I’m Mell, an amateur astronomer from Norton, North Yorkshire (a small town on the other side of the river from Malton!). I have recently taken over the Section Directorship from Jeff Stevens and I hope to be able to carry on his fantastic work. Jon Harper is still assistant, and like Jeff, he has been an inspiration to me, not just in the world of occultations but in astronomy in general.
Some of you may already know me through an infamous event that happened during an asteroidal occultation…asteroid 1021 Flammario, 10 April 2005! I would have had a proper positive result had I started my stopwatch! My time keeper husband was, well, not quite up to scratch! Thank you Andrew, (well it was his birthday!)
I haven’t managed any more positive results, but have observed several negative results…which are just as important.
I have done numerous Lunar Occultations and even managed to do some timings for the lunar occultation of the Pleiades. I have also watched and photograped the Lunar Occultation of Saturn.
My interest in Astronomy started when I was young…cannot quite remember my age, but my sister and I no longer shared a room, no doubt my Mum could shed light on this! I remember watching the moon, night by night…on cloudless nights! And wondering why it wasn’t in the same place at the same time every night, or why some of it was light or all of it and some nights I never saw it at all! Then I saw the stars, figured out the plough and a ‘w’ shape, but never knew what they were called! I also recall observing a solar eclipse with my Dad, not sure when but the Sun was in the west and setting.
Having gone to college to study agriculture, I then moved to Malton to work with Pigs! (Although I now work as a seamstress altering wedding dresses!) I met a friend who happened to be interested in astronomy and from her I managed to locate the planets and renewed my interest in the stars and observed several comets. I then met my now Husband who also has an interest in astronomy. Together we bought our 1st telescope! I didn’t have a clue how to use it…we sold it, bought a 2nd hand reflector for £15, which we still have. We then went on holiday and bought and ETX. Shortly after this I found out about Scarborough & District AS, as it was then. Went to a public viewing night, joined, met Jon Harper and things went on from there! So it’s thanks to Jon for introducing me to Occultations!
Jon really has a lot to answer for! Sorry Jon. I now also have an observatory (once belonging to Jon) in my back garden, which my children love to use as much as I do…when we can!
Me in a nutshell….Astronomer, horse rider, cook, gardener, seamstress, Clarinetist, dog owner, wife and Mum to 2.
I am hoping to bring as much enthusiasm to the section as Jeff and to encourage you all to keep watching those distant astronomical bodies disappear or reappear from behind, slightly closer distant astronomical bodies!
In addition to receiving reports from existing Section observers, I’m also very keen to encourage anyone who is new to this particular branch of amateur astronomy. If you have never witnessed an occultation event before, then please do take a look at our lunar and asteroidal predictions pages to find out when the next event is due to take place. Occultations are fascinating events to observe; ranging from the stunning moment when a star disappears or reappears from behind the dark lunar limb, to those rare and incredible planetary occultations – once seen never forgotten.
If you are successful in observing an occultation event, then please do come and share your observation with us, either by emailing me directly via firstname.lastname@example.org, or by reporting your observation on the SPA’s on-line Observing Forum. If you wish to receive email alerts when the next occultation events are scheduled to take place, then please send me an email requesting this, and I will include you in the Occultation Section email list.
I look forward to hearing from you. Good luck and clear skies!