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Who on earth are the Joneses?

Having chosen to visit this webpage you clearly want to know something about us

...what I can't work out is why? .... anyhow ....

Sue and I live in the Hanningfields, just south of Chelmsford, Essex, England. We both work for the same company in the waste management business, but don't let that fool you - we’re OK people really and actually we work in the industry we do because we care about the environment.

It's my spare time that this website is really all about, which is taken up with astronomy and, in particular, the observation of variable stars.

Telescopes and Observatories
My first telescope was a small department store refractor. It was advertised as being 40x40 (40mm aperture and 40x magnification) but in fact had a disk of plastic behind the front lens that reduced the real aperture to about 15mm. I made my first astronomical notebook entry on 27 December 1970 and have maintained a log book of my observations ever since. In the years (aarrgh decades) since then I've studied the sky with a procession of ever larger telescopes, from a range of home made and prefabricated observatories.

I currently use a late model (Serial number 213) NGT 18 made by JMI, which replaced in 2003 one of the very early models of the same telescope (SN 009) that I had used for more than a decade. The optical assembly is an 18" (457mm), f4.5 Newtonian reflector which is mounted on a split ring equatorial mount. It's an unusual, but wonderful, instrument.

The telescope is housed in a 10 foot rotating dome observatory, which is constructed of bolt together fibreglass sections. I bought the observatory, as a prefabricated 'kit', in 1991. Although the basic structure hasn't changed much, I've modified it a fair bit since.

Why, and what, do I observe?
There is nothing wrong with simply looking just for the sake of seeing. The sky is full of objects of great beauty. After a while, however, I felt I actually wanted to do something whilst I was looking.

In the late 1970's a friend at my local astronomical society, by the name of Greg Coady, introduced me to the observation of things which vary in brightness. They aren't all stars but they are generally known as "variable stars". Through the 1980's and early 1990's my career took up much of my time and so I dabbled in the subject making just a few observations of favourite objects each year. In the last few years I've had both greater time and resources. My observing program has grown to include more than 50 objects which I observe whenever the sky is clear enough for me to glimpse the stars.

Other interests
I ought to mention, I guess, that there is more to life than work and a starry sky.

In January 2005 Sue and I bought a house in a rural setting with our own tiny piece of the Essex countryside. We’re setting about making the house and grounds into our own little paradise but with Nathan coming along on 6th December 2005 I’m afraid we didn’t get very far during 2005 itself. You’ll find pictures of the house, the garden, and the local wildlife that we live alongside on the website too.