Len Entwisle has brought it to my attention that David Pettitt passed away on the 14th January at the age of 80. The Border Astronomical Society – which he founded – have a tribute to him here, from where you can view a 22MB mp4 video of David with his friends and colleagues.
David was known to many for his JBAA paper on ‘A Fluxgate Magnetometer’ (J. Brit. Astron. Assoc., 94(2), 55-61 (1984)) and he led the Magnetometry Group of the BAA’s Aurora Section. He was also an active observer of asteroidal occultations from his Carlisle observatory, obtaining a positive recording of the asteroid (112971) 2002 RA20 occulting the star TYC 2865-00415-1 on 2014 December 2nd.
He attended the BAA Weekend Meeting in Dundee last September and page 381 of the 2016 December Journal carries a photo of him in conversation with Len on the flat observing roof of the Mills Observatory. (David is in the centre, just above the lower edge of the photo). I last met him at the Observers’ Workshop – Asteroids and Remote Planets, a fortnight later.