The author (at right) with Prof. Mario Cavedon at Astron '99 in Milan

My name is Piermario Gualdoni. I was born in 1952 in Novara, a city in northwest Italy. I live in Castano Primo, a small town 35 km. from Milan. I have a diploma in chemistry, and at the moment I'm working as a Senior Buyer in a company that produces cellulose acetate yarn. I'm happily married to Franca, we have a son, Fabrizio (born in 1989) and a nice cat, Sissi. I started to enjoy astronomy in 1961, at the time of total solar eclipse visible from Italy (My God!! It's a long time). During this long period, I owned a lot of instruments (binoculars, a 200mm. Newtonian, some SCT's) with which I made observations, mainly of deep sky objects. Starting from 1986 I became strongly interested in astrophotography, gaining experience with framing, guiding and using different kind of films. The quality of results grew rapidly starting from 1996, when I purchased a Takahashi FS-102 apochromatic refractor mounted on a Losmandy G11. This setup, togheter with the skills which I developed over the years, have enabled me to obtain the pictures visibles in the Galleries of this site. Some of them have appeared in astronomy magazines as NUOVO ORIONE, COELUM and CIEL & ESPACE.


My astrophotographic setup

On the picture above is shown the setup I use for astrophotography.

- SCOPE : Takahashi FS-102 apochromatic refractor

- MOUNT : Losmandy G11 german equatorial mount

- GUIDESCOPE : Vixen refractor 80/910mm.


- D.S.C. : Losmandy encoders coupled with Celestron AAM computer

The main scope is fixed on the mount with a custom made dovetail plate, on which are screwed two rings that embrace perfectly the FS-102. Another plate (same as the previous) is fixed over the rings, and a couple of Losmandy DR-108 rings are attached on it. The Vixen guidescope is mounted into the DR-108 rings, giving it enough room for an easy searching of a guidestar. The ST4 head is attached to the Vixen refractor focuser by means of a True Technology flip-mirror, which is really useful to center the guidestar on the ST4 chip. For this purpose, I use an old Meade 12,5mm. reticled eyepiece, which is parfocal with the ST4 chip. With this device, finding, centering and focussing a guidestar is a breeze. All my pictures (except high-resolution images) are taken on 24x36mm. film, with an Olympus OM1 camera. The perfect focus is reached directly on the camera screen, and I substitute the standard one with the type 1-8, which is suggested for astrophotography. I use also a Varimagni finder at 2,5x, which is really helpful to understand when critical focus is achieved. As can be checked on the site, practically all the shots are taken with the FS-102 at F/6, using its proper reducer/flattener. This allow a larger field, and the whole frame is perfectly flat, without hints of field curvature. In addition, the higher photographic speed allows to use shorter exposures, and a higher proficiency. In effect my free time became lower every day, and I really appreciate the possibility to take more shots during a single night dedicated to astrophotography. All my images are taken on color film (or transparencies as well) unhypered. The film is developed in standard minilabs, without particular instructions. One important thing is to require the slides on strip, not framed. Being the background dark, often in the past some slides returned to me with a part of the image cut out.

CLICK HERE if you want to see some specials!