Welcome to astro.vanbuitenen.nl. The purpose of this website is to share with you my personal interest in astronomy, and to provide amateur astronomers at any level of experience with up-to-date information for observing the night sky.

My name is Gideon van Buitenen. Having been interested in astronomy since childhood, I rediscovered my interest in the subject a few years ago thanks to the media-hype around comet ISON (C/2012 S1). Eager to see the alleged 'comet of the century' for myself, I purchased a low-budget 5" Newtonian telescope and started observing just about everything it allowed me to. Although comet ISON disintegrated near the sun and failed to impress many people, I was excited I had managed to see it, and that it got me on this incredible journey into the field of visual astronomy. 

Despite the near-limitless supply of breathtaking images that are now right at our fingertips, nothing can really substitute the thrill of capturing those photons with your own eyes while contemplating on the immense proportions of the things you are looking at. So once I had convinced myself that visual observing was indeed the thing for me I gave in to a phenomenon called 'aperture-fever' and upgraded to a 12" Dobsonian 'lightbucket'.

Since then I've seen nearly all the Messier objects, many objects from the 'New General Catalogue', all of the major planets, some minor planets (including Pluto) and a few near-earth asteroids. But my main interest remains with comets, probably because they require a bit of a chase.

Like with many of us, my observing location unfortunately lies well within the light-polluted suburbs. Luckily I've been able to travel with the scope to various dark locations, with camping Domaine de Pradines in the French Cevennes being my favorite. Nothing can beat a dark sky in astronomy.

As for the cloudier nights, I'm also quite interested in the physics and mathematics behind astronomy, and writing software to support my hobby. In fact, this very website evolved from the desire of putting automated, real-time information on visual comets online. Meanwhile it has  already become more than just that. I hope you enjoy looking around and I hope that it will prove beneficial for your own observations.

Wishing you clear skies and lots of comets!