Under British Skies!
Under British Skies is broadcast live every 3rd Sunday of the month at 20:00 GM
The all-Brit team includes Richie Jarvis, Paul Harper, Iain Melville, Nick Howes, Sam Hawkins, Jenny Winder, and Nick Evetts. Scroll down to learn more about the hosts. Under British Skies is a monthly round-up of UK and European News, Views and Interviews. You can also catch repeats of the show on the following Monday, or download the latest version of the podcast.
Podcast Archive: List of Podcasts Here
We welcome your input into the show!
Contact email: firstname.lastname@example.org, Twitter: @underbritishsky
Richie Jarvis (aka @RichieDeepSky) founded Under British Skies in early 2010 and is a member of the AFM Board of Trustees. He is an IT guru by day and an amateur astronomer by night. Richie is also an experienced astrophotographer, whose images have been published in various astronomy magazines, both online and in print. Clear evenings are typically spent in his home observatory attempting to capture more data for his astrophotographs.
Richie has appeared twice on the BBC’s Sky at Night and once on BBC Stargazing Live, as part of the ‘backdrop’. He volunteers as a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) Ambassador at the Herstmonceux Observatory and Science Centre, where he runs the Meade 16″ LX200 in Dome C on Open Evenings. Richie also regularly gives talks at local astronomy societies.
Richie’s thoughts about interesting experiences as a UBS Skyguide:
- Watching Paul Harper visibly melt when Sir Patrick Moore wanted to sit-in on the second part of the Dr Chris Lintott interview at SPM’s house.
- Going over to the Mullard Space Science Laboratory and having a back-room tour with Dr. Lucie Green.
- Interviewing all the wonderful guests that UBS has had over the course of the last two years: Dr Chris Lintott, Dr Lucie Green, Dr Lucy Rogers, Dr Stuart Clark, Damian Peach, Paul Vanezis, Mark Thompson, Dr Mike Loucks, Dr Emily Baldwin, Geoff Notkin, Dr Simon Singh, Nick Howes, Dr Elizabeth Cunningham, Nik Szymanek, and Dr Robert Massey.
Paul (aka @HonorarySpock) joined the UBS team in February 2010, as one of the show’s original SkyGuides. He is also an AFM Facebook Manager and serves on the AFM Board of Trustees. Although Paul considers himself primarily an observer, friend and fellow SkyGuide, Richie Jarvis, has recently introduced him to the “darker path” of astrophotography.
Paul has been interested in astronomy since the Moon landing in 1969, when his parents allowed him to watch it at 4am in the morning. In 1997, he joined the Croydon Astronomical Society and within the first year became the outreach secretary, a position he has since held. Croydon AS has an observatory at RAF Kenley, which is regularly open to the public. For the last 6 years, Paul also served as chairman, until stepping down in 2011.
When he is not working in the city or spending time with his family, Iain is an amateur astronomer, who is particularly interested in astrophotography and astrometry, using both his and remotely-located telescopes.
Iain is a member of the British Astronomical Association and is on the committee at his local society, the South-West Herts Astronomical Society, where he has given several talks and advises upon the technical aspects of their equipment. He has also used the Faulkes telescopes to successfully provide follow-up astrometry on newly discovered asteroids and has obtained an internationally recognised observatory code for his own permanent observatory at his home.
Iain also enjoys the social aspects of astronomy, regularly attending star parties around the UK with his fellow cloud watchers. (He also pretends to play golf and the guitar, but not at the same time.)
Whilst his day job as a software test analyst and his young family consume most of his time, Nick is also employed by the European Space Agency as a science writer and by the Faulkes Telescope Project as a Program Manager coordinating amateur work with the two £5million telescopes in Hawaii and Australia.
Nick has also found a way to squeeze in writing over the past six years, for magazines such as Astronomy Now, Practical Photographer, and Astronomy, as well as being a co-host of Under British Skies. Nick’s astro imaging work has been used by National Geographic, Discovery Channel, BBC’s Stargargazing Live/Sky At Night/News/ Sky and Telescope, BBC News, and NASA’s Website and Jet Propulsion Laboratory teams.
In 2010, Nick made international headlines with his co-discovery of the split in comet C2007/Q3, and this year he mentored a student on a project where he and his team discovered over twenty previously uncatalogued asteroids. Nick was the team leader for the Guinness World Record image of the Moon, taken in 2009 at the home of Sir Patrick Moore. He also serves on the committee of Wiltshire Astronomical Society and acts as a consultant for the GEO Observatory in Andalucia, Spain.
A fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society, Nick is currently working on comet recovery and detection programs with Faulkes telescope and recently was part of a prestigious scientific Journal paper on Comet Hartley, whilst working with the Italian CARA comet research group.
As if all that were not enough, Nick has also been working with European South Observatory’s Very Large Telescope team, imaging massive star clusters, and this year will start work on the ground-based telescope support for an upcoming comet lander mission, as well as exoplanet projects with ESO and testing of a new network of telescopes around the world. He appeared on BBC’s Blue Peter in 2012 supporting the Stargazing Live event, and his image data and image processing featured extensively on the 2011 shows.
Prior to writing for the astronomy and space industry, Nick wrote for various music technology magazines and worked for eight years as the head of testing at Yamaha’s Research and Development facility in London, after several years prior heading up their European product planning section for computer music products.
Anecdote - During the 2009 World Record attempt, which Nick led at the home of Sir Patrick Moore, Sir Patrick came out to the garden and sat with him, watching as the team worked on capturing over 1.1 million frames of video for the composite final image. Sir Patrick knew the Moon like the back of his hand, having provided the maps for NASA and the USSR during the 1960s Space Race. Desperate for the toilet, after sitting in the cold for hours imaging, Nick then had Sir PM telling him exactly which craters he was imaging, adding pressure to what had already been quite a fraught day with equipment problems, etc. When it all got too much, Nick dashed off indoors, before he’d finished his imaging run to “attend to nature’s call,” came back 5-minutes later to find that his scope position was out, then reset it, resulting in a huge missed “Death Star” trench in the section he was imaging. Fortunately, the stunning efforts of the other team members and huge overlaps they had factored in covered up this area, and the image went on to become the largest ground-based image ever taken of the Moon.
Nick is a comet, lunar, and planetary observer whose favorite deepsky objects are Arp galaxies & M82. (His ambition is to, one day, use Patrick Moore’s 15″ Reflector!) He is currently reading Astronomy,Cosmology, Geology, and Meteorology through the Open University. Nick is also a member of Skywarn UK, the RSGB, and the BAA. Nick’s other interests include amateur radio, cooking, home-brewing, gardening, hill-walking, music, reading, scouting, sea fishing, and the weather.
Jenny (aka @astrojenny) is a science writer who joined the UBS team in January 2012. She has been hooked on both music and astronomy ever since her father took her to her first opera and showed her Saturn through a telescope when she was just five-years-old. Jenny prefers binoculars and her Newtonian Dobsonian telescope to today’s more complex technology; in fact, she is content to simply ponder the science of the Universe as she navigates the night sky. Jenny is also a student of the Open University, with a primary focus on particle physics and astrophysics, as well as a harpist, singer, and avid reader.