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John Blackwell

John Blackwell

john&c8.gif John Blackwell and his C8.

In past Observer Profiles, I was listed as a software engineer living in Concord, NH. A lot has changed since then, and some of my dreams have been realized. In 2007 I received my Masters in Astronomy. I am now the Director of the Phillips Exeter Academy Grainger Observatory, a three domes facility with both manual and robotic telescopes. I teach three courses in astronomy at the Academy and enjoy living in Exeter, NH. I purchased a house in 1997 in Northwood, NH where I built Northwood Ridge Observatory under the dark skies of south central New Hampshire. The facility is robotic as well, and allows me to collect data every clear night.

My interest in variable stars came about after a childhood of loving amateur astronomy (it all began with a 2" Tasco telescope!). My first observations were of V BOO and U HER when the date was May 27, 1986. From that point onward I was hooked. I have since gone from visual observing to VBRI CCD work using automation and lots of home-made software. While I still observe LPVs, I really enjoy the quirkiness of cataclysmic variables and any star that needs more data. I enjoy working on long term data collection projects and especially enjoy getting my students to share my fascination of variable stars.

For those in the area, I welcome visitors to my observatory on Friday night open houses. Please feel free to contact me by email or through my website. Those needing mentoring may also contact me at any time. I am all too happy to help out others to get started in this fascinating and rewarding field.

AAVSO 49 Bay State Rd. Cambridge, MA 02138 aavso@aavso.org 617-354-0484