is Jay R. Ballauer. I have a Bachelor's Degree
in Music from the University of Texas in Arlington,
Texas, and a Master's Degree in Divinity with Biblical
Languages from the Southwestern Baptist Theological
Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. For most of my
adult life, I've worked within both public education
and church ministry. In fact, I once worked three
different jobs and went to two graduate schools...all
at the same time!
astronomy portrait, taken at the 2005
Texas Star Party. Equipment shown
is the 12.5" RCOS RC, Takahashi FSQ-106,
Paramount ME, and SBIG STL-11000 camera.
Thanks to my friend, Phil Jones,
for taking the portrait.
I work in IT, having managed projects for many years
as a private consultant and leading IT teams as a manager
with educational instritutions. But one of my passions is
astronomy, which has led me to put a lot of my efforts into astronomy outreach
and education. Currently, I'm thankful to work
with the Three Rivers Foundations for the Arts and Sciences
(3RF) to help accomplish those goals. And
it's because of 3RF, and it's founder Dr. Fred Koch,
that I have had the opportunity to really grow in knowledge
and abililty. And due to my assoication with 3RF, I've long since
stopped purchasing my own equipment.
been involved seriously in amateur astronomy since early
1997 when I caught my first naked-eye views of Comet
Hale-Bopp. Over the next few years, II learned
how to view the sky through my first scope, a 10"
Meade LX-50, using the old fashioned star-hop method
with the standard Meade finderscope.
in 2000, I started experimenting with astrophotography.
Since then, it's been my favorite part of the
hobby because it combines many of my favorite interests...computers, photography, and astronomy. With
the power of modern CCD astro cameras, astrophotography
has become a real passion in my life. Because
of my association with 3RF,
I have access to some of the most powerful and remarkable
picture with my friend, Jeff Barton
(left), at an observing event in late 2003.
One of my favorite things to do is
setup for some observing or imaging with
of the images taken here were with the wonderful tandem
of the Takahashi NJP equatorial mount
and my Takahashi FSQ-106 apochromatic refractor/astrograph. When
used with either the SBIG STL-11000 or SBIG STL-6303e,
it's a very wonderful wide-field combination.
Currently, I utilize an Astrophysics AP900
mount instead, but the refractor remains one of my real
scope is a Takahashi TOA-150 apocromatic refractor.
This instrument is exquisite, and versatile, with
field-flattening options for both the native f/7.3 focal
ratio and with the f/5.9 super reducer. Hopefully,
this scope will soon get lots of activity, though it's
also doubles as a wonderful star party scope for terrific
planetary and lunar views.
platform I use is a 12.5"
RCOS Ritchey-Chretien Cassegrain on a Software Bisque
Paramount ME. What a spectacular combination this
is! I've had mostly used these instruments on a Particle
Wave Monolith portable pier. However, I have recently
completed a 10 ft. ProDome observatory at the Comanche
Springs Astronomy Campus (CSAC) where it now permanently
resiides. I took delivery of
this scope and mount in February, 2005, so I've
been fortunate to enjoy its use privately. I will
continue to use this setup for future imaging, especially
when it because controlled remotely via Internet. However,
it will begin to see use scientifically at CSAC, and
I look forward to training others on how to use this
have my old 10"
Meade LX200, which is quite neglected.
exposures, I love taking views of the cosmos through
my friends instruments, which usual include and one
of several large dobs. Though I've been
accused of not knowing what an "eyepiece"
is, nobody has dared challenge me to a starhop contest
I shoot all digital now, I still have my Nikon F2 film
setup. It's one
of the greatest film cameras that has ever been produced,
and it's a camera that I'd wanted ever since I looked
at them in Popular Photography magazine as a kid. It's still an effective
setup for piggyback photography, an area of the hobby
on which I spent a lot of time before moving on to "prime
descriptions of all these tools can be found on my Equipment
favorite part of the hobby is driving out to dark skies in
my 1972 Airstream 25' Tradewind and sharing the night
with my many astronomy-loving friends. I
also have many good observing friends at both 3RF and
in the local Dallas/Fort Worth astronomy societies.
Lastly, I'm fortunate enough to have many
great friends around the country. Many are long-time
Internet forum friends and yet others I've met
at star parties.
reside in my new home in Grapevine, Texas, with my wife,
Helen, and children Will (8), Peyton (5), and newborn