My 9" Newtonian Telescope
Willie Koorts Home page
Computerised Satellite Tracking
Nightfall at the Sutherland Observatory The following topics are covered here:
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1882 Transit on Venus
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I grew up in the tiny little town of Touws River where this aerial photograph (24k jpg) was taken at about the time when I was born, showing my birthplace. My family and I are presently staying in Wellington (95k jpg) in the Western Cape Province of South Africa. In this 400mm telephoto shot (65k jpg) which I took from the top of the du Tiotskloof pass, you can just see my house.

My home language is Afrikaans, the world's youngest Germanic language which, together with Hebrew and Indonesian, are regarded as the world's three "wonder languages" to have originated in less than 50 years.

By strange coincidence my birth-town and present hometown together with my wife's college and residence as well as our present employers and my hobby, are all connected as far back as 1882 with people as far away as England and America and "bodies" as distant as Venus and the Sun. Click here for the full story - of hier vir die Afrikaanse weergawe.


I am employed as an Electronic Technician at the South African Astronomical Observatory's Cape Town head office. At times I need to visit our observing outstation near Sutherland where I took the above picture which is now used as the cover of our Observatory Brochure. We normally drive there via the historic town of Matjiesfontein (77k jpg).


As you can see from my favourite links, my main interests are astronomy, telescope making, satellite tracking and photography which includes video. To assist me in some of these, I have written a few simple computer programs over the years which you are welcome to download and try out.

My main sport interests are rugby and cricket as a spectator and I do a little cycling for fun.



Vesta Mod Illustrated page showing a Vesta webcam being modified for astronomical use.
1004x Mod Similar modifications and tests were done to 1004x Surveillance Camera.
Lots of pictures Here are fully illustrated pages of the re-building of my 9" Newtonian Telescope
from an old fashioned Texereau to a more modern truss split-ring equatorial.
Willie's Satellite Tracking Scope A similar page, showing the tripod mounted spotting scope, fitted with setting circles,
I use as a Satellite Tracking Telescope
After motorizing the above This mount was later motorized and put under software control for
CoSaTrak (Computerised Satellite Tracking)
Greg's CoSaTrak implementation VIDEOTRAK Greg Roberts' implemented CoSaTrak motorizing an old
ex-MOONWATCH telescope mount using a CCD video camera


  • CoSaTrak (304k) - Computerised Satellite Tracking - control a telescope for Tracking Satellites.
  • SeeCoSat (241k) - Software (by Greg Roberts) to prepare satellite prediction files for CoSaTrak
  • (46k)    - General positional astronomy program with real-time Alt/Az output.
  • Info
  • (23k)       - Turn your PC into a 1000-lap-memory logged stopwatch & set its RTC by radio. Info
  • (29k)       - By David Chandler for doing 9, 18 & 27 point flotation mirror cell calculations.
  • (20k) - Program for selectively extracting satellite elements from big element files.
  • Info
  • (55k) - I once wrote this Gematria (theomatics) calculation program for a friend.
  • Info
  • Snappy Collection - A near complete collection of Snappy installation software and patches

 Animated Graphics 

In experimenting with GIF animation, I created this sequence from pictures I took
with a Smoke-stack Implosion (192k gif) of an old power station near Cape Town.

For this sequence showing my Telescope Rebuild (158k gif), I turned the output of a
morphing program into an Animated GIF - (Full Story)

A fun animation showing the stages of assembly of my VisuTrak satellite tracking telescope mount

See footage of a "collision" between the brightest satellite and the brightest star .. (full story).

A few example animated GIF's from footage taken with Greg Roberts' VIDEOTRAK
- video satellite tracking system, an implementation of CoSaTrak

 Astronomical History 

Read here about the 1882 Transit of Venus observations - (of hier in Afrikaans)
that were done from Wellington and my current search to try and find the
observing site and the antique telescope also used to observe
this rare event, next to happen again in 2004.

 Taking the C out of CCD! 

CCD/Cryogenic workers might find this detective story interesting
on how we identified and cured our CCD contamination problems.
(You might prefer to read the long version for more specific detail.)

 Photography & Gallery 

I also try my hand at photography from time to time and these pictures
mostly tell a story, either individually or as a group.

After seeing this funny roadsign in my gallery page,
people sent me lots more crazy road sign pictures.

Gedurende Sept. 2000 het ons klomp Koortse reunie gehou!
Kom kyk gerus na ons Rietvlei-foto-album

This is my procedure for determining focus and exposure time for astrophotography.

Here are some Resolution Tests done on a Snappy Video Capturing Device.
I have collected quite a lot of Snappy Software and Patches.

One of the first implementations of my Snappy was to capture a "collision" between Mir and Sirius.


Work Related Hobby Related Others
CCD's Astronomy Sport
Vacuum Telescope Making Search Engines
Electronics Satellite Tracking Miscellaneous


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My 9-inch Telescope
Computerised Satellite Tracking
Astronomical History
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Come back soon - still digging up moreDigging for more