Martin Nicholson Named First Director Of New Mexico-Based RAS Observatory

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On September 30, 2005, the RAS(Remote Astronomical Society)Observatory of New Mexico will appoint Martin Nicholson as its first director.

On September 30, 2005, the RAS (Remote Astronomical Society) Observatory of New Mexico appointed Martin Nicholson as its first director.

The recently established RAS Observatory provides amateur and professional astronomers with access to state of the art, remotely controlled astrophotographic equipment via the Internet. Reasonably priced Observation time is made available internationally to amateur and professional astronomers and the general public.

The appointment of UK-based Nicholson elevates him from his previous position as the first director of the International Consortium of Remote Astronomical Researchers, an organization created to promote individual and collaborative projects for amateur astronomers.

Nicholson will manage ongoing programs and co-ordinate the observatory’s astronomical and promotional activities. He will also provide support to users of the observatory’s five, sophisticated, remote controlled telescopes; each with a unique field of view and instrument package. Plus, he will help expand the range of astronomical resources and projects available to observers.

Currently residing in Daventry, England, Nicholson is an active astronomical researcher and writer. He has made many binary and variable star discoveries and is a member in good standing of both the British Astronomical Association and the American Association of Variable Star Observers. In 2003 he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society of London.

“I’m extremely pleased to be part of an organization that puts so much emphasis on the quality of its equipment and the level of its customer service,” said Nicholson.

“This is a very exciting time for amateur astronomers. The growth of remote astronomical observing is just the latest in a series of advances that have totally transformed the hobby. The availability of such high quality resources as those offered by the RAS Observatory has narrowed the gap between amateur and professional astronomers.”

Mr. Nicholson went on to say, “My intention is to promote the growth of national and international teams to supplement the impressive work already being carried out by individual researchers of the RAS Observatory.”

Mr. Nicholson added, “The resources of observatory also provide a perfect opportunity for individuals with physical disabilities to actively participate in this fascinating aspect of astronomy. They too can make a significant contribution to science; and all from the comfort of their familiar computer keyboard.”

Nicholson concluded, “Another great feature is that no special software is required to access and operate the telescopes at the RAS Observatory. However, some image processing may be required to produce the final images.”

The RAS Observatory is located near Mayhill, New Mexico, under some of North America’s clearest and darkest skies. There are approximately 250 nights a year available for high quality observing.

The observatory’s high-end equipment includes Takahashi telescopes, Paramount robotic mounts, SBIG CCD cameras, FLI CCD cameras and a host of special filters like LRGB, BVRI, Ha, SII and OIII. The facility makes professional-quality deep space photography immediately available and affordable. Even those interested in astronomy but with little or no previous experience are welcomed at RAS.

The observatory’s website can be visited at http://www.ras-observatory.org. Additional information can be acquired by calling a live representative at 714-501-8247 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

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Arnie Rosner