I have been interested in astronomy since I can remember. I used to gaze up at the night sky and wonder how it all fitted together. That puzzle didn’t start to unravel properly until the age of 9 when I suddenly “discovered” The Plough for myself. Once I had a start on the sky I gradually learnt my way around the visible constellations and learning the positions of all the “Celestial Lollypops” like the Messier objects. I started observing with some old 10×50 binoculars gradually moving onto a small refractor bought by my parents for Christmas. Living in North London I first met other kindred souls at South West Herts Astronomy Society but the distance of their meetings and being too young to drive, meant I could only attend a few meetings. One look at Saturn through their large reflector had me hooked even more. I was also a member of Hampstead Scientific Society for a while and was an assistant at their observatory on the heath using a fabulous 6″ Cooke refractor. From my time here I learnt a lot from other members. As a teenager my attention was directed elsewhere but my interest in astronomy was rekindled in 1985 when, as a newly married man and with my daughter well on the way, Halley’s comet returned and I bought my first serious scope, a 3 inch refractor.
In 1987 I established the Bedford Astronomical Society which has been a successful and flourishing society ever since.
I was Editor of the Handbook of the Federation of Astronomical Societies for a few years and I was elected a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society in 1996. I have a degree in Biology, recently training as a science teacher, obtaining a PGCE. I am currently working as a Research Scientist for a small diagnostics company in Sharnbrook, Bedfordshire and also look after their IT infrastructure.
I spend a lot of my spare time observing and imaging as well as concentrating on my other hobbies of Natural History and Photography as well as learning how to use software to process my images. I am also a member of Northampton Natural History Society.
I have now established my own permanent observatory where the convenience of opening up and almost instantly observing makes the hobby even more enjoyable. Unfortunately living where I do provides me with a constant battle against the scourge of light pollution. Two street lights that shine directly into the garden give me lots of grief.
I have written articles for many of the British astronomy publications and supplied images to illustrate astronomy articles for photographic magazines. I have also appeared regularly on local radio discussing many aspects of astronomy. In 2013 my first astronomy book was published by Springer.
I also give talks and lectures on astronomy and spaceflight to schools, social groups, youth groups and astronomical societies or anyone else who is interested in finding out more about the night sky.
I especially enjoy trying to get others to get out and appreciate the sky and all its wonders.
Astronomy like all hobbies should be fun. So just get out and enjoy it.
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Eagles Eye On The Sky.