Short Bio on Mark Stronge

I first became interested in astronomy when I was on our boat in Strangford Lough. In the late summer evenings the milky way was quite spectacular and the Plough was most apparent in the northwest.

It wasn't until my brother Nigel got a telescope and from the centre of Belfast, (the street lights were turned off late at night) he was able to scan the milky way. Using a manual driven telescope to search for deep sky objects was daunting to him and the interest simmered for quite a number of years. Comet Haley and HaleBopp passed us by until in September 2002 my brother and I dusted off the old Tasco telescope and pointed it at Saturn. My first view of Saturn took my breath away.

To think that we could see Saturn in the sky from our house in Comber was just mind blowing. Over the next 2 months we researched telescopes on the internet and read many reviews. We finally decided to buy 2nd hand off and get a Meade 8inch LX90.

Nigel, Esther and Mark Stronge

It was during this time that we found the EAAS on the internet and decided to go up and learn more. Our first meeting was in November 2002 when John McFarland from Armagh Observatory spoke on meteors and the Leonids. This was the most fantastic lecture and really grounded our interest firmly in all things astronomy related. With the encouragement of John McConnell, we started taking photos of Saturn, Jupiter and the Moon and were researching methods on the internet for capturing these planets on a computer. John McConnell encouraged us greatly as our attempts at imaging gradually improved and on the observing visits to John's house we learnt alot about the night sky and observing.

In April 2003, I setup a website, Dark Skies 4 NI, dealing with the subject of light pollution and highlighting the problems which occur due to bad lighting. In May 2003 I started my own Weather Portal website which brings together the best of internet weather forecasting for general, astronomical and marine forecasts. In June 2003 my brother and I gave our first talk on "Astrophotography on a budget" at the EAAS June Astroday and we gave lectures at the EAAS in October 2003 and to the IAA in April 2004. Over the summer of 2003, I was asked to look after the EAAS website for a few weeks and I'm still doing that .

Since I started learning about astronomy, it has been a fantastic learning experience as I always try to research any astronomy topic I read about. This has led me to greater faith in the creator of the heavens and the earth as I continue to learn about our wonderfully designed Universe.

Clear Skies

Mark Stronge


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Last Updated : Sunday, February 12, 2021

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