Section Director

Director profile – Mark McIntyre

My name is Mark McIntyre and I’m an astronomer and astrophotographer based in Oxfordshire, UK.

I was born in Scotland but grew up in rural Cheshire and then the middle of the North Yorkshire moors. I still remember my sister and I lying on a dark Yorkshire hillside one summer night, spotting meteors and satellites which were much rarer then. After A levels, University and then work drove me to London and Oxford where I’ve lived since the 1990s.

I first discovered my love of astronomy aged about nine when my parents bought me a cheap 3″ refractor with a wooden tripod and fork mount. It had a built in Barlow that promised magnificationsof 50-100x! As if…. I promptly dismantled the scope to find out how it worked and lost the Barlow! The scope sat, in pieces, in a box in the loft till I was 12 by which time I’d lost the tube and tripod too, victims of two house moves. However I realised that I could attach the objective, fork and focuser onto a bit of plastic drainpipe and by trial and error I found the right length. I then nailed the fork onto a fencepost – and with this monstrosity I first saw Saturn and its rings. There’s a picture of the contraption on my website https://www.markmcintyreastro.co.uk/

In 2011, thanks to NASA I met Mary and we have been married since 2016. We share a passion for astronomy (and rock music!) which we try to pass on to everyone we can. We have a garden observatory, a second outdoor pier and several scopes of various sizes and makes as well as several meteor-spotting cameras fixed permanently on site and feeding data to UKMON Live. During the major meteor showers we can be found out in the garden in deck chairs, cameras on auto and notepads in hand even in the depths of winter – though the summer Perseids are a bit less chilly! We can usually be found all the main astronomy conferences, and at the Solarsphere music and astronomy festival.

Sometimes Mary and I get competitive but it’s fun being married to someone who’s as crazy about the sky as I am !