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Lifetime astronomer honoured

February 9, 2021 February 2021 No Comments

A lifetime of amateur astronomy stretching from the late 1950s for Wairarapa Astronomical Society president Darrell Ramsey has been honoured by fellow astronomers in a ceremony dedicating a viewing observatory in his name.

About 20 astronomers from Wairarapa, Wellington and surrounding areas have attended an event at “Star Field” near Martinborough to celebrate and mark Ramsey’s contribution to local and regional amateur astronomy.

“Star Field” owner John Whitby used to occasion to dedicate the Darrell Ramsey roll-off roof observatory when guests of the Wellington Astronomical Society joined members
for their regular Astrophotography/Dark Sky “observing evening” at Star Field. 

“The Darrell Ramsey roll-off roof observatory _ part of the observatory
complex at Star Field _ is dedicated to Darrell Ramsey for his cosmic
contribution to astronomy,” Whitby told the Martinborough Star.

One of four observatories, the Ramsey structure is a roll-off roof observatory, housing one 18-inch computerized telescope and two 12-inch computerized telescopes for
visual observations.

Ramsey began his work in amatuer astronomy while studying for a BSc in Physics at Auckland University, where he became a committee member and Journal Editor of the Auckland Astronomical Sociey till 1966. He remains a member. 

He is also a member of Wellington Astronomical Society and currently is President of the Wairarapa Astronomical Society.

“I met Darrell around 20 years ago when he asked to come and see a computerised 12-inch telescope I had set up in my gardens,” Whitby said, adding that “many amateur astronomers and budding enthusiasts have benefited from his generosity over many years.”

“Darrell had a keen interest in helping people into astronomy and would supply equipment through his online business ‘Starscopes,’” he said.

“He has been my visual observation mentor for many years. As a young man Darrell designed and built telescopes and he would often discuss in detail, the science of optical systems,” Whitby added.

Wellington Astronomical Society president Antony Gomez, who met Ramsey 20 years ago, noted his support for and influence on budding anstronomers.

“I was a newbie and Darrell was my mentor who helped me learn about the night sky and about telescopes,” he said. 

Darrell also set up the Wairarapa Astronomical Society primarily to bring together those interested observing the night sky,” Gomez said. “For as long as I have known Darrell, being able to observe and share the night sky is what he has been most passionate about.” 

“He has made a huge contribution to the astronomical endeavours here in the Wairarapa, and it was fitting that we gathered together to name the observatory after Darrell as a way of recognising and thanking him for all he has done for us and for astronomy,” he said.

Photo caption :
Darrell Ramsey (in check shirt) with astronomy buffs and telescope at the observatory dedication at Star Field’s “Star Party” in his honour.

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