|Welcome to my husband's web site. It is Lauri's belief that beauty in nature is happening all around us, one simply needs to be aware enough to know that it is there, and to capture it as it unfolds. Our lives together have been fortunate enough to allow us to see this and experience the beauty; from droplets of summer rain on the wings of a pink moth, to the marvelous dance of the aurora borealis. It is from this place that I am welcoming you here
today. Enjoy your stay.
Hi, my name is Lauri Kangas. I was born in Canada, and I am of Finnish decent (Lauri is a common male name in Finland). I have a lovely wife named Diana who has been a source of encouragement for me to make this website. I didn't intend on making a web site and by no means know how to properly design websites, but I have been encouraged by friends and relatives. So here goes. I hope you enjoy your visit.
I've been an amateur astronomer and photographer since I was a young boy. My first introduction to the night skies occurred at an early age when my father pointed out a satellite in the very dark skies at Lake Shebandowan in Northern Ontario. During that same weekend I witnessed a massive fireball during an early morning bio-break. Since then I have always been looking upwards. My parents gave me their fully manual Ricoh 500 35mm camera, which they couldn't figure out how to use, shortly after that. Around the same time they bought me a Sears Discoverer 60mm refractor. Although this was a "department store" telescope, money was tight, and I really appreciate the effort required to provide me with this telescope. I was mesmerized by my first viewing of Saturn and its rings. My hobby was low budget as can be seen in the left side of this image taken when I was about 10 years old... notice the toilet tissue roll used as part of my high tech solar projection apparatus.
I started taking a lot of pictures with the old Ricoh 35mm camera and learned a lot about photography with this fully manual camera. I took some mediocre pictures of the vastly over-rated (how could anyone predict that it would be somewhat of a dud!) Comet Kohoutek. I also photographed Comet West in 1976, but broke my cheap tripod when I pushed it too hard into 2 feet of snow in my home town of Thunder Bay, Ontario.
In or around 1979, I bought a new Olympus XA 35mm camera and used this TINY camera extensively for many years for general purpose photography.
The return of Halley's Comet in 1986 was something that I had anticipated during my childhood and it was also not spectacular. At that time I was dating my wife and she endured a bitterly cold night looking at Halley's Comet which appeared as a fuzzy object through binoculars. After that I dabbled in astronomy very infrequently and only really paid attention to major events like eclipses.
It wasn't until Comet Hyakutake and Hale-Bopp arrived that I really got interested again. One day I said to my wife "Would you mind if I bought a good telescope?" Being very appreciative of my passions she fully supported my decision to do so. I consulted a well known Toronto Astronomy shop and purchased a Meade LX-10 in May of 1999.
Since then, I have been improving my photography skills, astrophotography skills, observing skills. Along the way I purchased a used Nikon F2 35mm camera and sold my trusty LX-10 and moved up to a Meade 10" SCT Optical Tube Assembly mounted on a Losmandy G-11 Equatorial mount. I have also purchased a used 102mm Celestron (Japanese Vixen) achromatic refractor and a used Orion 90mm Wide Field achromatic refractor. Another big change in my photography hobby occurred when I purchased a simply marvelous Nikon Coolpix 995 Digital Camera. Feature laden and with instant digital gratification, this is just plain COOL!
Update January 2003: I have finally acquired a Nikon D100 Digital SLR and I am learning how to use it. This is a 6.1 Megapixel camera that accepts Nikor lenses. One immediate observation is that this camera increases the focal length of your lenses by 1.5x, so a 300mm zoom is now 450mm! That's great on the higher focal length lenses. My 28mm lens is now a 42mm lens, so I need to purchase a wider angle lens. Nikon is releasing some new wide angle lenses specifically for their digital SLR's this year. Other than that, the camera is superb!
Update August 2006: I apologize as this overdue update should have been provided long ago. I have acquired a Nikon 14mm wide angle lens for the D100; the effective focal length of this lens in the D100 is 21mm. I have also purchased a used Tele Vue TV-101 Apochromat refractor in 2004, which I have mounted on a Vixen Great Polaris mount. I have also purchased a Canon 20D digital SLR which I am considering for modification by Hutech for improved astrophotography purposes. Most recently I have purchased a Coronado PST (Personal Solar Telescope) for viewing the Sun in Hydrogen-Alpha. I have also double-stacked the PST with an SM40 filter (more feedback on this combination to follow).
Update September 2006: The double-stacked PST performs very well but has a very narrow "sweet spot". The overall image is darkened somewhat but the level of solar detail is considerably improved.
Update October 2006: I have retired from my senior management position in Information Technology and have taken over the operation of an astronomy shop called Perceptor. Perceptor is located in Schomberg, Ontario, which is a 17 minute drive my home in Caledon, Ontario.
Update February 2007: I have purchased a used Celestron NexStar 11 GPS. This scope has the StarBright XLT coatings and it is my first GOTO scope. I installed Bob's Knobs collimation screws and keep this scope very accurately collimated. The scope also required balancing so I installed the Losmandy 11" counterweight system. This is a beautiful scope and the 1" increase in aperture coupled with the StarBright XLT coatings really make a difference! (NOW SOLD)
Update July 2007: I have given up to aperture fever and now own an Obsession 18" Dobsonian which is a fast f/4.5 Newtonian. This is my FAVOURITE scope by a long shot. I have installed the Argo Navis digital setting circles and I am completely satisfied by the accuracy of the Argo Navis system. I can tell you that the Veil Nebula (both NGC 6960 and 6992) is AWESOME viewed with a Lumicon Oxygen III filter!! Globular Clusters fill up the entire FOV and galaxies show structure. What a great scope!
Update March 2008: It's been a decade since I last tried seriously taking deepsky images with a film camera and telescope. I gave up this practice due to mediocre results with film. The arrival of Comet 17P/Holmes inspired me once again to point a camera mounted on a telescope (this time a digital SLR) on an accurately polar aligned equatorial mount and take some images. I have now acquired a Hutech modified Canon 40D camera and using my Tele Vue TV-101 refractor along with the Losmandy G-11 mount, a William Optics ZenithStar 66mm telescope as a guidescope and an Orion StarShoot Autoguider have managed to put together an imaging system that has resulted in some promising images.
Update August 2008: I have acquired a BEAUTIFUL Takahashi TOA-130 Ortho APO Refractor and I am absolutely impressed by both the optical and mechanical quality of this scope. First light produced textbook diffraction rings and I have never seen Epsilon Lyra split so clearly. Click here to see astro images using the TOA-130.
Update July 2009: Perceptor has been sold to a relatively near neighbour of mine named Jerry Wright who also lives in Caledon, Ontario.
Update September 2009: I have also acquired a Takahashi FSQ-106ED Refractor and a QSI 583ws CCD imaging camera. The QSI 583ws comes with an integrated 1.25" filter wheel and I am using the Astrodon Tru-Balance E-Series LRGB filters as well as the Astrodon 5nm Hydrogen-Alpha filter. Astro images with this configuration can be seen here.
Update February 2010: My trusty Losmandy G-11 non-GOTO mount has been replaced with an Astro-Physics 900GTO mount. I am using a G-11 tripod and the Astro-Physics G-11 adapter with the Astro-Physics mount and it is working quite well.
Update May 25, 2012: We moved to my wife's hometown of Fort Frances in Northwestern Ontario in December of 2011.