July 2022 Monthly Meeting

When: Wednesday 13th July at 7:30 pm.
Where: Space Place / Carter Observatory and also available via Zoom. Join the Zoom Meeting
at https://us06web.zoom.us/j/89857934315?pwd=V1YzV2tFUml4SEFQOUJLUVUwWSt2QT09
Meeting ID: 898 5793 4315
Passcode: 12345
What: Shoot the stars – become an astrophotographer – John Drummond

Note: This months meeting is a week later then usual.

In this PowerPoint talk, astronomer John Drummond will introduce the key concepts of astrophotography and the way to avoid some of the pitfalls such as poor focus and guiding. He will show some of his award-winning photos and explain how he took them.

The image of Matariki (above) is one of John’s photographs.

John Drummond became fixated with astronomy at the age of ten when his mother pointed out the Pot in Orion to him. From that moment he was hooked on the universe. He joined the Junior Section of the Gisborne Astronomical Society not long after, and would regularly do group meteor watches, telescope viewing – and listening to astronomy talks. When John developed an interest in photography, it wasn’t long before he combined it with astronomy and began astrophotography.

John’s photos have been used in many overseas books and magazines, and on two NZ stamps. He lives about 10km west of Gisborne and has a range of telescopes up to 0.5 metres in diameter. He regularly images with these scopes and CCDs and also gets astrometry of comets, asteroids, and NEOs which he sends to the IAU Minor Planet Section. In 2021, he got 1006 observations (the second-highest number of observations taken in New Zealand, after Mount John Observatory). He has also confirmed several comets. His Possum Observatory code is E94.

John has co-discovered about 20 exoplanets in collaboration with the Ohio State University – including the unusual 2-Earth-massed planet orbiting a binary star, which helped astronomers rethink planetary formation models. This was published in the journal Science. John is an author on around 60 journal papers.

John Drummond was the director of the Royal Astronomical Society of New Zealand Astrophotography Section for thirteen years until 2018, and was RASNZ President from 2016-18. He is now Executive Secretary of RASNZ.

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