2014 General Assembly in Victoria

Royal Astronomical Society of Canada - Join Now!


Jan Wisniewski's Astronomy Projects

Victoria Centre is part of the national Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, which is dedicated to bringing information about astronomy to the general public.

Advanced Search


Join Now!
Night Lighting
Image Gallery
Astro Kids
Buy & Sell
Astro Links
Observing Highlights
Observers Resources
Online Articles
Members Only
National eNews
2014 GA
About Us
President's Message
Job Jar
Shop Online
What's New


Jan Wisniewski's Astronomy Projects



Roll-off Roof Observatory


Observatory with the Roof Off


Celestron Ultima 8 with CCD Cameras

Short Focal Ratio 6" f/4 Dobsonian

This article started off being about Jan's new observatory in Sooke, but I thought it would be interesting to also find out more about how Jan came to exploring what most of us have considered a passion. In the process I found out a lot about the numerous astronomy construction projects that he has worked on since he moved to Victoria.

Jan's experiences with astronomy started in the early 70's when he was just in the 8th grade in Poland. He remembers observing Nova Cygni 1975 in August of 1975 and not really understanding what he had seen until days later. As Jan recalls information about astronomy was scarce and often published much later than we would expect in this area of the world. Throughout his high school years he explored the sky with binoculars and sometimes with just the naked eye. A 4" Maksutov was also available at the school. During the subsequent years at university his interest lay dormant until Jan emigrated to the United States and then to Canada.

While in the United States he purchased a Celestron Ultima 8 f/10 Schmidt Cassegrain which he continues to use today. Once in Canada Jan joined the London Centre of the RASC.

When Jan found employment in Victoria, BC he contacted the Telescope Making group of the Victoria Centre of the RASC. Many of us at the Centre know Jan best for his astronomy construction projects. He has built a short focal ratio Dobsonian (6" f/4) with a silvered mirror ... which most of us thought, Jan included, would not survive long without tarnishing. It's been 18 months and the mirror still looks in pretty good shape. When the desire to take CCD images arose Jan decided to build rather than buy ready made. The ever popular Richard Berry Cookbook Camera book was used. Jan's first CCD camera is based on the TC245 chip with the low dark current modification made to its circuitry. A special filter wheel was constructed to accept either the standard tricolor set and most recently a cyan, magenta and yellow set. Jan was able to increase the overall spectral quality of the filter wheel by using dichroic filters purchased from Edmund Scientific. A second CCD camera was constructed for autoguiding based on the TC211 chip.

It didn't take long before Jan had to build an observatory for all this equipment ! The roll-off roof design has proved to be very usable at his site. It's only minutes away from observing or imaging. The observatory's footprint is 8 feet by 8 feet. Jan is already feeling the squeeze so renovations are probably not too far off. In spite of the space he has managed to house his veteran Celestron scope with his CCD cameras and accompanying computer equipment and power supplies. Jan has supplied us with some images from his new observatory site. As a side note Jan has started to catalog his images using html pages. This gives him easy access to the images (along with notes) without opening them up in an image editor. For more information he can be reached by email at jwisn@netcom.ca. You may also view additional images from Jan and other Victoria Centre members in the Images section of the website.


 M51 - The Whirlpool Galaxy

2 x 4 min. with red filter, 3 x 4 min. with green, 4 x 4 min. with blue overlaid on -IR images made of 8 x 4 min. exposures


 M96 - Sb Galaxy in Leo

Average of 6 x 4 min. autoguided exposures

Supernova 1998bu (still visible at 12 mag.) is to the right (north) of M96 nucleus


M99 - Sc Galaxy in Coma Berenices

Average of 4 x 4 min. autoguided exposures


 M107 - Globular Cluster in Ophiuchus

Average of 5 x 2 min. autoguided exposures


� 2013 Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, Victoria Centre
All text and images are Copyright their respective owners
Victoria Centre adheres to our National Privacy Policy
Website: victoria.rasc.ca - Contact us -
Victoria Centre Council
RASC Victoria Centre does not endorse nor is responsible for the content of external websites. External links will open in a new window.
Last updated: December 12, 2013

The Royal Astronomical Society of Canada is dedicated to the promotion of astronomy and its related sciences; we espouse the scientific method, and support dissemination of discoveries and theories based on that well-tested method.

Welcome to our website!

We would very much appreciate hearing your feedback: Victoria Centre Council

RASC Victoria Centre on facebook and Twitter

Web hosting & email services provided by Matthew Watson