World Famous Astrophotographer Returning to Martz-Kohl Observatory

Mounting a Telescope in No-Man’s-Land


Article Contributed by
Walt Pickut
Board of Directors – Martz/Kohl Observatory

The Atacama Desert is a great place to look at the stars and take beautiful pictures of the Universe in all its glory. But it is also a very strange place and a challenging location to set up a telescope.

The 600-mile-long Atacama Desert is a strip of uninhabitable land between the Pacific Ocean and the Andes mountains in South America. It is the driest desert in the world, not much more friendly to life than the surface of Mars. It is, however, beautiful in its own way…for people who enjoy stony terrain where nothing grows, salt lakes, sand and lava beds.

At a regular monthly meeting of the Martz/Kohl Observatory, Wednesday evening, July 27 at 7:30, Ted Wolfe will take his audience through his “adventure” in moving his telescope from Naples, Florida to an uninhabited wilderness at an altitude of 8,000 feet, in northern Chile’s Atacama desert. As the first American in the northern Atacama, Ted will describe his 4 year journey, with its harrowing ups and downs.

His talk is titled “Chasing Chile – Are We There Yet?” He will discuss “Why Chile”, show shots of the desert site and equipment, and examine what it takes to move a ‘scope to one of the remotest sites in the world.

Ted’s star photography offers viewers remarkable and hauntingly beautiful views unlike any the human eye can see unless aided by a powerful telescope and the skill to capture the colors and forms and vistas of deep space.
Ted Wolfe is no stranger to Western New York. He and his family first moved to Lakewood back in 1967. Following retirement, he and his wife Nancy live at the Chautauqua Institution during the summer and in Naples, Florida during the winter.

Ted has spoken several times at the Martz-Kohl Observatory.

His deep space images have been exhibited in numerous science museums across the country such as the Miami Museum of Science, the Buffalo Museum of Science, etc. and locally at the Roger Tory Peterson Institute.
A 1-man show of his work ran for 20 months at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral. Large scale permanent exhibits of his photographs can be found at the University of Florida, and the University of Notre Dame.

Over the years, 20 of his pictures have appeared in Sky & Telescope and Astronomy Magazines. He also writes the monthly column on astronomy for the Naples Daily News.

In 1995 he built one of the first remote, robotic telescope operations in Florida. The telescope was 165′ from his control computer. Now it is 3500 miles away in a remote site in Chile and on Wednesday evening at 7:30 Ted will take us through his “adventures” in doing that. Martz/Kohl members, potential members and friends are invited to Ted’s talk entitled “Chasing Chile – Are We There Yet?”