TheRitz’s real name is Maurits Polak and I hail from Amersfoort in The Netherlands and also I am from the year 1976. My interest in astronomy came to be in the Eighties. In 1986 I visited the Space Expo ’86 in the Utrechtse Jaarbeurshallen. In between a mockup of Spacelab, real spacesuits, the lunar rover of the Apollo missons, Wubbo Ockels and now out-dated equipment I decided to someday buy myself a real telescope.
For two decades I did not care for what was going on in the heavens. But in 2009 all that changed thanks to an impulse purchase of a 70 mm Bresser Skylux refractor followed soon by a Celestron C6-150/750 newtonian telescope and a Canon 350d DSLR. All of this on a EQ5 mount with a 1-axl motor drive. This soon was replaced by a 6″ Meade newtonian on the infamous LXD75 mount. I made the LXD75 work like a charm and added a Moonlite focuser. But because of the hassle I found astrophotography to be I sold all of it in 2011 to try my luck at visual astronomy and purchased a 12″ Meade Lightbridge. And by 2017 I already went through said 12″ Lightbridge and also a 10″ Sumerian Optics travel dobsionan just to end up using a simple 8″ DIY dobsonian. Talk about reverse aperture fever!
From Augustus 2010 until the end of 2014 I was board member of public observatory Sterrenwacht Midden-Nederland. It’s great to spend time with like-minded people and even more to share my passion for all things space and astronomy related with just about anyone who wants to learn something about it. As of Q3 2017 I again am a board member of the observatory. But I also spend a lot of time mountainbiking, bikepacking and cyclocrossing, schooling myself to become a data scientist and I am franticaly trying to bring about an official IDA Dark Sky Park or Place right in the middle of our small and very light polluted country.
This site exists mainly to (b)log my astronomy endeavours and bike packing trips. Doing cool astronomy stuff with simple and often cheap (or even free) hardware or software is something I like. And also I like to share my experiences observing under light polluted urban skies. Keep it simple and stick to your budget are two solid pieces of advise when it comes to astronomy!
Main photo by Duco de Vries