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Alex Pratt

My interest in astronomy was sparked by the American and Russian spaceflights in the 1960s, and being presented with books such as The Observer’s Book of Astronomy (Moore), A New Way to See the Stars (Rey) and Starlight Nights (Peltier).

Over the years I have enjoyed observing and photographing the Sun, Moon, meteors, comets, planets, stars and galaxies, from the days of developing and printing Ilford and Kodak negatives in a darkened kitchen through to using CCDs, webcams and DSLRs. I have seen a number of total solar eclipses from fascinating locations around the world, although my travelling companions have now retired from this pursuit.

My main interest is video astronomy, applying video techniques to record transient phenomena, conducted from my observatory, IAU code Z92. My programme includes recording meteors, asteroidal and lunar occultations, performing video astrometry of asteroids, Near Earth Objects and comets, and video photometry of eclipsing binary stars.

I am a member of IOTA-ES, attending most of their annual ESOP meetings since 1997 and I am a member of the Editorial team of the Journal for Occultation Astronomy. I proofread its contents and help to rephrase articles by authors whose first language isn't English, including translating some contributions from American into English.

I am co-owner of the UKoccultations discussion group, initiated and led by Tim Haymes, BAA Occultations Coordinator.

I have observed meteors for many years, am a member of the IMO and am Assistant Director of the BAA Meteor Section. I co-founded NEMETODE, a network of video meteor cameras in the British Isles and I manage the NEMETODE discussion group.

2020 Jul 21

2020 Jun 18

2020 Jun 14

14:51 UTC

CalSky informed me that the ISS would cross the Sun today at 13:29:30 (BST) from my location. I've recorded a few of its solar and lunar transits on previous occasions, so this time I decided to observe it first hand.

The oppressive cloud cover started to break and I set up the 5-inch f/12 Taylor-Mak with mylar filter, 90-degree star diagonal and 25mm eyepiece. This gave me a full disc view. Varying depths of cloud were racing in front of the Sun, which appeared to be spotless. Thankfully, at the appointed time I saw the familiar 'H' silhouette of the ISS take about 0.5s to shoot across the field.

It's nice to do some observing without being detached from the event by technology.

2020 May 7

22:42 UTC

Lovely views of crescent Venus in the 5-inch Taylor-Mak at x60 and x167.

2020 Apr 22

2020 Mar 13

09:28 UTC

Many thanks to the organisers and the speakers for a most enjoyable BAA Back to Basics Workshop at Cottingham last Saturday. These meetings are always good events, whether you're new to astronomy or have observed for decades, and this was no exception. It was also an opportunity to catch up with old friends without having to travel too far.

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