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History of the RAG

The history of radio astronomy within the BAA dates back to 1955 when Martin Ryle gave a lecture describing the work that amateur enthusiasts could undertake. The BAA Radio and Electronics Section was duly set with John Heywood as its first Director. Contributors included Frank Hyde who made the first amateur observations of the Crab Nebula being occulted by the solar corona in 1959 and who wrote the definitive guide "Radio Astronomy for Amateurs". Frank also provided the regular 'Spacewatch' column for Practical Electronics magazine. Another notable figure was John Smith who took over the leadership of the renamed Radio Astronomy Section from 1964 through to 1977 and was a major force in encouraging amateur involvement in the field.

John Smith with 30ft (9m) diameter parabolic aerial

Sadly, after John died, interest waned and the Section ceased to operate.

However in 1994 the current Radio Astronomy Group was created with Gordon Brown as its coordinator, later to be followed by Peter King, Laurence Newell and, most recently, Paul Hyde.

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