Meet the SHA Council
Chairman Gerard Gilligan
I first became interested in the great science of Astronomy when I was 8 years old, following the Apollo 8 mission around the Moon. I soon took a book off a school library shelf – and yes it was written by Patrick Moore. My mum brought me my own astronomy book and a pair of binoculars for the Christmas of 1969, and after all that I was hooked!
I have many interests within astronomy, and following man’s interest in exploring space, both with manned and unmanned space craft. I enjoy giving talks on astronomy to both astronomical societies, groups, and during outreach events. But my particular interest is the history of Astronomy, both locally and nationally, and I am a founder member of the SHA.
My ongoing research interests are Victorian astronomers William Lassell, William Benjamin Hutchinson, Bidston Observatory, and the History of Liverpool Astronomical Society.
Vice-Chairman David Sellers
David grew up in the Calder Valley, near Halifax. He is a civil engineer by profession and, before retirement, was the Flood Risk Manager of Leeds City Council. He is a founder member of the SHA and is particularly interested in the history of positional astronomy – especially in the 17th-18th centuries.
David is the author of books on the transit of Venus and on the life of William Gascoigne, the first inventor of the telescopic sight and the telescope micrometer. Taking a special delight in the intertwining of social and technological history, he has also written a short book on the somewhat unsavoury topic of The History of Sewerage in Leeds. He is currently writing a biography of the Victorian astronomer and educationalist, Charles Thomas Whitmell. When not pursuing arcane historical research, he can often be found listening to Greek folk music.
General Secretary Mike Leggett
Treasurer Dr Geoff A. King
Geoff is a geophysicist by training and profession. He spent much of his early working life in academic and industrial research and development, in later years moving to operations and technology management. Having had an international career with several multinationals he is now retired from work and runs a small consulting company. His interests include solar, lunar, variable star astronomy, and learning more about the development of astronomy and cosmology from ancient civilizations to the present.
Membership Secretary Graham Jones
SHA Survey Co-ordinator Kevin Johnson
Living in Berkshire, Kevin formerly worked in the museum sector before deciding to use his green fingers to re-train as a horticulturist. With a lifelong interest in astronomy, I have an avid interest in the history of the subject, the amateur’s role and astronomical education. Having edited the SHA journal, Antiquarian Astronomer, I am now co-coordinating the society’s survey of astronomy. When not in my observatory scanning the sky, I can be found perched on snow-capped peaks in the Austrian Alps or nearer to home.
Librarian James Dawson
James lives in Nottinghamshire and is an anaesthetist by profession, and he never tires of hearing jokes about putting people to sleep. As well as being the Librarian for the SHA he is also the SHA’s County Co-ordinator for Nottinghamshire, hoping to continue the excellent work Madeline Cox had begun. James is interested in solar system imaging and DSLR wide-field astrophotography, and about the life and times of Victorian and 20th century astronomers, both professional and amateur.
Publicity Secretary Mike Leggett
Editor, SHA e-News David Sellers
Online Editor John W. Chuter
John has been interested in Astronomy from the age of seven when he read ‘The larousse Encyclopaedia of Astronomy’ from cover to cover, What fascinated him was the enormous scale of everything. Since then he has belonged to several local and national astronomical societies and joined the SHA when he realised that he was becoming increasingly interested in the History of Astronomy, both locally and further afield.
Archivist John W. Chuter
Editor, The Antiquarian Astronomer Ian Ridpath
Ian is editor of the Oxford Dictionary of Astronomy and author of many popular books on astronomy. He is a winner of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific’s award for outstanding contributions to the public understanding and appreciation of astronomy. His main interests are the history and mythology of the constellations, which he wrote about in his book Star Tales, and he collects antique star atlases. Ian is a former Council member of the Royal Astronomical Society, and a member of the International Astronomical Union
Assistant Librarian Carolyn Bedwell