Author Archives: Lee Sproats

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.

  • A quick look at the sky in 2024

    As we are now into 2024 we thought it would be interesting to give you a quick summary of the year ahead in our sky. Equinoxes and Solstices The Earth’s seasons change on four specific days each year. We have two solstices where the Sun appears to be at its lowest and highest points in the sky in December and June respectively, and two equinoxes where the length of day and night are similar in April and September. The equinox and solstice dates for 2024 are: March 20 - Spring Equinox: Occurs at 03:06 UTC and is the first day of spring in the Northern Hemisphere and the first day of autumn in the Southern Hemisphere (autumnal equinox). June 20 - Summer Solstice: Will take place at 20:51 UTC and is...
  • Queen's Anniversary Prize Award for the Open University UK

    We would like to congratulate the Open University (OU) who was recently announced as one of the winners of the prestigious 2023 Queen's Anniversary Prize for their OpenSTEM (Science, Technology Engineering & Mathematics) Labs. These online distance learning laboratories allow students to undertake and participate in experimental work at any time 24/7 remotely from anywhere in the world and cover topics including computing, health and astronomy. The prizes are granted biennially by the UK Monarch and are the highest national honor awarded in Higher Education in recognition of world-class excellence and achievement. The OU operate two robotic observatories at the Observatorio del Teide on the island of Tenerife as part of its OpenSTEM Labs initiative called COAST (COmpletely Autonomous Service Telescope), and PIRATE (the Physics...
  • Adapting the M68 Tilter for use with T-2 and M48 Accessories

    The Baader M68-Tilter (#2458170 , € 255,-) The M68 system allows for a sturdy and rigid connection of heavy accessories. The M68 tilter is a relatively recent addition to this family of adaptors and was developed to easily compensate for image tilt in an optical train through simple adjustments of three pairs of easily-accessible (even when a camera for example is attached) hex-screws located around the edge of the adaptor. Although the M68 tilter itself is small occupying just 9.50-10.25mm of optical path length, and relatively light weighing in at just under 100g, it can accommodate a heavy accessory payload of up to 5kg. The tilter allows a tilt shift of up to 1° to compensate for misalignments in the image field. Baader M68 adapter...
  • Alston Observatory's (University of Central Lancashire UK) New PlaneWave Installation - Part 3: The DeltaRho350

    Towards the end of 2021 Alston Observatory, which is the teaching and public outreach facility of the University of Central Lancashire's Jeremiah Horrocks Institute for Astronomy, Maths and Physics in the north-west of the UK had their PlaneWave L-350 direct drive mount installed atop an equatorial wedge on a Baader heavy duty 0.6m pier in their new 3m observatory dome. After it was installed a Meade 12" LX200 SCT was temporarily mounted on this system waiting for the telescope to arrive that would finally "live" on the mount.....a PlaneWave DeltaRho 350 F/3 widefield imaging cassegrain optical system - the first such PlaneWave telescope system in the United Kingdom. In this third and final installment of the Alston Observatory telescope installation (see here for part one...

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