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Richard McKim

Dr Richard McKim is the Director of Mars Section (and, from 2004 till 2019, of the Mercury & Venus Section) and BAA Archivist. He also served as a Trustee during the past three Sessions. He was BAA President during 1993 to 1995. He lives in Upper Benefield, Northamptonshire with his wife and daughter, and is a chemist by training. He uses a 41 cm Dall-Kirkham Cassegrain telescope built by himself around optics made by Jim Hysom, housed in a homemade observatory. In addition to Astronomy, I have played first clarinet in the Rusty Players of Oundle orchestra but recently took up the oboe as a retirement challenge, and I enjoy sketching (see my Web Tutorial), travel and reading. My current profile picture is a drawing of Jupiter from 2016 March 16 when Ganymede was followed by its shadow against the NTeZ, and Io was followed by its shadow against the S. edge of the NEB. The Red Spot is shown to the left of the Central meridian.

2018 May 12

2017 Dec 31

17:51 UTC

In 1986 I spent ten nights at the Pic du Midi Observatory because Mars was so low from the UK. In 2018 the planet will again be very low from here, but the season on the planet will be similar to that at opposition in 1986. At the time I accompanied Prof. Jean Dragesco to the Pic. He had worked there previously in 1975. We both took photos and I also made a large number of drawings of Jupiter, the Galilean moons, Saturn and Mars. The photos are all SINGLE exposures by Dragesco (with help from me to achieve the best focus) with a Nikon camera on the so-called 'miracle film' of Kodak, TP 2415. The synthetic green channel and the R(G)B composite image were made two decades later by Johan Warell, and the labelling and light Registax processing were done by me. That was our best night of the ten: Dragesco had at the time returned to his room to rest, and I stayed in the dome. Suddenly the seeing became perfect and I ran to fetch him... running is never a good idea at high altitude, but luckily the perfect seeing continued for a long time. Perhaps viewers will be amused by the results. Remember they are based upon SINGLE red and blue negatives. At the time, Dragesco was able to get a friend to enhance the image by using unsharp masking, and the result (not shown) is rather similar to the result secured with Registax here.

Oh, and yes, a very Happy New Year to everyone when it arrives!

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