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Merv Jones Maryborough Queensland with 10inch reflector 1973


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About this observation
Peter Anderson
Time of observation
06/10/2018 - 15:00
Observing location
Maryborough, Queensland
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Image taken 18th January 1973.

Merv Jones, lunar observer and artist, comet discoverer, and author of the calendar illustration which I posted, originally used a 4" refractor and later this 10 inch reflector, protected by a roll off shed, which was a converted surplus outhouse, no longer being required once a residential area had been sewered. (This one was put to a very practical use.)  Shortly after that I lost touch with Merv.


Denis Buczynski's picture

HI Peter, It was interesting to read the discovery circumstances of Comet 1967f Mitchell-Jones-Gerber and read how convoluted the discovery reports and announcements were made then . It is so different today with electronic communications.First  discovery sighting was made on on June 29.4 and the thord and last discovery report on July 2.9. No way could that happen today. It was mid August before an orbit was computed due to a lack of precise positions being available. This was a 5th mag comet and had a tail a few degrees long. The discovery circumstances can be read at this link:

Peter Anderson's picture

Hello Denis, Thank you for this information. 1967 was a busy year for me. I was married on 29th April (still going strong), had moved into a new house we had built (not the present one), and had many distractions as you would appreciate. So I don't remember much about the comet Merv Jones discovered.

The report you identified has jogged some past memories, namely that Merv Jones did go into variable star observing after his lunar work, and I knew Vic Matchett, who figures several times in the whole report on the comets of 1967.  Vic lived locally in Brisbane.  He died several years ago and was very active in  the 1960's. (In fact this RAS report on comets for 1967 has several mentions of him. - If you are interested in history I can supply more information about him.) I never delved into variable star observing myself though I know it can be very addictive.

Maryborough is a small coastal city some 250km north of the state capital Brisbane, and at the time would have had a population of around 20,000. As astronomy is not a popular interest Merv would largely have been working alone. For a time I was a Government Inspector (generally investigating complaints about Real Estate Agents).  This involved some country work and this is how I called in on him in January 1973 and took the photo. 

I really appreciate your response.  It has jogged my memory of earlier times, which in my case go back to 1958 in observational astronomy and BAA membership since 1969... Next year 50 years!

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