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Eric Watkins

My interest in astronomy, began at ten years old with my father telling me that the Sun was really a star, a fact he cleaned from watching the "Sky at Night" the previous evening. One night he pointed out the Plough and Pole star to me resulting in me locating the brighter constellations.  Aged 12 years I won a ten shilling book token for a school poetry recital competition and purchased Patrick Moore’s, “Observers Book of Astronomy", and yes like many of you my life changed as a result.

My Christmas present for 1969 was a 2nd hand equatorial mounted Tasco 4.5" reflector and I joined the BAA in February of 1970 and later the Lunar Section, concentrating on TLP searches.  Several years later whilst at college I purchased a second-hand Astronomical Equipment (AE) 10" Newtonian reflector on a “B” equatorial mount and later in the mid 1980's an 16" F:6 Newtonian reflector mounted on an AE “C “mount. Shamefully, these two telescopes saw very little action due to work and a part-time Open University degree.

In 1975/76 I began an astrophysics degree at QMC, London, but failed to progress and joined the police force during which time I gained an OU degree in Physics. Injury on duty forced me to retire and I gained an MSc in astronomy at Herts, continuing to a part-time PhD with Nail Tanvir, which was abandoned after 3 years due to a serious, debilitating illness. Ten years later, following a kidney transplant, I again attempted an observational astronomy part-time PhD from which I withdrew after one year following the closure of the astronomy department with unsatisfactory provisions made for my continuance.

The overall result is that I have now dedicated all of my time to amateur research and have established a observatory.    I also use remote robotic telescopes.

My interests now are purely research based, namely, asteroids/centaurs, T3 active asteroids, SdB post-common envelope binary stars with putative circumbinary planets.  I have recently begun to record Exoplanet transits intending to develop an observing programme.

I have determined the previously un-reported rotation periods of 4 asteroids, confirmation images of T3 asteroid activity and I have recently with other BAA members co-authored an academic paper published in "Astronomy & Astrophysics”, A&A 611, A48 (2018), concerning SdB binary stars and circumbinary planets.

I have to thank BAA members  Dr. R. Miles, (ARPS director), Roger Dymock  and Brian Warner for all their help and encouragement with my asteroid/centaur research, also  to the members/co-authors of the SdB binary star group  who allowed me to join and from whom I have  learnt so much.

I am a FRAS and a member of the AAVSO.

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