"Ah, but a man's reach should exceed his grasp, Or what's a heaven for?" - J. Robert Browning
I have always been interested in Astrophysics, and Fundamental Particles which existed at the energy levels at the beginning of the Universe, but over years I have become increasingly interested in astronomy as a topic in its own right. I would like to thank many astronomers for the advice and knowledge they have passed on to me, and hope that anyone reading this section who wishes to pursue either astronomy as an interest further, or to find out more about astrophysics can use the contacts in this page.
|Dr. Patrick Moore and myself in the USA (see below)|
Astronomy clubs cater for a wide range of ages and interests - a list of some of the clubs and their meeting times can be found in magazines such as "Astronomy Now"", which have electronic versions on the web. I joined my "local" club which is the < ahref="www.wessex-astro-society.freeserve.co.uk">Wessex Astronomical Society, based in Wimborne. By joining a club you can hear lectures on different aspects of astronomy; you can learn how to make your own telescope at a small cost, such as that described by Steve Tonkin, in his "Telescopes from Bog Bits and Bean Tins" lecture. I have attended some of the "field days" at the Worth Hill Observatory of David Strange. David has welcomed the A level physics students studying the astrophysics section to his observatory which houses a twenty-inch telescope with CCD-imaging. He also runs observing holidays on his superb dark site overlooking the south coast, and now has further facilities for lectures, so if any teachers wish to learn more about astronomy it is worthwhile finding out further details.
I have also visited the Sidmouth Observatory with the school. This has telescopes of historical interest, and an improved planetarium. It is open to the public, at least during the summer months, and by appointment for evening viewing and lectures throughout the year.
During one of my summer holidays I stayed at the Madogs Wells Observatory in Powys, which has a sixteen inch telescope housed in an observatory with a roll-off roof. Whilst waiting for your turn at the telescope it is interesting to do some naked-eye viewing - and to include the many satellites which pass over our skies.
Observatory at Mount Palomar
The view from the 4 metre telescope at Kitt Peak
|Click on the photographs to see larger images|
A further holiday was spent on an "Explorers" tour of the "Great Astronomical Observatories of the USA" , which was lead by Dr John Mason, and Dr Patrick Moore. This tour included the Griffiths, Mount Wilson, Palomar, Kitt Peak, and Lowell Observatories, and also viewed the Berringer meteor crater. I have read about many of the discoveries made at these observatories, but without Patricks incredible knowledge and recall I would have found it difficult to put each into perspective as we went through the visits. The photographs show some of the observatories, which can be seen on many of the television programmes, and their telescopes. The picture further up the page is of the "Hawaiian shirts competition"!
My own site suffers from some light pollution for observing, so I often use sources on the web such as those linking to the Hubble Space Telescope. However the picture below shows the school telescope used for producing a back-projection picture of the 1996 solar eclipse - this is the only safe way to view a solar eclipse with a telescope.
|Issac Newton Group of Telescopes|
|National Optical Astronomical Observatories|
|Worth Hill Observatory|
|The Galileo Mission|
|The Goddard Space Flight Centre|
|The High Energy Astrophysics Science Archive Research Centre|