I have been an amateur astronomer for 21 years, starting in 1992. Since 1993, I have been (almost) exclusively observing the Deep Sky – the realms of deep space beyond the solar system containing galaxies, nebulae and star clusters. I am a visual observer only; I don’t use CCDs or DSLRs, only eyepieces and notebooks.
I’m currently working my way through the Herschel 2500 list as well as observing specific groups of objects; apart from the H2500 my current ‘specialties’ are Hickson Compact Galaxy Groups, Arp Galaxies, galaxy trios and galaxy clusters. I also like observing globular star clusters and planetary nebulae. Observing sessions centred round certain classes of object are also good for whittling the H2500 list down!
I do most of my observing from the back yard at home, near Sandown, which is on the Isle of Wight located off the South Coast of England, but I also do a lot of observing at star parties, including the Isle of Wight Star Party and the Texas Star Party, plus I have made trips to the Southern Hemisphere to observe.
I am a member of Vectis Astronomical Society, San Antonio Astronomical Association, the Webb Deep Sky Society and I am a member-at-large of the Astronomical League.
I like writing and I’ve written articles for the Webb Deep Sky Society‘s Deep Sky Observer, Amateur Astronomy magazine, our local club newsletter The New Zenith and the Australian astronomy forum Ice In Space. I also wrote the Webb Deep Sky Society’s observing handbook ‘An Introduction to Visual Deep Sky Observing‘, which was originally published in 1999. A revision of this is currently underway.
Over the years, I have used scopes ranging from small binoculars right up to a huge 48″ Dobsonian belonging to my friend Jimi Lowrey, of Ft. Davis, TX. My own scopes have included reflectors of 6″, 8.75″ and 12″ and I currently use an 18″ f/4.3 Dobsonian, made by UK premium scope maker David Lukehurst, as well as an 8″ f/4 Celestron Newtonian and 8×42 binoculars.
I live with my aunt, three dogs and two cats. I scrape a living by doing various seasonal and temporary jobs, which suits my lifestyle of observing and travelling quite well.