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Derek Robson

Derek Robson is an analytical chemist and amateur astronomer with interests in astrophotography and astronomical spectroscopy.  His first main telescope in 1982 was an f5.6 8.75” Fullerscope Newtonian reflector and currently operates a William Optics GT81 and Ostara 102 mm.  A Watec 902H2S meteor video camera built and tested by William Stewart (NEMETODE group captures meteors. Images feed to UKMON's Network and data to NEMETODE and UKMON for triangulation, orbit calculation, ground trail prediction and dark flight modelling.  Radio meteor activity is monitored continuously using a Fun Cube Dongle Pro+, home-made yagi antenna on 143.048 MHz (GRAVES radar transmitter, Dijon, France). 

In 2017, Derek was presented with a prize and certificate at the Royal Greenwich Observatory for a place in the Insight Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2017 competition.  He imaged a one-mile wide potentially hazardous asteroid - Near Earth Object (164121) 2003 YT1 which came within 3 million miles of the Earth on 31st October 2016. The image is displayed in the National Maritime Museum, London.  In 2019, Derek's image of an occultation of a star by an asteroid by the drift method was short-listed in the 2019 competition and published in the 2019 yearbook.

Main interests: comets, meteors; meteor and stellar spectroscopy; asteroids and occultation of stars by asteroids.

Local society membership: A long-standing member of the British Astronomical Association, a member of the East Midlands Stargazers, Sunderland Astronomical Society, NEMETODE, UKMON

2019 Dec 14

2019 Oct 31

20:28 UTC

I just read with interest, the article by Andrew Robertson on Observer's
Challenge – Colours of Double Stars.  I spotted a familiar name of a star I
had recently been introduced to by Graham Darke (Sunderland Astronomical
Society). I live 175 mile from the location but visit family and I pop in to
the society of which I am a member.  Last month Graham was using the
society's 5" refractor.  He showed me Rasalgethi (α Herculis) - the variable
star described in Andrew's article (mag 3 to mag 4) M5 reddish supergiant and
a mag 5.4 fainter companion actually made up of a G5 star and a F2 star
separated by only 0.4AU.

I thought I would forward a small note of my observation of this star.  I
thought the colours were an orange-reddish star and a golden champagne-green
star.  The colour of the orange reddish star was more obvious, but the colour
of the fainter companion star was more subtle.

I went away with the intention to photograph the star with my 300 mm f5.6
lens and Canon 1100D.  I have it somewhere buried in the - by now, a few
thousand images I've taken since.  I would need to back track on dates of
visit to help drill down the relevant images to see what the camera sensor

During the conversation with Graham, I told him of one night in the early
1970's, I lay on the lawn and swept the sky with 8x30 binoculars and I
distinctly remembered seeing a pair of stars which I thought were red and
green. I don't know which stars they were, but with 8x mag, possibly not

2019 Aug 13

2018 Nov 12

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