Tiverton and Mid Devon
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We're on Facebook!
and Mid Devon Astronomy Society is now on Facebook.
Because Facebook is easy to access on the move (for those owning a smartphone)
we plan to use our Facebook page to keep people updated on events and
observing sessions, the details of which can change at short notice. In
addition, we will use it to post and discuss any news or events of an
astronomical nature, and encourage you to join in!
Tiverton & Mid Devon AS is an enthusiastic and friendly group who meet
regularly for talks, social events and night sky observing sessions. Our
aim is to encourage people of all ages and abilities and from all walks
of life to learn about the wonders of our Universe. Please come along and
try one of our meetings without obligation.
Previous knowledge of astronomy is not necessary. We are a member of the
Federation of Astronomical Societies (FAS).
One year's membership costs £14, or £10 for senior citizens or if unwaged.
Those under the age of 18 and in full-time education go free. Everyone is
welcome to come along to our meetings - non-members will be charged £2
at the door (deductible on taking membership). Please note fees are due
Two of our members, Keston and Pete, began producing our bi-monthly newsletter,
STARDIS, in the autumn of 2014. You can find all available issues
here in PDF.
A brief history...
Tiverton Astronomy Society began in 1985, when Graham West convened a gathering
of people in the town interested in the subject. Regular meetings
began, often with visiting speakers who have covered a wide range of topics
from Planetary Geology to Astrology, and from The Soviet
Space Programme to Observing the Moon. Visits to other societies
and observatories have also been arranged.
Run informally for many years, the society has grown particularly strongly
since the turn of the century. Early in 2000 it became formally constituted.
Our telescope's history
At the time of the society's inauguration Douglas Rice, a teacher at Blundell's
School, had recently discovered a fine 8" Newtonian
telescope belonging to the school. With the help of a pupil, Nicholas Wood,
and advice from Patrick Moore, he restored the instrument to working order.
It was built about 1910, is extremely solid with a tube 7 ft long, and is
very user-friendly (if you don't mind climbing a step-ladder).
The telescope has been at Blundell's
since at least the Second World War. For some years it was situated on the
Blundell's clock tower, where it tended to be used by the boys for spying
activities! With the school's support the instrument was re-housed in a
wheel-off shed near Milestones (now Blundell's
Prep School) on Blundell's road (see map). For 15
years it has been the focus for public observing
sessions as well as seeing use by pupils and local groups. These days
several members also bring their own modern instruments to these sessions.
President Douglas Rice
Co-founder of the Society at the time of Halley’s Comet in 1986,
Douglas was Chairman for 28 years and still finds astronomy fascinating!
Chairwoman Angela Cousins
I joined Tiverton and Mid Devon Astronomy Society as a complete novice
in 1996. Since then I have been on a ‘vertical learning curve’
and have developed a passion not only for astronomy but for sharing it with
others, too. I have been on the society’s committee since its inception
in 1999. I was Secretary for 10 years, Treasurer last year and recently
returned to my long standing role of Programme Co-ordinator; this time with
some great contributions from other members. I have organised and supported
many society events over the years and secured us a Lottery Grant to buy
some lovely telescopes. It was an honour
to take on the role of Chairwoman in 2014 when Douglas stepped down.
Treasurer David Brabban
I have been involved with the society since Douglas Rice and I began to
work to refurbish the Blundell's School telescope
many years ago. At that time I was teaching physics at the school after
a few years in universities doing research on the Sun and other things astronomical.
Retirement in 2006 gave me more time to attend society meetings and to look
after the finances.
Secretary Chris Haughton
I am a very keen yachtsman and during my 37 years’ Army service qualified
as a RYA Yachtmaster Ocean, which involves astro-navigation and this sparked
my interest in astronomy. I am not a particularly active observer but am
intrigued by the vastness of the universe and how we are still learning
more about it all the time.
Additionally Douglas Rice, our President, is my next door neighbour and
he inveigled me into joining the Society!
Events Co-ordinator Joanne Richardson
I have held an interest in space since childhood, however it wasn’t
until I met my husband Pete in 2005 that this developed into more than just
Between us in 2010, we built a small observatory at our home in North Somerset,
from which Pete has become quite well known for his astrophotography!
In addition to Tiverton and Mid-Devon Astronomy Society I am also heavily
involved in several other South West Astronomy Groups, namely Wells and
Mendip and the Charterhouse Observatory Steering Group. I co-ordinate all
their public events and work not only with them but also alongside agencies
such as the National Trust and Exmoor National Park bringing astronomy and
space education to the masses.
I also own and run a small business called “Space Detectives”
which delivers space workshops in schools, community groups and public events.
My main focus is very much on Space Outreach Education and I have always
held the belief that if I manage to inspire people to just “look up”
and see the wonder of what is above them, then my work is wholly worthwhile!
Website, A/V Nick Markell
The excitement and adventure of mankind's exploration of the cosmos, and
particularly of the planets, has fascinated me from a young age. My father,
a pilot in the RAF and in civil aviation, encouraged my interest in space
and aeronautics by providing many books on these subjects. Attending Blundell's
from the age of 13, I joined both Douglas's Astronomy activity and the Astronomy
Society (which met in the school's Ondaatje Hall at the time).
I chose to read Astronomy and Geology at university (my dissertation was
based on the volcanic Tharsis region of Mars), during which years
I was absent from the club. Upon returning to Tiverton in the late ninties
I rejoined the society and, like Angela, became a member of the committee
when it formed.
Publicity John Parratt
I have been interested in astronomy since I was 8 years old, living in
Hackney, London. The toilets were outside, in the back yard. One night I
happened to look up into the night sky and saw hundreds of bright lights,
some brighter than others; I was over whelmed, rushed back indoors and asked
my dad what they were – he told me they were stars.
I tried to find out more on stars by asking my teacher, who thought I was
young to ask about astronomy, but suggested going to a library. I was told
by the librarian to come back when I was older; although I did look at some
astronomy books, I could not understand them and there weren't many photographs.
It was not until 1981 after leaving the Army that my love for astronomy
came back, when I saw the Sky at Night TV show. I joined a local society
and was instrumental in helping the society build their 20-inch telescope.
I built several other telescopes after that; today I have 12-inch reflector
mounted on NEQ6 computer mount on a pillar housed in a self-made observatory,
which I use for visual observing and astrophotography (deep sky). I also
have a Celestron XLT 9.25 Cassegrain telescope F10 which goes on EQ5 driven
mount; this I use for viewing and imaging the planets.
The best way to contact us if you have any queries is via e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can also call a member of the committee if you wish; our telephone numbers
are listed below.
| You can also contact us by e-mail.
How to find us
For directions, please find us on Google Maps: visit maps.google.co.uk
and type in the school's postcode, EX16 4NA. The school is on the south
side of Blundell's Road. The school's full address is: Blundell's Preparatory
School, Blundells Road, Tiverton, Devon, EX16 4NA.