World Famous Astrophotographer to Describe Latest Adventures at Martz-Kohl Observatory

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Article Contributed by
Walt Pickut
Martz/Kohl Board of Directors

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 the 1000 mile long Atacama desert in northern Chile. As the first American to be in the northern Atacama, Ted will describe his 4 year journey, with its 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?”

For a deeper look at the night sky, planets, stars and the entire universe, visit the Martz/Kohl Observatory online at martzobservatory.org , check the schedule of events and visit in person. Thank you to Hall and Laury Opticians for sponsoring these Martz/Kohl column.

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Walt Pickut’s writing career began with publishing medical research in1971 while working at the Jersey City Medical Center and the NYU Hospital and School of Medicine. Walt holds board registries in respiratory care and sleep technology as well as bachelor's degrees in biology and communication, and a master's degrees in physiology from Fairleigh-Dickinson University in New Jersey, with additional graduate work in mass communication completed at SUNY Amherst. He currently teaches Presentational Speaking in the Houghton College PACE program at JCC and holds memberships in the Society of Professional Journalists and the American Society of Business Publication Editors. He lives in Jamestown with his wife Nancy, an MSW social worker, and has three children: Dr. Cait Lamberton in Pittsburgh, Bill Pickut, a marketing executive in Chicago, and Rev. Matt Pickut in Plymouth, IN.