The Astronomical Adventures of Bill

Being an astronomer and observing the night sky is wonderful, there is nothing else like it! However traveling comes a close second which is probably just as well as you have to travel a lot if you want to escape the insidious light pollution which plagues most urban area's in just about every country.

Travel, it is said broadens the mind, which is undeniably true but it also gives a great opportunity to get some good photographs!

These are a few pictures which I have taken during observing trips.

Bill Ward


Upsalla Schmidt Telescope Eta Carina Nebula

This one (above) is of me with the 18 inch Upsalla Schmidt telescope on Siding Spring Mountain, Australia (1998) which I used to take the picture on the right

This is the Eta Carina nebula and it is probably the most spectacular (and my favorite) object in the night sky!

eta car neb

Another shot taken with an ancient 85mm @ f2.4 portrait lens on a trip to Australia. (2004)

Other Schmidt Telescopes that I have worked at/observed with are, on the left the 1m Calar Alto Schmidt Telescope and on the right the 1.2m United Kingdom Schmidt Telescope.

Calar Alto 1m Schmidt Telescope UK Schmidt Telescope

It is rather sad that as modern technology advances photographic instruments such as these are becoming obsolete (That same technology might just give some of them a new lease of life though!). They are fantastic telescopes to work with!

The Observatories

Observatories are worlds unto themselves, located in remote and spectacular settings. Like Calar Alto Observatory in southern Spain, here sitting under cloudless skies waiting for nightfall...

They are all truly special places.

Calar Alto observatory domes


I had wanted to go to Australia ever since reading about the United Kingdom Schmidt Telescope when I was at school. I never imagined that one day I would actually get a chance to work at that particular telescope!

Australia is full of surprises, This is what I expected to see...

Kagaroos in the Warrumbungle National Park

and what I didn't expect to see...!

highland cow in oz

There are however hazards when observing from remote locations...

Big Huntsman spider

Fairly harmless I'm told but I wasn't going to be the one holding the tape measure (just in case!)

Pictures of the locations and other scenes from my observing trips


spectacular evening skies caused by Mount Pinatubo eruption in 1991 the Warrumbungle range The view from the plane on route to Coonabarbran
The Opera House, Sydney the view of the UKSTU building from the catwalk of the AAT The Coonabarbran airport, very famous...

Spain (Calar Alto, Tenerife and La Palma).

The 1.5m and 2m telescope observatories on Calar Alto The 3.5m telescope observatory on Calar Alto The 3.5m telescope
scopes at summit on La Palma Galileo+GranTeCan Lodge on La Palma

A Video of La Palma is HERE


jcmt under radome cinder cone on Mauna Kea stormy view of Subaru, Keck and IRTF from JCMT
another stormy view, CHFT, UKIRT and UoH on sumit ridge. Caltech in foreground descending from the summit of Mauna Kea mid station at 9000 feet

On route to Mount John, New Zealand.

New Zealand from the air

Sutherland, South Africa.

SALT building A VERY THIN MIRROR!!! Camera platform
complex mirror control! accomodation lodge township of Sutherland SA

More will be added as time and re-processing permits

I hope you liked the pictures

Copyright is maintained. If you would like to use any of these pictures please ask.

If you have any questions about these photographs or astronomy and telescopes in general please don't hesitate to get in touch.

I can be contacted via email at

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!

Never stop exploring...

"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


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 FRAS, Last check Feb 2012.