PyCon X

firenze

2-5 maggio 2019

Nicola Montecchiari

Nicola Montecchiari
Tagline
Amateur Astrophotographer
Sito web
www.skymonsters.net
Twitter
@Sky_Monsters
Interessi tecnologici
windows, linux, space-exploration, arduino, cython, GIL, pypy, C/C++, python3, astropy, raspberrypi, CPython, astronomy
Posizione
Milano
Breve biografia

It is always a little bit difficult when it comes to talk about ourselves, but I'll give it a try. I began watching the stars through my father's telescope since I was a child, he was using a Stein Optics 76/910 refractor on an equatorial mount, over a tripode with wooden legs. Despite this mount was heavy, it wasn't precise at all and any little movement of the scope result in big oscillation which sometimes was making difficult to observe details of solar system bodies. Crucial was reading a tiny little book about astronomy, that covered all aspects of astronomy in a way that also a child could understand, with many colorful pictures. I remember for instance that I was amazed about the HR diagram and all colours of the stars. Another thing that made me very curious is to discover that it was possible to map the stars on the sky with constellations having funny names and shapes.

When I graduated from middle school (13 years old) I got my father's scope as present, with a new objective lens as the original one got broken during our moving house. With this scope I started wandering around the sky looking for the bright stars and objects and learning star hopping. At that time the sky in the village where we lived was quite dark so I could just bring the telescope out and easily starting observing.

During mid 80's I got in contact with an Italian group, mainly devoted to variable stars, which was called A.R.B.I. (Associazione Ricerche Binoculari Italiana). That was my first approach to something more than mere observing and I learned a lot. During the daytime I was studying computer science as my major ar high school and it was exciting to put together computer science and astronomy, so I started my first program, written in Pascal, to archive and view the graph of the light curve of the variables I was estimating. On one of my birthdays I also got a nice 11x80 binocular that eased my variable star estimating task. And I started to try shooting wide field photos with a Praktica reflex. I think I have some slides hidden somewhere at my parents', perhaps soon or late I'll dig them out and clean the dust out of them.

After graduating from High School, I got a Vixen 102/1000 achromatic refractor together with a brand new Super Polaris mount. That was a real beautiful setup and I started to watch many object with it. But that was also the time I started University, and I had very few time to dedicate to my hobby so the instrument was left unused for some years.

After completed university I started again with astronomy, as I met some other addicted people in a town close to where I lived and we created a local amateur astronomers group (AVDA). Work and life brought me out of Italy for 2.5 years (2 years in Newcastle Upon Tyne, UK and around 6 months in The Netherlands) during 1997-1999 and being far from my equipment I couldn't do any astronomy but looking at comets Hale-Bopp and Hyakutake with my naked eye from the rainy England.

After I came back to Italy, my desire to join astronomy and photography became such that I started again using always films and with the power of the Internet I met either virtually or by the real many new amateur astronomers, in Italy and around the world. I also started to attend to Italian star parties too, an excellent place to make new friends and to talk about our common interest.

On October 2006, after a nice clear night taking pictures with film ended with completely destroyed film by the developer of the photo lab, I decided to undertake the move to digital astrophotography, something I'm still learning and which I enjoy a lot as I can do everything by myself, from imaging down to processing and printing.

I'm much supported by my wife, Barbara; despite she's not particularly interested in astronomy, she really likes watching at my pictures of nebulas and galaxies and this is enough to me. Our honeymoon to Namibia on May 2007 show us an incredible clean dark sky, something that in Italy we have forgotten.