|MY ASTRONOMICAL LIFE SINCE
1967 (Fellow of the Royal Astronomical
embarked on my astronomical journey in 1967 when I started Hagley RC Secondary
School and noticed an observatory in a
garden near the school playing fields in the village of Churchill
After several attempts of knocking on the door of the owner and being
told to go away I was eventually allowed in to take a look. The
observatory was owned by Mr Brian Manning a noted discoverer of
who then took me under his wing along with my good friend Rowland
We joined the Kidderminster Astronomical Society where I had to
a travel 46 miles round trip by bus to the meetings, I was now 11
years old and very keen to observe and learn. My Grandfather bought
me a 2" Tasco Refractor for starters and at the age of 12 years
old I went on to build my own
6" Reflector grinding my own mirrors, building the skeleton tube and
butchering a microscope for an eyepiece.
We were living in Blackheath West Midlands at the time and the only
things I could really see were the Moon and Planets. On the odd
occasion I could see deep Sky objects as it was the time of the 3-day week and
power cuts which I looked forward to because it gave me really dark skies.
After leaving school 1973 I continued with astronomy and
Kidderminster Astronomical Society still using my 6" Telescope and
was getting quite proficient in the art of Astro Photography using
hypered film and dark room techniques. As time moved on
relationships, work in the music business and the IT sector forced
astronomy to take a back seat and eventually sadly had no place in
my life at this time.
In 1989 we moved to rural Shropshire and the first thing I did was
to go out and buy a 10" Astro Systems reflector and have it mounted
on a permanent pier in the centre of the garden, astronomy was again
high on my agenda with good dark skies and a beautiful setting.
I had a major accident later that year and ended up being unable to
work for over 12 months or get out to the telescope. It was around this time I looked for a local society to
join and found none listed in Shropshire. I set about forming the Whittington
Astronomical Society with the help and assistance of Sir Patrick
Moore, the society grew quickly with the help of my wife Sybil
and Daughter Sarah, we renamed the society to
Shropshire Astronomical Society which is still in existence
today. My work in astronomy started to make headways and had media
attention, to that end in 1994 I was elected a Fellow of the Royal
Astronomical Society hence FRAS.
In 1991 I set about building and founding the on line service
Starbase Four a bulletin board which exchanged early Astronomical
Shareware and early versions of email plus posting Astronomical
News. This was way before the internet and operated on direct dial
in. One of the first subscribers was Dr Brian May and many other
people who I am still in contact with today.
As time went on and work situations
changed with my work in the music business astronomy again had to
take a back seat but kept my hand in with observations whenever
possible and still wrote and had articles published in many journals.
In 2012 things changed as far as music was concerned enabling me to
concentrate on astronomy in earnest again. I went back to University
(home study) and
obtained full astronomical certification with UCLAN & Planetary
Geology with John Moors University. I purchased many new pieces of
equipment and found my new calling which is Solar Astronomy. Not
being one to sit on the sidelines I looked for work within the world
of astronomy and before long was presenting
BBC Radio Shropshire Eye On the Sky, a regular sky guide with
features for the beginner plus any other astronomical events the BBC
require. I have had many solar images to date published worldwide
and in some odd places such as a lifestyle magazine in Dubai.
I now do solar imaging workshops for organisations or the individual
and not just in the UK, I also have many images published in the
major Astronomical Journals and books around the globe plus I write
articles for publications when asked to do so.
In 2015 I created and built an internet based radio station entitled
and now have many people working as volunteers within the
organisation with sponsorship via
Star Party Ireland.
Astronomical & Music Festival is another one of my projects
along with my Daughter Sarah in which we try to bring the world of
astronomy and music together and in doing so introduce the world of
astronomy to a new audience whilst enthusing the young to take up
I still do the occasional bit of night time imaging and lunar work
but am not very proficient in that area. I have got a few Lunar,
Planetary images and Deep Sky shots on my
flickr page. I also still go out with the telescope and just
star hop to find objects in the night sky, not using any go to as I
find it much more fun finding the objects for yourself, I also find
it relaxing and calming to be out there in the heart of the natural
I am undertaking imaging consultancy with the Faulkes Telescope
Educational Project that has 2 metre, 1 metre and 0.4 metre class
telescopes across the globe in both northern and southern hemisphere
membership's are honorary member of 8 astronomical societies across
the UK & Ireland, member of the
Shropshire Astronomical Society and a
Fellow of The Royal
I am available for talks and workshops throughout the UK and Ireland
and always willing to offer advice via email and telephone. Please
take a look at my work on
flickr and if you like what I do or can see ways I can improve
let me know as feedback is always appreciated and we are all here to
help each other.
Thank you for taking the time to read my biography.