A nice evening out at Seething

As many of you know, I work for Asperger East Anglia; I sell books, operate the Society’s social media feeds and run the “Adults with Asperger” social group at Beccles.

I am also a member at Norwich Astronomical Society and have been for over four years, joining not long after I started attending the social groups. During that time, I have progressed to being part of a group of volunteers at Norwich Astronomical Society who help out and give talks at public outreach events. We host cub scout packs, schools and various special interest groups, so it seemed only logical to take the Asperger group along on a group visit.

I would like to thank my fellow club members Paul Webb, Andy Robertson, Steve Hubbard, Jeff Simpson, Paul Brocklehurst, Chris Greenfield and Shaun Reynolds for their help on Wednesday evening. In fact in all three capacities – Norwich Astronomical Society club member, Asperger East Anglia employee and adult with ‪‎Autism – I was please with support from my fellow group visit volunteers. It’s SO nice to see people who care turning out to further the Club’s aims of outreach to various groups as well as the general public :D

I would also like to thank the group members who provided transport for those without it and for those of my colleagues and fellow service-users who were involved in the planning of this visit. It shows that having Asperger Syndrome does not have to mean being isolated and also how we can organise events as well as anybody else.

And a reminder for people living in or near Beccles: if you are over 18 and have Asperger Syndrome or HFA and would like to meet others like yourself, why not come to our group meetings? A formal diagnosis is not required. We meet twice a month and have a stay-in-and-chat meeting at the end of the month and a go-out-and-do-stuff meeting at the beginning; there is a similar group for the Norwich area. Details can be found on the Asperger East Anglia website.

Andy Robertson talking on telescopes and equipment
Equipment Talk

The helpers who made the visit possible
The helpers who made the visit possible

Me – with both badges around my neck :)

A small telescope, close-up
A small telescope, close-up

Setting up for the talk
Setting up for the talk

Paul Webb talking an introduction to astronomy:
An introduction to astronomy

Images courtesy of Chris Greenfield (@chris_greenf)

(By: Martin Howe)

Birds of Beccles Marina and other Stories

I had a very interesting walkabout on Wednesday 14th January in Worlingham and Beccles. I saw many things, especially a huge flock of various birds having a feeding frenzy at Beccles Marina and even photographed some swans in flight at Worlingham!

There are far too many sets and images to post here and they’re on Facebook if you want to see them in full, so links to the posts on Facebook are given below, along with some preview images.

I haven’t enjoyed myself so much in years :D

The Underworld of the Stars!

Final call for anyone interested in astronomy:

Tonight and tomorrow night at Norwich Astronomical Society at Seething in Norfolk: The Underworld of the Stars. Hear how stars died so you could live and maybe see some dead stars!

A public talk at Norwich Astronomical Society

Supernova over Happisburgh Soon
Beccles has no astronomy club of its own but many of us go to Norwich Astronomical Society at Seething, near Ditchingham. Did you know that they have public lectures and observing sessions during the winter? The next one is 6th and 7th February at Seething Obervatory (address below).

If you ever wondered what happens to stars when they run out of fuel, you can find out then and if the weather is clear, observe some dead stars that very night!

  • Why is it that some stars end their lives in huge explosions and some fade away, yet both leave behind beautiful clouds of gas with in some cases very intricate patterns?
  • How is it that a dying star can simply vanish into a hole in space or leave behind a radio beacon more accurate than a digital clock?
  • How do dead stars create the components for organic life or become the seeds for entire galaxies?
  • And how are some stars stillborn, never to shine at all?

I talk through the lives and deaths of stars, why we wouldn’t live unless stars died and about the future of our own Sun as it goes gentle into that good night.

Oh and it’s my first public talk, so I hope you like it :)

Seething Observatory, Toad Lane, Thwaite St Mary, Norfolk, NR35 2EQ.


First Light

Well, after wanting to improve my terrestrial photography and start astronomy imaging as well, I finally bought a DSLR camera: Olympus E410 with Zuikon 17.5-45mm lens, £95 on eBay including P&P. I would have been quite happy with a bridge camera, if it wasn’t for the astronomy angle.


My first images were of cats, of course :)

Seething Obervatory
Seething Observatory 1/3
Seething Obervatory
Seething Observatory 2/3
Seething Obervatory
Seething Observatory 3/3

That’s it for now, but here’s hoping for many more in the future.

Oh and I forgot to mention the good evening on Thursday demonstrating a telescope at a group visit to the Observatory: saw Orion Nebula and Comet Lovejoy through multiple instruments :D The visitors were pleased too.


Sorry no image macro, I just made that up :)

Seriously though, I joined matchmaking website ingeeklove to look for love. One starts with a trial membership, but get this: as a trial member I cannot apparently respond to emails at all.

It’s one thing to have limited functionality for a trial account, but surely responding to an email from another user is essential functionality; it’s like test driving a car without brakes :P

So if one sends an email and receives no reply on one of these websites, the other person is not necessarily ignoring you; they may be deciding whether it’s worth the money. Especially in the case of ingeeklovetwice as expensive as most of the others.

I really must post a variant of my profiles on this website soon :)

Loving Comet Lovejoy

Finally, a break in the clouds here at Worlingham; 8×40 binoculars, averted vision, street lights and the Moon. But I saw Comet Lovejoy as faint fuzzy patch! Got a view of Jupiter and some of its moons also.

I am pleased, as there was so much cloud, it wasn’t worth setting up the telescope and I have been amazed at what I can see with 8×40 binoculars. Wish it had been like that at the Astronomy club yesterday when I had the telescope ready to set up.

Into The Heart of Darkness

Skies were full of cloud, so no Orion nor Comet Lovejoy, but had a good chat or two at Norwich Astronomical Society tonight.

Meanwhile, my walk photographs are up and ready. Now I really must go to bed or I shall turn into a werewolf :)

Into The Heart of Darkness:
Experimental shots taken without decent low-light sensitivity.

Worlingham at Dusk:
My first walk of 2015; varied subjects seen along the way.
Last Moonrise of 2014

A quiet morning, An active afternoon, An … evening?

Tidying up some old scripts on the computer this morning; was easier than I thought, but had to be done; some stuff I still use to launch video games!

This afternoon I went out on my usual half-walk, down to the Waveney River and back; this time taking my camera tripod, which just fits in my pack, even if it does stick out a bit. My phone is still being repaired but I have a 14yo compact, a Canon Digital Ixus 300 and it still does the job. I will post my “findings” on Facebook later on, but am off to the astronomy club soon in the hope of catching Comet Lovejoy before the clouds roll in! I am also looking at 2nd hand DSLRs on eBay at the moment; a bridge camera would be OK except for the astronomy.

Here’s a taster:


Happy New Year

I’ve had an interesting but mostly good 2014. First job in over 10 years, first time as an adult in a romantic relationship*, first time using a tripod to take serious photographs and first time lecturing to groups at the Astronomy club. Let’s hope 2015 is a year of building on foundations.

*Hope to find #2 in the new year, but might as well enjoy being single – though I hope it won’t last too long ;)

Final thoughts for 2014 – well I got the last sunset and the last moonrise, maybe I’ll see Orion and Comet Lovejoy tonight, Great British Weather permitting :)

Last Moonrise of 2014