In the following we will present you some impressions and images we made during our
astrophoto trip to Farm Tivoli in Namibia. Click on the hyperlink above to get more
informations from the Schreiber´s, the owners of Farm Tivoli.
||Here you can see where Namibia is located in Africa. Farm Tivoli
lies 150 kilometers south east of Windhoek, the capital of Namibia. The latitude is -23°
Namibia has a lot of wonderful places to be, but our focus was
only at taking astrophotos, so other websites can tell you more about what else than a
wonderful sky at night can be seen.
|This image was taken when the owner of the farm, Mr. Schreiber,
drove us from Windhoek airport to his farm, 2,5 hours away. The roads almost look like
this and it´s impressive that you can only see a few houses while driving through the
country. No villages are located there, the reason for that most impressive night sky!
||And here we are!
|This is the house, where we slept the 14 days we were there. Yes,
you read it right, slept at day, every night was useable! 10 nights were totally clear and
in 4 nights we were able to shoot between the clouds. The sky there is so dark that clouds
are very hardly visible, most of the time you notice a dark area which isn´t real in the
night sky. The center of the milkyway is directly overhead and your own shadow gets
visible from the brightness of the milkyway´s center! Other visual observers wrote that
they were able to identify stars up to 7,8mag.
||Here is the "hut" visible were the
16"f/8-Hypergraph we used for long focal photography is built in. The Hypergraph is a
special Cassegrain design made by Philipp Keller. For more details please check his
homepage at http://www.astrooptik.com. This
telescope is designed to get pinpoint stars up to the edges of the 6x7 format but can of
course be used for CCD photography too. To see the results made with this instrument have
a look in the Namibia Gallery. The telescope is located 5 meters
above the ground to get better seeing conditions. We could not prove this argument, but it
could be possible - the temperatures at the telescope were up to 3 deg. celsius warmer
than on the ground!
|Here you can see Bernd Flach-Wilken on the left side of the
Hypergraph and Volker Wendel on the right. Bernd has the same instrument at home in
germany so his experience was a big help to optimize things. The mount is a very heavy
german mount called K110. The weight of this mount is 270 kilograms and it could handle
easily bigger sized telescopes.
||The Hypergraph was not the only instrument we used for shooting.
We had another heavy mount in use that allowed us to take photos with two Pentax SDUF (I
and II) and two extra Pentax 67 cameras the same time. At the SDUFII we used a SBIG
ST10XME and on the SDUF we took medium format film shots using another Pentax 67 and
Ektacrome 200 prof. and Fuji´s Provia 400 F.
Nights can be very cold
in July because it´s winter time at the southern hemisphere. We had temperatures down to
-5 degrees celsius but the dry air makes it not as cold as we thought it will be. A big
plus is the short way to our appartement. It is only 100 metres away and you can have a
good warm up. The time for shooting was from 6 pm to 5:30 am.
|At daytime we spent most of the time playing around with the raw
shots from the last night to get some new knowledges which helps to improve the next
shots. But this was not all we did, we had very much fun flying with Mr. Schreiber and his
ultra light glider which is a fantastic experience. The plane is up to 100 km/h fast and
we were up a few hundred meters from ground.
||In these heights you have a fantastic view down to the farm (on
the right frame you can see the Hypergraph observatory).....
|...and to the sunset!
||There are a lot of sheep which make really crazy noises the whole
night long :-)
|Another impressive sunset shot made at the beginning of a partly
||And now we can start again!
|This shot is made with moon light and shows the authors in front
of the Hypergraph-Observatory.