopkinsville and was lead astronomer onboard a specially chartered 737 to view the 2015 total solar eclipse at 38,000ft. Lee`s astronomical interests include Lunar observing, astrophotography, photometry and pro-am collaborations.

Since David Hinds stopped operation in December 2020, Dr. Sproats works for Baader Planetarium as our UK representative/consultant and is responsible for looking after our UK/Eire dealers, dealing with Baader Planetarium/PlaneWave/10Micron product support, writing articles and also is involved in our large telescope and observatory instrumentation projects.


  • Baader Planetarium at Space-Comm Expo UK

    Space-Comm Expo is an annual UK-based two-day exhibition held at the Farnborough International Conference Centre (the home of pioneering aviation history) where the space sector industry meets, networks and does business. In addition to the exhibition, there is a full conference programme of lectures given by world-class expert speakers. This year the event ran from Wednesday 7th to Thursday 8th September 2022 with over 150 exhibitors and Baader Planetarium were there for the event represented by our CEO Johannes Baader, sales engineer Linus Niekamp and our UK representative Dr Lee Sproats. Our booth showcased PlaneWave and 10Micron products, our Baader domes as well as our observatory installations, that can be used for a wide range of scientific applications that include space situational awareness (SSA), satellite...
  • Baader Planetarium at the National Astronomy Meeting 2022

    The University of Warwick hosted the Royal Astronomical Society National Astronomy Meeting (NAM) from Monday 11th July to Friday 15th July - this was the first main in-person attendance of a NAM since COVID hit a few years ago. Since the annoumcenent of the event, the organisers where overwhelmed by the positive response, with over 500 people registering to attend each day in-person. NAM2022 was also broadcast digitally to registered participants who were unable to physically attend which would allow as many people as possible to experience the conference and learn about the exciting astronomy and space science research currently being conducted. In addition to the UK’s astronomy community, the meeting also included the UK Solar Physics (UKSP), and the Magnetosphere Ionosphere and Solar-Terrestrial (MIST)...
  • Swapping between eyepieces: The useful Baader Q-Turret Four Eyepiece Revolver

    The planets Saturn, Mars, Venus and Jupiter are making an appearance in our morning sky making a lovely photogenic celestial lineup. About an hour before sunrise you can see the magnificent ringed gas-giant planet, and second largest planet in our Solar System, Saturn towards the south east with our red coloured neighbour Mars sitting below and to the east of it. Venus is next in line shining brightly at magnitude ~4.2 and is exhibiting a gibbous phase and very low near the eastern horizon is the largest planet Jupiter. These planets will make their way to being evening objects later in the year becoming better positioned where they will be observable for longer. Our Moon is easily seen throughout most of each month so its...
  • A Brief Overview of the Baader Tilter Family

    If you notice that the edges of your image(s) are not sharp then image tilt may be present in your system. Image tilt is caused when the sensor is not perpendicular to the light path. The cause(s) of image tilt can be many and can include flattener/corrector lenses, tilted focuser drawtube, extension adaptors, camera angle adjusters as well as inherent camera sensor tilt in the camera body itself. Being able to correct for this image plane tilt is important and essential to get perfect focused sharp star images across the field of view. Baader Planetarium currently offer three accessories - their "Tilter family" - that can help compensate for image plane tilt. Baader UFC-Tilter (#2459146 , € 276,- ) :  an S70 dovetail accessory that...
  • Baader Planetarium at the 2022 Practical Astronomy Show (UK)

    At 9am on Saturday 19th March the doors opened at the Kettering Conference Centre to welcome a long queue of visitors which had formed to attend the 2022 UK Practical Astronomy Show (PAS). This was the second time that this event has been run since its first outing 2019. Originally planned to be yearly, the event had to be postponed in 2020 and 2021 due to the pandemic. This event would be the first astronomy show in the UK since COVID. I attended PAS representing Baader Planetarium with a small stand. Preparation for PAS had started several weeks beforehand with a shortlist of display and demonstration products and associated information leaflets and a new pull-up banner. Due to a foot injury my wife had to...
  • Alston Observatory's (University of Central Lancashire UK) New PlaneWave Installation - Part Two

    Just before Christmas I returned to the UK University of Central Lancashire's Alston observatory to finish off installation work that was started a number of weeks earlier. The completion work had to be put on hold due to a couple of factors and for scheduling reasons too. You can read more about this first visit here. Discover this telescope/mount installation also on our observatory world map The morning of this visit's first day involved a partial dismantling of the set up. With help from Dr Mark Norris (who leads the teaching at the observatory) with some of the heavy item lifting, the L-mount was first removed and laid carefully on the floor followed by the wedge and pier flange. A new pier flange was then...

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