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John McCue

I graduated in astronomy from St. Andrews, then began teaching, mainly physics and maths. For many years I taught O level Astronomy classes, becoming GCSE, as an extra-curricular activity, which developed into the Cleveland Astronomical Society for Schools in 1979. Adults gradually took over the society, but I kept on with the astronomy school classes! While teaching full time and raising a family, I studied at Teesside university part-time, gaining an M.Sc. in Applicable Maths (second year project dealt with a self-written method of satellite orbit determination and a study of Skylab - we predicted its descent!) and a Ph.D. in Mathematical Astronomy looking at the evolution of the rotation of Venus. In 1994 our society opened a public observatory on Wynyard Woodland Park near Stockton-on-Tees, and in 2000 we opened the Wynyard Planetarium close by, in partnership with Stockton Borough council and the European Union. I have been working for the Open University on Space Science modules since 2002 though I'm retired from mainstream teaching. I was Venus coordinator for the BAA from 1983 until 1990, and am now Double Star advisor.

Local society membership: Cleveland and Darlington AS and Whitby AS.

2019 Oct 6

2019 Oct 2

19:02 UTC

I visited a friend, Chris Walker, from the Cleveland and Darlington AS who has recently moved to the marvellously dark skies of the Mull of Galloway. We had two clear nights out of five, and studied several double stars discovered by the Rev. Thomas Espin who discovered 2,575 doubles. He famously had an observatory at Tow Law in the northeast (Co. Durham), not far from me, until his death in 1934.

2019 Jul 4

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