About Me

I’m an astronomer and astrophotographer based in Oxfordshire, UK with my wife Mary and our many cats. We met through Astronomy and share a passion for the subject which we try to pass on to everyone we can. We have a garden observatory, a second outdoor pier and several scopes of various sizes and makes as well as several meteor-spotting cameras fixed permanently on site and feeding data to UKMON Live. Sometimes Mary and I get competitive but mostly its fun being married to someone who’s as crazy about the sky as I am!

Most of my images are on Flickr here and Facebook here but I also have a gallery on this site.  I’ve also done some work on calculating planetary observability – now extended to asteroids and comets – which is available on this site.

My first telescope

I first discovered my love of astronomy aged about nine, when my parents bought me a cheap 3″ refractor with a wooden tripod and fork mount. It had a built in barlow that promised magnificationsof 50-100x ! As if….

I promptly dismantled the scope to find out how it worked – and lost the barlow! Without it, the scope was of course useless so it got stuck in a cupboard and forgotten.

It wasn’t till i was 12 that it returned to it, by which time I’d lost the tube and tripod too. I found that I could attach the objective and focuser onto a bit of three inch drainpipe and by trial and error i found the right length. I then nailed the fork onto a fencepost –¬†and with this monstrosity I first saw Saturn and its rings. And was hooked…

I’ve since upgraded a bit. In the nineties I bought a 4.25″ newtonian from SCS Astro which went on holiday with us more than once. Family then ‘got in the way’ for a few years and it wasn’t till 2011 that I bought my 10″ Dob. I’ve since added an 8″ Richey-Cretien, 66mm William Optics Refractor and 50mm Coronado PST. The dob is now mounted on wheels and lives in a little shed in the garden, and the others live in our observatory with Mary’s scopes. The observatory scopes are computer controlled, though I still spend time in the cold getting things aligned and swearing at the computers when they go wrong.

Outside Astronomy, i’m a computer programmer, and i spend a lot of time tinkering with hardware and software. Present projects include using a raspberry pi to download weather maps from satellites, running Linux on an iMac, and running OpenVMS on both Linux (on the iMac!) and on a Raspberry Pi. I also enjoy gardening, woodworking, carpentry and vehicle maintenance though with modern cars its hard to do much more than reset the warning lights…