Maurice Gavin

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    Callum Potter

    I am sad to report today the news that Maurice Gavin passed away this morning after a short period of illness.

    Maurice joined the BAA initially in 1950 and re-joined in 1971. He was a member of Council for many years and President 1995 – 1996..

    He will be well remembered for his experimental and pionieering approach to observing, developing spectrograhps, home-constructed observatories and his videos of meetings and observing sessions. He was very engaged on internet forums where he was usually known as Nytecam.

    He will be sorely missed.


    Nick James

    That’s really sad news. Maurice was a great observer who always got into a field before anyone else did. I remember marvelling at his CCD images in the early days of the electronic era.

    Robin Leadbeater

    So sad news. It was seeing what Maurice was doing in spectroscopy  over 20 years ago that got me and many others into the field. The supernova spectroscopy work I am doing is a direct result of his measurements then and the prophecy he made when president that one day amateurs would be able to confirm and classify supernovae spectroscopically, which he lived to  see fulfilled. He was an important champion of spectroscopy, encouraging me and others personally and helping to build the popularity it has today. He will be sadly missed by that community internationally.


    Jeremy Shears

    Sad news indeed – the passing of a giant.

    It was Maurice’s pioneering CCD work in the 90s that encouraged me to start CCD imaging.


    John Thorpe

    Very sad to hear this news. Maurice was a great encouragement to me in the early 80s when I had a Sinclair Spectrum and was learning to program. He was organising a BAA computer user group at the time and welcomed my novice programs at an Exhibition Meeting.

    He will greatly missed.


    owen brazell

    Sorry to hear this as I remember long ago doing the nebular filter calibration work with him and one of his early spectroscopes.


    Martin Mobberley

    It’s certainly been a very grim 12 months indeed for the BAA, with the loss of so many fine observers, telescope makers and others. If I recall correctly Maurice was the first UK observer (around 1989/1990) to seriously use SBIG’s tiny ST4 autoguider CCD for imaging, despite its microscopic dimensions. This was in the era when a hard disk stored 30 Megabytes! How Maurice positioned the target onto the chip was a mystery! Pic attached of Tom, Guy, Nick H., me and Maurice at the Winchester Weekend on April 3rd 2004. Taken with my camera. Button pressed by Pete Seiden.


    Denis Buczynski

    Sad sad news. Maurice was a pioneer for amateurs a great observer and always a pleasure to work with. Nick James and my self were able to confirm his SN discovery in 2011 , he was pleased about that. His London home observatory was always active and ever changing as he incorporated new technology as it became available. he will be sorely missed by all in the BAA who knew him. Rip Maurice.

    Denis Buczynski

    Alan Dowdell

    I have just re read Maurices web pages which shows the range of work that he was involved in from Worcester Park. He was always taking the lead in many fields of work, computing , observatories , CCDs and spectroscopy. I first met him in the 1970s at the early start of the SAGAS meetings and then though TA and of course the BAA. He was always a a popular speaker to local societies and at Winchester weekend.I always enjoyed his wonderfully  drawn diagrams he used to get over his ideas. I always enjoyed speaking to Maurice to hear about his latest ideas or projects. He will be missed by all who knew him. 

    Nick Hewitt

    i am very sad to hear of Maurice’s death. He was such a nice man, very patient when helping me with my early use of CCDs, and a wise adviser during my presidency. A loss to the amateur astronomy observing community indeed.

    Damian Peach

    Very sad news. He really was a pioneer in the field of CCD imaging. I remember writing to him in 1997 when i started making my first steps into using CCDs and him writing back with plenty of useful advice. A great loss to the astronomical community.

    Andy Wilson

    Ron Johnson has sent us the following details of Maurice Gavin’s funeral.

    It will take place on Tuesday 26th June at Randalls Park Crematorium, Randalls Road, Leatherhead, Surrey, KT22 0AG, at 2.00 pm.

    Any flowers should be sent to the undertakers A. & E. Longhurst, Kingston Road, Ewell, KT17 2DX to arrive no later than 10.00 am on 26th June.

    Anyone who may wish to attend the gathering after the funeral at a hostelry in Malden Rushett, please let Ron Johnson know by e-mail so that he can let the family know for catering purposes.

    Simon Bradshaw

    I’ve only just seen this; I’m sad to learn of Maurice’s passing, as I remember him well from his enthusiasm for astronomical computing in the early days of the home computer era. I’ve still got some copies of APEX (the Astrocomputing Program Exchange) that he edited in the 1980s.


    Only just learnt of this very sad news. I got to know Maurice back in the 80’s, during the infancy of astronomical computing on the ‘home micro’. He was editor and contributor to APEX which had been set up primarily for the publication and exchange of computer programs of an astronomical nature, including ephemerides, telescope optics, and astronomical photography. I believe he was also co-founder of the group too. Many of you might remember his paperback, ZX Spectrum Astronomy, of which I still have my copy, and signed by him too.  For one reason and another, it was during this period, the second half of the eighties, that I got to know Maurice. There after we would often have a good chat at various astronomical meetings if we both happened to attend. Sadly, in recent years, I lost touch with Maurice, and despite attending more BAA meetings, I didn’t have the good fortune of seeing him. So this news come with great sadness for me. Maurice was a genuinely nice chap, and always willing to help the beginner. He will be very much missed. R I P Maurice


    I saw some references above to the very interesting publications that Maurice edited years ago, when microcomputers first appeared on the astronomical scene. If anyone has copies of these bulletins that they no longer want, we do not have anything like a complete set of them in the archives at the BAA Office. For some reason Section circulars were not always retained in the former Library, but what might have seemed common and even ephemeral at the time have become rare with the passage of time! And the same thing applies to the Artificial Satellite prediction sheets that were issued every fortnight or every week……

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