"It is clear to everyone that astronomy at all events compels the soul to look upwards, and draws it from the things of this world to the other" - Plato in The Republic
It is currently a great time for comet watching in the skies above the UK. Whilst Comet C/2012 S1 ISON has had a difficult encounter with the sun in recent days, Comet C/2013 R1 Lovejoy is proving to be a lovely visual target, brightly visible in binoculars or a small telescope high in the northern sky with a faint hint of a tail visible. I haven't yet successfully observed Comet ISON but the winter skies have already provided an opportunity to see one bright display of aurora borealis and I'm hoping to get in some more observing before Christmas. During a stay on the west coast I did observe and photograph Comet C/2013 R1 Lovejoy (right) and hope to make further visual sightings during December.
21st November 2013 - Latest Observing Report
Whilst at University I became a keen amateur astronomer, interested in a variety of different areas including deep sky targets, the planets and Moon, comets and phenomenon closer to home such as Noctilucent Clouds and the Aurora Borealis. I have two telescopes - an 8" Newtonian reflector (pictured right) and a 3.5" apochromatic refractor and the majority of the reports found in my Observations Log, which contains images, information and observing reports, were made with these 'scopes.
Whilst at University I was a member of the Durham University Astronomy Society serving as both Obs Officer (2004-2005) and President (2006-2007). The Society Website contains a lot of information as well as articles and observing reports.
Now living in Aberdeen I have been a member of Aberdeen Astronomical Society since September 2007. I have been out to the society's darksky observing site to the north-west of Aberdeen, and hope to make more use of this for both visual observing, and for astrophotography.
To see all my blog postings related to astronomy please click here.
Since becoming interested in astronomy I have tried my best to observe some of the more special and unique events and targets that have cropped up in the skies over the UK. These are reports from some of the best.
Partial Solar Eclipse - 4th January 2011
Total Lunar Eclipse - 21st December 2010
Total Lunar Eclipse - 3rd March 2007
Partial Lunar Eclipse - 8th September 2006
Partial Solar Eclipse - 29th March 2006
Comet C/2006 A1 Pojmanski - 1st March 2006
Nova RS Ophiuchi - 15th February 2006
There are many different aspects to the study and enjoyment of the night sky and this section collects information on my primary interests.
Noctilucent Clouds - images and observations of this summer phenomenon
Aurora Borealis - images and observations of the Northern Lights
Iridium Flares - images and observations of man-made satellites flaring in the dark
Atmospheric Optical Phenomenon - generally interesting things in the (daytime) sky such as rainbows and sundogs
See the articles I have written on this page
Details of all the observations I have made, organised and indexed, since starting out with my own telescope - more
A page giving details of my astronomical equipment, including telescope, binoculars and digital camera - more
The gallery contains a collection of various astronomy related images ranging from constellations to Deep Sky targets - more
A mystery for the short summer nights - look out for these beautiful ethereal clouds that are still being understood by scientists - more
Our nearest neighbour in space and one of the most enticing objects in the sky - get lost in its craters, valleys and mountains - more
Watch the interaction between sunlight and ice crystals as they form intricate and beautiful patterns above us - more
Dazzling bursts of sunlight in the middle of the night are produced by satellites gliding overhead - more
A collection of useful websites and resources relating to my various interests in astronomy arranged in categories - more