Diarmid's Observatory


diarmid.jpg (6259 bytes)My name is John and I've been invited to take up residence in the Wychwood Observatory so that I can guide you on magical journeys into the night sky.

Here is a little more about me:

I've been interested in Astronomy since I was 12 years old and am the current President of The Scarborough & District Astronomical Society. I am also a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society, here in England where I live, and a member of the British Astronomical Association. As I'm the Director of The Occultation Observing Section of The Society for Popular Astronomy (we observe stars being hidden by the moon as it passes in front of them), I would like to take this opportunity to invite you to visit the SPA web page at  www.u-net.com/ph/spa when you have time.

The stars have always indicated to our ancestors the times of the festivals and they still do to this day for those who will go out and look at the heavens away from the light pollution which can so often throw a veil which masks the splendours of the starry sky. Brilliant Arcturus, brightest star in the north celestial hemisphere, in line with the curve of the handle of the Big Dipper if you will follow it eastwards and down, is due south at midnight as dew forms at the Eve of Beltane ! The Pleiades or Seven Sisters "--- glitter like a swarm of fireflies tangled in a silver braid." (Tennyson) as they rise on the still autumn evenings around Mabon, then shine resplendent high in the south at the noon of night as the old year ends at Samhain !

" If to the heavens you lift your eyes
When Winter reigns o'er our Northern skies,
And snow-cloud none the zenith mars,
At Yule-tide midnight these your stars:
Low in the south see bleak-blazing Sirius;
Above him hang Betelgeuse, Procyon wan;
Wild-eyed to West of him, RIgel and Bellatrix,
And rudd-red Aldebaran journeying on.
High in night's roof-tree beams twinkling Capella;
Vega and Deneb prowl low in the North;
Far to the East roves the Lion-heart, Regulus;
While the twin sons of Zeus to'rd the zenith gleam forth.

But when Midsummer Eve in man's sleep-drowsed hours
Refreshes for daybreak its dew-bright flowers,
Though three of these Night-Lights aloft remain,
For nine, if you gaze, you will gaze in vain.
Yet comfort find, for, far-shining there,
See golden Arcturus and cold Altair;
Crystalline Spica, and, strange to scan.
Blood-red Antares, foe to man.

( from "Stars" by Walter de la Mare 1873 - 1956 )

If there are any questions about Astronomy that you would like to ask, or if there is anything you would like me to explain for you then please do not hesitate to e-mail me. I will try my best to give you an answer and/or explanation.

Here is my address: jonvran@aol.com

May you always have clear skies,

John Harper F.R.A.S

The Castle The Observatory