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Honour for Terry Moseley

Mr Terry Moseley, former President of the Irish Astronomical Association, and a leading light in amateur astronomy in Ireland, was recently honoured by the International Astronomical Union, (IAU), by having an asteroid named after him. It makes Terry one of only two living amateur astronomers in Ireland to hold this distinction, the other being John C McConnell, (9929) McConnell.

The asteroid, the first to be discovered by Dr David Asher of the Armagh Observatory, was found at Siding Spring Observatory, Australia, on Boxing Day 1994. The official announcement of the honour was made in September 2002 in Minor Planet Circular No.46638 issued by the Minor Planet Centre in Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA. David Asher said: "I am delighted that we could name my first minor planet after such an outstanding observer who deserves it so well". The formal citation reads as follows:

"(16693)Moseley = 1994 YC2 Discovered 1994 Dec.26 by D.J.Asher at Siding Spring.
Terence J.C.A.Moseley (b.1946), editor of Stardust, 1992 Aidan Fitzgerald Medallist and founding member of the Irish Federation of Astronomical Societies, was the first amateur to use the recently restored six-foot Birr telescope in September 2001. The name was suggested by J.C.McConnell".

Following are six images taken on 2002 September 2nd with the 25cm telescope at the Bisei Spaceguard Center, an asteroid and satellite survey facility operated by the Japan Spaceguard Association. The Apogee AP10 camera has 2048x2048 pixels, with a field of view on that telescope of 1.3°. To show (16693) Moseley more clearly, the images are cut to 256x256 pixels here, positioning the same nearby star at the centre of each frame. The asteroid is to the left of the star in the earlier images, being below and very close to the star in the last two images (so only the first four positions were reported to the Minor Planet Center). North is up, east is to the left. Image below stacked and processed from original 16-bit TIFF files by Mark Stronge, EAAS.

Click here for an animation showing Moseley 16693
Click on the image to view a GIF animation

Terry Moseley was born in South Africa, but spent his formative years in Armagh, where he lived in the Pavilion, on the site of what is now the Armagh College of Further and Higher Education. He attended the Armstrong Primary School and then the Royal School. Thus he was raised next door to the celebrated Armagh Observatory, where he was a friend of Derek Lindsay, son of the Observatory Director, Dr Eric Lindsay, and Mrs Sylvia Lindsay.

Terry's interest in astronomy began almost exactly forty years ago. In 1963, he acquired a book by Patrick Moore, the Observers Book of Astronomy, and he was hooked. He got to know Patrick Moore very well during his period as first Director of the Armagh Planetarium. Patrick invited terry to use the Observatory's 10-inch refractor and Terry used the instrument for extensive observations of the Moon, the planets Jupiter and Saturn, variable stars, and many other objects. Following Patrick's resignation as Planetarium Director in 1969, Terry served briefly as acting Director of the Planetarium until the appointment of Dr Thomas Rackham.

Terry has made many appearances on radio and television, including one on the BBC programme, The Sky at Night, and is the author of a book entitled Reaching for the Stars, published by Pergamon Press in 1975. He also helped with the restoration and testing of the large reflecting telescope at the Earl of Rosse's observatory at Birr Castle, Co. Offaly, Ireland. He is an extremely active observer, an enthusiastic lecturer on astronomy, and author of numerous commentaries and scientific articles.

At an official reception held on 15th January 2002 at the Armagh Observatory to mark the occasion, Terry said "I am totally gobsmacked: almost as if I had been hit by the thing itself"!

John C.McConnell.

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