President: William Recagno
Areas of Interests:
Secretary: Kevin Desoisa BSc, MCIEH, MRSH, FRAS
Kevin's interest in Astronomy started on the night of the 3rd June 1965 when he was taken outside in the dark to see the much publicised Gemini 4 first USA space walk. Only 3 years old, the bug had bitten and Father Christmas' stocking that year included his first rocket set. He remembers also being being woken by his parents at about 02:00 on the 21st July 1969 to see the first scratchy images of the first steps on an alien world. Since then many nights have been spent gazing up at the firmament whistling D-E-C-C-G and hoping for a close encounter of any kind.
This interest led somehow to undertaking a number of distance learning modules working towards a BSc and run by various UK universities. These included Radio Astronomy, History, Cosmology, Astrophysics, Solar physics, Planetary Geology and Atmospheres. He still salivates when the 76m Lovell Telescope at Jodrell Bank is mentioned as he was fortunate to be able to drive it remotely for a forty minute spin around the universe to take some simple measurements of galactic arm hydrogen distribution and of pulsar rotations.
Areas of Interest: Cosmology, Radio Astronomy, Solar Physics
Treasurer: Joseph Gonzalez
Joseph's interest in matters Astronomical can be traced back to that night of July 21st 1969, when a rather insistent 10-year old was able to convince his parents to watch the first "Man on the Moon". Space has always had a fascination for Joseph, from the reality of the lunar landings, to the fiction of Star Trek.
Most of Joseph's activity in Astronomy has mainly involved observation and sharing the night sky with others, guiding those just starting and trying to understand what the more learned members are going on about.
"Feliciter sapit qui alieno periculo sapit."
He gains wisdom in a happy way, who gains it by another's experience.
Plautus, Mercator, IV. 7. 40.
Areas of Interest: Observational Astronomy, Cosmology, Planets, The Moon, Solar Physics
Committee Member: Dr Gabriel V Perez BDS, CoH, GMH
Retired Dental Surgeon, qualified 1978 from University of Dundee. Gabriel is Interested in Astrophotography, mainly Lunar and Planetary in the past, but now moving into the Deep Space Astrophotography with dedicated cameras.
Areas of Interest: Astronomy, Cosmology, Astrophotography (Planetary, Deep Space)
Committee Member: Leslie Lester
Leslie has had a long distinguished career in education. He has been a physics teacher, a head of department and eventually the Director of Education here in Gibraltar. Leslie's dedication to the subject and education is not limited to the classroom; he has been responsible for bringing the subject directly to the public by holding classes in GCSE Astronomy.
Leslie has further served Gibraltar as the Director of Culture.
Areas of Interest: Astrophysics, Education, Cosmology
Committee Member: Christian Limacher
Section: Archivist, IT
Christian’s membership of the Gibraltar Astronomical Society and interests in all matters related to Astronomy dates back to 1988 after having been introduced by Mr M. Restano (founder committee member). At a young age Christian took an active part in the Junior Astronomical Section of the local Society and has been a committee member ever since.
In 1993 he took part in the observatory construction team and after a successful 2 year project, Europe’s Most Southerly Observatory (E.M.S.O.) was launched. The Society then gave Christian the role of Observatory Manager. At the observatory he dealt with technical/mechanical issues and maintenance in general.
At the moment, Christian has the role of the Society’s archivist and has collected and stored large amounts of historical data all relating to the Gibraltar Astronomical Society, its foundations and ties to the British Astronomical Association. He also enjoys working with astronomical telescopes and software simulators - linked to telescopes and all to do with this type of technology and has diagnostic skills in this subject.
“ As I look into the sky at night, I am humbled & awed by all its entirety ” C.L.
Areas of Interest: Astronomy, Astronomical Software, Observation Equipment
Committee Member: Ana Russo
Ana's interest in Astronomy started at an early age when for the first time she observed Saturn through her uncle's 3 inch refractor. Man landing on the Moon was the next milestone, but her interest in comets started in 1973 when she saw her first comet - Kahoutek. She has a lifelong interest in comets, and has seen all the major ones, including Halley, Swift-Tuttle, Hyakutake, Hale-Bopp, McNaught, Holmes, PANSTARRS, and more recently ISON and Lovejoy, bringing her total to 24 by the end of 2013. She also saw the huge fragment G impact on Jupiter left by comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 in 1994. In 1999 she observed the Leonid meteor storm recording about 300 meteors an hour.
Ana contributed for many years to the British Astronomical Association's Meteor Section reporting fireballs to the late Neil Bone. Binocular observing is her forte as she has become very familiar with the night sky in great detail enabling her to star hop with ease for deep sky objects.
Ana's main source of information and acquisition of knowledge before the advent of information technology has been through Sky & Telescope which she has subscribed to for over 20 years and also using classic books such as Norton's and Wil Tirion's Sky Atlas. Her equipment includes a 5 inch and 8 inch Celestron Schmidt-Cassegrain telescopes. Binocular observations are done through 10 x 50 Zeiss Jena and 15 x 50 Canon Image Stabiliser.
Ana has been a member of the Gibraltar Astronomical Society since 1988.
Areas of Interest: Observational Astronomy, Comets, Meteor Showers, Planets, Stellar Physics, The Moon, The Sun, Deep Sky, Astrophotography
Committee Member: Kayron Mercieca MSci, MSc, MPhil, PGCE, QTS, AMInstP, FRAS
Kayron was first interested in astronomy as a child but came to want to study Physics on starting his GCSEs. He studied for a four-year MSci Physics with Astronomy degree at the University of Nottingham and then a one-year MSc Physics degree at Imperial College London. This was followed by two years of research in Plasma Physics for Thermonuclear Fusion at Imperial College London. This research was toward a PhD, which Kayron decided not to finish and instead go into teaching after discovering how much he loved teaching. He was awarded an MPhil degree for his research and went into teacher training, completing the PGCE. The PGCE was with a specialism in Physics and Kayron currently teaches both Mathematics and Physics at Bayside School in Gibraltar.
Astrophotography is Kayron's main hobby and he practices this to a professional standard with a keen eye seeking perfection in every image. Though he has only been practicing astrophotography since September 2012, his images are stunning to look at. One of these images, the Rosette Nebula in Narrowband, was finalist at the Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2013 international competition and has been published in the Royal Observatory Greenwich's annual publication. Kayron met the Gibraltar Astronomical Society at a local event hosted at Europa Point in Gibraltar and later donated a 12" f/5 Newtonian reflector telescope.
Areas of Interest: Astronomy, Astrophysics, Cosmology, Stellar Physics, Education, Astrophotography (Deep Space)
Committee Member: Tom Toughill MSci, PGCE, QTS
Tom has always been interested in all areas of astronomy, but it wasn't until his secondary school in when he started to develop a passion for Astrophysics. He went on to study Astronomy and Astrophysics at the University of St Andrews, eventually obtaining a Masters degree in Theoretical Physics.
After obtaining his PGCE in Science Education (specialising in Physics), he returned to Gibraltar and took up a teaching post in Bayside School where he has been teaching Physics, Science, Mathematics and Computing for over ten years.
Areas of Interest: Education, Cosmology, Stellar Physics, Astrophotography (Planetary, Deep Space), History of Astronomy