After seeing a Sky & Telescope advertisement for images made with a small, portable refractor, Vance purchased his first telescope in 2001 – a Takahashi FSQ-106N carried on an Alt-Az Giro mount. Visual observing with an interest to image led him to join the Texas Astronomical Society of Dallas and the Three Rivers Foundation for the Arts and Sciences (3RF). With the generous support of both organizations, Vance hosts a monthly public star party in Cedar Hill, Texas.
At the 2004 Eldorado Star Party, Vance met Jay Ballauer and Phillip Jones. Jay had a spare CCD camera and within minutes they had it attached to the FSQ for its very first image of the Horsehead Nebula. It was an exciting moment when the first frame downloaded. Vance credits his friends Jay and Phil for getting him hooked, for countless adventures, and for many friendships that have resulted along the way.
Vance travels to dark skies in Texas and Oklahoma with the FSQ-106N now coupled to an SBIG STL-11000M camera and FLI PDF focuser carried on a Takahashi NJP mount. A Takahashi FS-152 f/8 refractor is also used for visual and planetary/deep-sky imaging use. Vance has a Paramount MX co-located at BuckSnort Observatory with JOhn Davis and other friends. He enjoys insecure wireless networks in his free time.
His images can be seen at his website http://www.cosmicsniper.com/.
Vance will be the instructor for: