Hi and welcome to my site! I am a 40 year old consultant living in Leest, Belgium. I grew up near the historical city of Bruges. Following my education where I obtained the degree of Bachelor in Computer Sciences I moved in 1998 to the province of Antwerp for job related reasons.
Today I am working as a Principal Performance Management Architect at element61 (Business Intelligence & Performance Management) . My main focus point is Performance Management, using a wide variety of tools. (IBM Cognos, IBM Netezza, Qlikview/Sense, IBM Datastage, TimeXtender, Informatica Powercenter) I have experience with both the Kimball dimensional modelling and Prince II /Agile project methodologies. Being active in the Business Intelligence space for over 15 years a lot of different business environments and clients have been my share. My role has evolved from a purely technical role to a true architect role in control of design and project execution.
My main interest in astronomy has always been astrophotography. Following some emulsion photography experiments, I acquired a used 10 inch f6.3 Meade LX200 SCT in 2000. A Starlight Express MX7C CCD-camera and the STAR 2000 guiding module were purchased in 2001 to accomany this telescope. Using this equipment I set my first real steps in the wonderfull world of astrophotography. When I moved to Willebroek, a small extension of the house was modified to house an observatory. The observatory was a great improvement with fixed polar alignment, equipment always ready to use … Not only the observatory was new to me, imaging and image processing were new to me as well. and the learning curb is a steep one. Two years later the MX7C was replaced by a monochrome version: the Starlight SXV-H9, offering a larger field of view and better resolution and sensitivity. This camera was eventually replaced by a super sensitive SBIG ST10XME. This camera offered an again larger chip and about 30% more sensitivity. The camera uses a SBIG CFW-8 motorized filter wheel. By nowadays standards the chip sizes of these cameras are considered rediculously small. The MX7C boosted a 752*448 pixel chip array ! Even the ST10XME only had 4 megapixel...
Meanwhile the LX200 was sold and replaced by a Gemini G41 mount and Celestron 11 telescope. The G41 is a very solid mount showing an impressive total periodic error of 8 arc seconds. It can handle a Celestron 11 without any effort. The C11 was replaced by the Vixen VMC260, a Maksutov Cassegrain of exceptional quality. Nowadays, the Vixen VMC260 uses the ST10XME for photometry of Delta Scuti stars and eclipsing binaries and is riding on the G41. Variable star observing is really rewarding. Doing real science from the backyard is a rewarding occupation. To date I logged nearly 70 000 observations at the American Variable Star Observation.
In 2014 I purchased a large Ritchey-Chrétien with an aparture of 40 cm. It is a heavy telescope, weighing about 40 kg. It was mounted on the G41, the mount could handle the load but only barely. Therefore in 2015 I purchased a Paramount ME II. This is a huge mount: any other mount is dwarfed by it. This mount is a huge step up in terms of precision and software integration. Every claim Software Bisque makes is simply true. I really adore this mount!
I am an active participant of the VVS Campaign for Dark Skies Belgium. This group tries to improve the night-skies in Belgium and is an affiliate of the International Dark Sky Association. We are campaining for better skies and less light pollution. In Belgium far too many roads are lit, compared to our surrounding countries. One of our main gaols is to change government-policy towards lighting. Better lighting saves money and saves the night sky. Late 2006 I became chairman of this group and resigned this commission in 2015 when I became the secretary-general of the VVS. This astronomical assiociation has about 2000 members and is the glue that keeps amateurs together. Every year VVS organises public outreach events and a two -day symposium. I can highly recommend membership!
Enjoy browsing this site ! I can be contacted at maarten dot vanleenhove at telenet dot be or just Skype/Facebook me!