Martin LEHKÝ

Hradec Králové - Czech Republic

I was born 1972 in Hradec Králové - Czech Republic. In spring of 1992 I finished studies by leaving examination with a view to a machine engineering in secondary school in small town Nový Bydžov. At present I have been working in business, nevertheless I have enough free time for my hobby. And about ninety percent of this time I devote to astronomy. I think that I dont't live already without "king's science".

All began when I attended elementary school. At small home library I found two books, "Vesmír, Země, člověk a my děti" (Universe, Earth, a man and we children) and "Obloha na dlani" (Sky on the open hand). They both me were interesting and aroused curiosity to astronomy.

I visited often programmes for public in local astronomical observatory and looked for further informations and news. In April 1987 I joined "Klubu přátel astronomie a kosmonautiky" (Club of friends of astronomy and astronautics), which led Karel Bejček. The observatory door little opened for me and here started my epoch of practical astronomy. I learned use of telescopes, looked for various simply deep-sky objects (as M31 And, M42 Ori, M27 Vul, ...). My first preserving observation, more or less usefull, originated from this period. During autumn came bright comet 1987s BRADFIELD. I didn't know how to make estimation of brightness, but I made the drawing and short description of comet appearance. The sight at comet was very impressive and very influenced on me for future.

"Astronomická společnost v Hradci Králové" (Astronomical society in Hradec Králové) was established in 1990 which took up again on tradition of original Astronomical society established 1929. During communist régime original society didn't exist as independent. In 1950 fusion came with "Česká astronomická společnost" (Czech astronomical society) where old local society abolished and lost all own possession. Establishing members of new society was Josef Bartoška, Karel Bejček, Luděk Dlabola, Martin Cholasta a Martin Lehký. Majority of further members issued from former club.

0.2-m refractor (state 1999)

In the same year I began to work at local astronomical observatory. I guided public as external worker. I had unlimited access to observatory and every clear night I could use 0.20-m refractor f/17 for visual observing, 0.42-m Schmidt telescope for photographing and many smaller instruments. This good state continued till first half of 1997. I had wordy conflict with comrade director and I left observatory. Among others the director had been proclaiming: "This observatory is cultural institution and any observations or publications are undesirable". And one pearl: "Astronomy does not pertain to the observatory". Fortunately ASHK is independent on observatory (In lease ASHK have a small observing house near of observatory and several smaller instruments only.) and therefore I could continued in astronomy. Possibly I profited by departure. I began to use 0.42-m reflector on dobsonian mount which ASHK bought with contribution of town Hradec Králové not long ago. With biggest telescope in hand large space opened for observing, till this time unsuspected ...

According to needs I established contacts with associations and also individuals which brought many good things. Quick transfer of informations, exchange of experiences in theory and mainly practice, ...

  • 1989   APO   Amatérská Prohlídka Oblohy - Amateur Sky Survey
    Mainly description of deep-sky objects (Jiří Dušek, Marek Kolasa)

  • 1990   ASHK   Astronomická společnost v Hradci Králové - Astronomical Society in Hradec Králové (Martin Cholasta).   POVĚTROŇ member's magazine.

  • 1991   TA   The Astronomer - British society (Guy M Hurst)

  • 1992   ICQ   International Comet Quarterly (Daniel W E Green)

  • 1993   SMPH - Společnost pro meziplanetární hmotu - Society for interplanetary matter (Vladimír Znojil), previously Sekce meziplanetární hmoty při ČAS - ČAS section of interplanetary matter.


    At first I was versatile. I made description of deep-sky objects, drawings of Sun spots, planet Jupiter, Mars and Venus, observed telescopic meteors, measured time of stars occultations by Moon (station SZ 176) and stars by minor planets also (both visually only), estimated brightness of novae, supernovae, AGNs, comets, ... I had occasion to try astrophotography. It stands to reason that to do all together is impossible. During certain time I gave up a some activity and some other ones I limited to minimum. Today at first position there are estimates brightness of comets and other (as novae, supernovae, AGNs, ...) are reduced to remaining time.

    Till May 2002 I observed 135 comets (3 short-term comet during two perihels) and I made 2177 visual observations, plus 34 negative estimations of brightness (when the comet wasn't seen) and 10 independent descriptions of comets. Very big rise of comets observations came not long ago. Reason ? It is very simply. I have access to the biggest telescope. Communication is very quick by internet. In the present I can observe new comet etc. several hours after publication of discovery. Third great reason is amount new stars catalogues. Once I had accessible the SAO catalog only with stars to 9th and 10th magnitudes. In the present the situation is more better. Catalogues TI, GSC, HIP, USNO have reach in magnitudes up over bounds of usual visual observations. Very important it is easy accessibility of Palomar Sky Survey (DSS Digital Sky Survey) on the CD discs. This pictures of the sky are sometimes usefull for identification of faint and very slowly motions comets.


    The more often I use site of ASHK near Hradec Králové observatory. This observing house is situated on kopci Svatého Jána - St.John Hill (277 m.o.s.) close to south outside of the town (with over 100 000 inhabitants). Conditions for observing are ordinaly there. When the sky is clear without Moon the limit magnitude is about 5.8 mag. (sometimes 6.3) on the average. Only the northern part of the sky is enough disturbing by light pollution.

    In the observing house two instruments are installed. 0.11-m f/15 refractor and 0.42-m (mirror 0.60-m) Schmidt telescope (in the present out of work). At disposal there are also some portable instruments. Famous 0.42-m f/5 reflector on the dobsonian mount, binoculars Somet 25x100, ...

    Unfortunately I live at northern part of town at Slezské suburb about 7 km from observatory. This distance I must pass by town transport, but it goes very little during the night and from terminus I must go on foot about 1 km). Therefore I often go by bicycle, mainly in the summer. I got this bike in Christmas when I attended fourth class of elementary school.

    Arrival to observing site of ASHK (fruit garden) - The Hradec Králové observatory and planetarium in background.

  • 0.42-m reflector

    Installation of 0.42-m reflector (f/5) on the dobsonian mount is very simply even for one people (provided is enough stout). Wooden tube is folded up from three pieces. Two of them are sliding and every of them is ensured by four screws. The most often used magnifications are x81 and x162. Maximum profitable magnification is x263.

    Several views to inside of 0.42-m reflector ...

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