[Starry Story] Mirko Tondinelli (Italy)

source:Mirko Tondinellipopularity:1951Release Time:2022-10-28

[Starry Story] Mirko Tondinelli (Italy)


Hello everyone, my name is Mirko Tondinelli, I am a 47-year-old Italian amateur astrophotographer, I live in a town near Rome, Guidonia Montecelio.  As a job I am a train driver for the Rome metro.



How my Astro journey began

Since I was a child I have always had my eyes turned towards the sky, also inspired by the dark sky of my hometown, Sambuci, a small urban center of thousand residents located in the hills on the outskirts of Rome.

My father gave my brother a small telescope and as soon as I put my eyes on the eyepiece I was breathless, I was observing the moon …. And there was born the love for the sky.  Finally in 2001, with my first salary, I decided to give myself my first telescope, a small refractor, the Mars 3 (102/500) placed on a small equatorial mount that can be motorized in R.A., the Eq2.  This is how I began my adventure to discover the stars of the sky.  When I started there was not all the technology we have now, I am talking mainly about digital cameras or even the wide choice of sensors we have today.  After a period of visual observations I decided I wanted to immortalize the wonders of the sky also to be able to show them to my family and friends .. so I took an analogue reflex, a yaschica and I began to photograph above all the moon.  I then acquied my first digital camera, a Nikon coolpix 3000 with which I took my first shots of both the planets and the first nebulae.  I was lucky enough to immortalize the transit of the planet Venus on our star on 8 June 2004;  it was a memorable day, to see that little mole move on the yellow disk of the sun !!!

As my interest in photographing the sky grew, so did my setup.  The turning point was when I bought my equatorial mount with synscan and motorized in both axes, the new skywatcher 80 refractor telescope and it is the Baader modified Canon 350 D reflex camera for shooting the sky.  Here I began to get my first interesting works, also because over the years interesting software for the enterprise and for the elaboration of the acquired frames had come out. 

Finally in 2018 I had the opportunity to buy the first dedicated sensor, a CMOS, the zwo Asi 294 MC, a cooled astronomical camera.  In addition to the skywatcher 80ned I also bought a reflector, the sw 254/1200.  Thanks to the release of software enhanced for processing, to increasingly better filters I have managed to immortalize many subjects and also to have awards both on the digital sites of the sector and in digital and paper magazines such as Coelum which here in Italy is one of the most prestigious astronomy magazines.


 A big thank you goes to you at Optolong for studying daily ways to make the life of us amateur amateurs as simple as possible, living in urban centers with light pollution that is getting worse every year.

 In fact, with the purchase of the L-Pro filter and then later the l-exstreme I was able to obtain well-made images that have been recognized with publications and APODs of various Italian and foreign sites.




 As I said initially, I started my passion many years ago and I had the opportunity to move from the analogue era to the digital era.  My first camera was a yashica fx3, then later I switched to the first digital cameras and bought a Nikon Coolpix 4300 where I was able to start getting nice results of the lunar surface and the sun.

 Subsequently I took a Canon EOS 30D but I had the need to have a modified camera almost immediately in fact in the used market I bought a Canon EOS 350. Here the combination with my skywatcher 80ED gave me a lot of satisfaction.  The next step was to switch to an instrument with better optical and mechanical qualities, so I put my skywatcher on the second-hand market by purchasing the William Optics Gran Turismo 81 more. Instrument I still own, along with my trusty skywatcher 200P f4 .

As a camera I have a zwo Asi 294 mc, Optolong L-Pro and L-eXtreme filters. As a mount I have an old modified eq6.  The changes made were the increased counterweight bar, and I replaced the sprockets with the rowan kit.  




Below I will show my first photographi shots, it was the year 2008 and I was just at the beginning, the snapshots you see are the result of su much passion, energy, but also of so little experience, both in the acquistion 11 and in the post-processing. 






Skywatcher 254/1200 on Eq6.      Skywatcher 200/800 f4 on Eq



William Optics 81 GT






Jupiter, Saturn, and Moon taken with the skywatcher f5 and Asi 224






M51 with L-Pro filter.            M101 with L-Pro and L-eXtreme for Ha signal




M1 with L-eXtreme filter and newton 254/1200





M16 with my telescope newton f5 and asi 294 and L-eXtreme filter




Galaxy NGC4565 or Galaxy pin with L-Pro and 254/1200





M20(Trifid nebula) and VDB 141 (Ghost nebula) with my Newton telescope f5





IC 410 and IC 1848 with skywatcher 80ED and asi 294, with Optolong L-eNhance filter





NGC4631 and NGC4656 with 200P and Optolong L-Pro filter.   NGC 6960 with my Newton and Optolong L-eXtreme filter.




M106 and NGC4217 with Newton 200P, Optolong L-Pro    M97 and M108 wtih 200P, Optolong L-Pro filter




WR134 with my Newton telescope 200P f4, Optolong L-eXtreme




NGC 7635 and M52 with newton 200P; Optolong L-eXtreme filter




M42 nebula with my William Optics 81gt, Optolong L-Pro and L-eXtreme filters (Ha)




Me and William Optics telescope GT81




In recent years I have done some collaborations with amateur astronomers, adding shots of the same subject and them elaborated by me. I have also undertaken some procession work for some of my amateur friends who pass me their shots to be able to process them with my workflow. Here are some shots. 

M45 born from the fusion of the shots taken by me and my amateur friend Riccardo Sgaramella. Photo with Optolong L-Pro filter



IC 4592, shots taken by my friend Luca Marinelli and processing performed by Me




NGC 7000, shots taken by my friend Emmanuele Neri and processing performed by Me. 



In 1998, unfortunately, I was not lucky enough to immortalize the comet Hale-Boop because I still didn't have any means available, there was the passion but not the money to be able to buy the equipment. Fortunately, in July 2020 there was another wonderful comet, the C / 2020 F3 Neowise, and this time I didn't miss the opportunity by capturing it with my Canon 30D and my 18-50 lens from the skies of the lake. 





On June 8, 2004, just three years after the beginning of my passion, there was a very rare event, the transit of the planet Venus in front of the disk of our star. Also on this occasion I did not miss the event and with my first telescope, the small refractor 102/500 and my Nikon coolpix 4300 I immortalized this amazing astronomical event. 

Transit of Venus on the Sun with my telescope with astrosolar filter





Particular where we see the disk of the planet Venus flying over the majestic Sun.




In 2006 I also took the partial eclipse of the Sun and I created this nice photo where you can see the various phase of the eclipse. 



I hope to inspire many new neophytes to approach this magnificent world... Thank you. 

All Images Credit: Mirko Tondinelli