Bill's Page

24in in moonlight

Welcome to my web page, it's pretty basic but I hope that you find something of interest and perhaps some good links to other pages.

My main research interests are Meteors and noctilucent clouds.

Ongoing programmes include spectroscopy and polarimetry to reveal the physical properties of these phenomena.

Ther are few sights better than the flash of a bright fireball in the sky!

After a brief spell involved in professional astronomy at the AAO (I have been fortunate to have been able to view the night sky from locations such as Siding Spring Mountain, Australia; Mauna Kea, Hawaii, Roque de los Muchachos, La Palma in the Canary Islands, Calar Alto, southern Spain and Tromso in arctic Norway.) I am now employed at the University of Glasgow.

When seen from a good, high, dark, light pollution free site the night sky is unbelievably spectacular!

It's well worth having a look at the night sky with binoculars (ANY binoculars!) as they will reveal a myriad of stars and star clusters which give observing a whole new dimension!

There is NO substitute for actually going out and looking!

The top image is a picture of the 24 inch telescope on Siding Spring Mountain, which I took in December 2000, illuminated by the light of the the full moon.

3.8m AAT View of observatory on La Palma. photo c/o I McEachran.

Here's a few pictures of me on my travels. The first is me with the 3.8m Anglo Australian Telescope on Siding Spring mountain, New South Wales, Australia (1994) and the second is me standing on Topo de la Fuenta Nueva, 2369m altitude, La Palma in the Canary Islands with the 1m Kaptyen and 2.5m Issac Newton telescope buildings in the background (1997). The lower shot was taken at the Mount John Observatory, New Zealand. (2004)

Autumnal Sky

A 15 minute all sky shot during a rare cloud free night in October 2004, it's a pity a car passed and caused the flaring visible at the 4 and 10 o'clock positions.

all sky from Dalry

The Galatic Centre from the southern Hemisphere.

galactic centre from Sutherland

The centre of the galaxy barely rises above the southern horizon from Scotland however from the southern hemisphere it goes right through the Zenith. It truly is a sight to behold!!!

This is a 10.24 sec, 256 video frame integration taken from Sutherland in South Africa, no processing has been applied.

Travel Pictures

I've done a fair bit of travelling and I always take a camera with me so please feel free to have a look at some of my travel pictures.

These are a look at the sites and scenery from various observatories around the world

Interesting Astronomy Links

For the active amateur astronomer The Astronomer magazine is the best in the business.

For meteor observers theres the International Meteor Organisation.

On the general astronomy front a very good starting place is the Royal Observatory Edinburgh which has links to all of the major observatories around the world.

Another good astronomy site is at the Cambridge Astronomy site which has mirror sites for the Anglo Australian Observatory in Australia, Gemini on Hawaii and in Chile, the Issac Newton Group on La Palma and the Joint Astronomy Centre also on Hawaii.

The European Southern Observatory web pages have lots of good material about their observatories at La Silla and the Very Large Telescope at Paranal.

A good link for the aurora watcher is The Aurora Page and another is The Geophysical Institute of the University of Alaska, Fairbanks.

For comet enthusiasts Seiichi Yoshida's comet observers page is the place to check out.

For noctilucent cloud watchers there's the NLC's Observers Homepage.

Scottish Astronomers Group

I am the former President of the Scottish Astronomers Group which was the national forum for active astronomers across Scotland. With the evolution of email and individual society internet sites a lot of what the SAG used to do can be done electronically. I now maintain the SAG online forum as an acting chairman to keep the SAG going as an observers group.

If you have any questions regarding our activities please feel free to contact me either directly or via the forum. (The banner above takes you directly to the forum)

If you have a question about astronomy, telescopes or observing send me an email and I'll try and help. Better still register on the forum and get in touch through our observing sessions.

I can give lectures/informal talks on astronomy, including Schmidt Telescopes, Radio Astronomy, VLF Radio (Sun/Earth interactions) and general astronomy. Pop me an email and I'll see what I can do. I only ask for travel expenses (and a pint of Guiness).

Mirror Grinding

Recently I accquired a 1960's vintage Bryant and Simmons mirror grinding machine

It is for quite small mirrors, up to about 18 inch as is but with a bit of modification it might make it to 24 inch

Pictures of the machine are HERE

This is me here

Bill's pic

Contact Details


I can be contacted via email at

Telephone and Mail

My telephone number is 0141 330 6668, office hours.

Rankine Building, University of Glasgow, Oakfield Avenue, Glasgow, G12 8LT, Scotland, U.K.

Thanks for looking in!

A few gems of wisdom

"The greatest product of astronomy is the learning about new ways of thinking, new ways of perceiving...,

Astronomy is for the soul..."

Benjamin Peary, Astronomer, c1990

When you can measure what you are speaking about, and express it in numbers, you know something about it; but when you cannot measure it, when you cannot express it in numbers, your knowledge of it is of a meager and unsatisfactory kind: it may be the beginning of knowledge, but you have scarcely, in your thoughts, advanced to the stage of science.

William Thomson, Lord Kelvin of Largs (1824-1907)

Never stop exploring...


One final consideration; Do not accept religious doctrine or superstition.

If we submit to the demands of subservience and ignorance then we will return to the dark ages in the blink of an eye.

I claim no originality but...

In a world with no religion good people would do good things and bad people would do bad things. All that is needed to make good people do bad things is to add religion.

To paraphrase Rabbie Burns...

"a man o' independant mind laughs at a' that"


This is a personal page hosted by the School of Engineering at the University of Glasgow. It does not represent the interests or opinions of the School or the University of Glasgow in any manner whatsoever.

Bill Ward, Last check DEC 2012.