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Michael Hendrie

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Ronarbour's picture
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Michael Hendrie

I was saddened to hear about the passing of Michael Hendrie. I think it was my first attendance to a BAA exhibition where I displayed some photographic prints taken with my home made cooled emulsion camera. I was approached by a very quiet man who asked "Have you ever thought about photographing comets?" I replied something to the effect that "No they are much too difficult" and went on to explain in great technical detail how they moved relative to the background stars and how you had to apply timed offset guiding corrections in order that the comet's image wouldn't be blurred.
He generously thanked me for my explanation and then introduced himself; I'm "Michael Hendrie" he said very modestly. I had been instructing one of the world's most experienced and expert comet photographers on how to photograph comets!
I've known and corresponded with Michael for many years, recently only in a yearly update of our observational and constructional projects.
Michael was not only a perfectionist with his observational work but also constructional projects. Our common interest was to get the most from our telescopes with the use of home made ancillary equipment.
He built a wide-field 10" reflector and used a home made digital measuring machine to enable precision astrometry from photographic images. With today's technology results with residuals of < 0.1 arc secs can easily be achieved in a matter of seconds, in the photographic era it could take several hours with mechanical measuring engines.
Michael was a very modest man with huge patience and a worldwide reputation, the likes of which we will never see again. I shall miss him, someone I'm proud to have called a friend.

Ron Arbour

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Mike Hendrie

A lovely tribute Ron to one of the BAA greats. I wish I had known him.

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Mike Hendrie

A lovely tribute Ron to one of the BAA greats. I wish I had known him.

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Michael Hendrie

I knew Michael for nearly forty years, and as I used to live in Colchester I visited him quite often. But John Vetterlein knew him for an even longer period, going back to when he lived nearby in the 1950s. Together we have written an appreciation of Michael's life and work for the Journal. Ron Arbour has described his work and personality so eloquently that I won't add much more here. I observed with Michael on several occasions, both for daytime and nighttime observations, and it was a great pleasure to have assisted him in photographing Hale-Bopp one evening in 1997. He was, as Ron wrote, a perfectionist as an observer and as a technician. A quiet but very friendly and hospitable man who will be sadly missed.

I am posting two solar images by Michael which show (A) a massive limb prominence and (B) some plages around an active sunspot group, taken by Michael with his 152 mm Cooke OG stopped to 100 mm, with a Barlow lens giving a focal length of 4.7 m, and a 0.7 Angstrom Daystar H alpha filter. These scans do not do justice to the originals, which have a resolution better than 2 arcseconds.

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Yes, Mike will be very sadly

Yes, Mike will be very sadly missed. He was director of the Comet Section at a key time which included the return of 1P/Halley. Mike edited the BAA Memoir on this comet which was a huge undertaking. We have the Newsletters from that time available online via the link in here and they are a good example of how different observing was in those far off days. The attached pics show Mike with the 25cm reflector he used for his Halley imaging and the 6-inch Cooke that he used for his prominence images that Richard has posted.

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25cm reflector and Cooke refractor

Nick, Thanks for posting those pictures of Mike's instruments. He had some lovely equipment and I do like that brass eyepiece with what I assume are moveable crosshairs or a bifilar micrometer.

Peter

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Yes, that's the micrometer.

Yes, that's the micrometer. Imagine taking a long exposure of a comet (30 mins to an hour) using offset guiding on a star. The micrometer was rotated to the appropriate PA and then used to get the correct offset rate. If you messed up you wouldn't know until you developed the single film frame sometime later. Imaging was really hard work in those days! Have a look at this example and read the caption to see what I mean.