William Herschel and
his son John Herschel carried out the first comprehensive surveys of
deep-sky objects and created a catalog we now call the New General
Catalog, or NGC. To do this, they built and used the first really big
telescopes with what today we consider primitive technology.
Richard Berry will describe
the telescopes these early amateur astronomers built, and show that
they were well designed and effectively employed tools for discovery.
The story of the Herschels begins in about 1780 and continues through
Join Richard Berry in a
fascinating journey into the discovery of the Universe and the people
who did it.
Richard Berry is an author, editor, and
software programmer focused primarily on amateur astronomy. His books
include a classic, Build Your Own Telescope, a popular
introduction to observing, Discover the Stars, the
acclaimed manual for big Dobs, The Dobsonian Telescope
(with David Kriege), and the book best known to NEAIC attendees,
The Handbook of Astronomical Image Processing (with Jim
Burnell), which includes the Astronomical Image Processing for Windows
(AIP4Win) software widely used for image processing as well as both
photometry and astrometry.
At age 13, Richard built his first
telescope (a 6-inch f/7 Newtonian) and moved on to construct an 8-inch
f/10 planetary telescope, a 6-inch RFT, a 12-inch f/7 Newtonian, and
an 8-inch Dall-Kirkham Cassegrain. He observed all of the planets,
most of the Messier objects, and made deep inroads into the NGC
catalog. In those distant days of darkroom chemistry and bromide
paper, he specialized in lunar and planetary astrophotography.
After majoring in astronomy for his
B.A. degree, Richard went on to present a thesis on photoelectric
photometry earning an M.Sc. in astronomy. In the technology world, he
has designed rocket payload instrumentation, measured air pollution
(ozone and hydrogen sulfide) using a laser beam, and tested key
components for the Ultraviolet Absorption experiment (MA-059) flown
aboard the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project.
Switching from technology to editing,
Richard served a ASTRONOMY magazine's Technical Editor, then Editor,
and finally Editor-in-Chief, for sixteen years, and played a key role
in building the fledgling magazine's circulation from 38,000 in 1976
to its peak at 252,000 in 1988. During his years at ASTRONOMY, Richard
built a strong, effective, and knowledgeable editorial staff, and
worked tirelessly to ensure that manufacturers present only honest and
accurate claims in their advertisements.
During his years at ASTRONOMY, Richard
founded and edited Telescope Making, a quarterly magazine devoted to
the community of amateur telescope makers. From 1978 through
1991,Telescope Making introduced its readership to the Dobsonian
telescope, the Poncet platform, tilted-component telescopes, and many
examples of outstanding amateur observatories.
From 1992 to the present, Richard has
written and coauthored a string of books about telescope making,
imaging with CCD cameras, and image processing. He has given countless
talks and participated in workshops at conferences around the world.
His current book, due out this summer or fall, is a comprehensive
ray-trace analysis of the telescope, eyepiece, and astrographic camera
designs available to today's amateur astronomer.
Richard's website can
be found at