Many thanks, Richard, I will indeed pass this on!
Success!!! Richard, I’ve received the following reply from Tom Kerss, one of the astronomers at the Observatory and an expert astrophotographer…..
I read about this in a book published in the 80s called ‘History of Astronomy Technology’ or something. I’m afraid it was almost 10 years ago that I stumbled on it, but yes it does appear that the first Active Optics system was invented in the UK and piloted at RGO. Sadly this is a very poorly told story, so I’m glad you are trying to bring it to light!
I would suggest getting in touch with Gerry Gilmore at IoA to see if he can illuminate the details: https://www.ast.cam.ac.uk/~gil/
Gerry is a true legend in this area, and has been involved in the development of the most accurate optical systems ever created (notably Gaia’s interferometry bench and the VLT/E-ELT)
By the way, the last paragraph in the article is quite prophetic. Early Active Optics system worked by moving a small optical window near focus. Since then the design has evolved into what we would now call Adaptive Optics, and it is indeed used all over the world by the most powerful ground-based telescopes!
P.S. Say hello to Gerry from all of us at the ROG!
That’s fascinating, Richard! Thank you so much for posting this.
There are a couple of people at the Observatory that I will email in the hope that they can point you in the right direction.
Good luck with your book!
Chair, Flamsteed Astronomy Society
Rainbows and gold.
Should we get them signed up for our Christmas party?
Amazing!!! Great work, Miss Marple!
The photograph in this tweet is extraordinary. Look carefully…
“Cynthiae figuras aemulatur mater amorum” = “The mother of love (Venus) imitates the form of Cynthia (the Moon)” – Galileo
Thank you, Bill! It was really fun to prepare the talk and I was delighted it seemed to go down so well.
I make the monthly video using the Movie Maker Windows app (free and built into the operating system). It’s not an elegant system, but pretty straightforward when you get the hang of it.
Finding free-to-use royalty-free music is a bit tricky. Googling helps but you do have to be careful about what sites you click onto. Some can be dodgy. Our first videos used a website called MelodyLoops but while that’s royalty-free, it’s not free to use. There’s a one-off payment per piece of music, I think.
I’ve used yourclassical.org and incompetech.com – but be careful you click on website buttons and not on advert buttons! Licensing under ‘creative commons’ (rather than buying a license) generally means free to use as long as you credit the artist/website.
Sumitra used Jamendo.com for a Perseids timelapse she did a few years ago and that seems good.
Ah, but Galileo told people about it 😉
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