My name is Jason Nishiyama. I work as a secondary school teacher with the Calgary Board of Education where I currently work with teens who have addiction issues. I am also a sessional instructor in astronomy at the University of Lethbridge's Calgary campus. I live in Calgary, Alberta, Canada with my wife, son and cat. I am also the observatory director for the Calgary Centre of the RASC's Wilson Coulee Observatory (WCO).
I have been an amateur astronomer since I was a child. I received my first telescope as a gift when I was 12 (a 60mm refractor). Since then I have done a lot of work in the radio spectrum but have also done optical observing using first the 12.5" Newtonian then it's replacement C14 at the WCO. Since my purchase of a small 5" Maksutov telescope in July of 2007, I've been working on an RASC Messier certificate by slowly photographing all 110 Messier objects.
Equipment used for the City Deepsky Project
I started out with some 10x50 Bushnell binoculars I picked up at Costco years ago. Since the summer of 2008 I've started using some Celestron 10x50 binoculars as they have a better focusing mechanism.
The telescope I am using for this project is a Skywatcher Mak127 (5" Maksutov) mounted on an Eq-5 equatorial mount. For this telescope I started with a 6x30 finder scope but found this inadequate in a city environment and have since upgraded the finder to a 9x50. The Mak127 is co-mounted with my old 60mm refractor which has been modified to accept standard eyepieces.
My observing location for this project is my back yard. I initially simply placed the telescope and it's tripod on the ground but found that hard to level. I then placed three small blocks in the ground to facilitate quicker setup and leveling. During the summer of 2008 I started work on a small backyard observatory. At this point I have concrete piles set up so that I can quickly set up my tripod on them. A deck has been constructed and a pier installed so set up is quick!
Geographically the location is in the community of Marlborough Park in NE Calgary, Alberta, Canada. My house limits my southern view to about -20 degrees declination, but it also blocks out the streetlight on the street.
My Observing List
A list of what objects I have left to observe from my location is here.