I'm Emeritus Professor of Astronomy at The Open University UK, where I have worked since October 1972. Before that I spent nearly three years at Cornell University, in a department that included Frank Drake, Tommy Gold, and Carl Sagan. For most of my time there I worked with Gold on the lunar seismic signals as recorded by seismometers placed on the lunar surface by the Apollo landers. At the OU i've been involved in various research projects but am best known for my work on shadow bands created in the Earth's atmosphere just before and after the total phase of solar eclipses, and, more recently, for theoretical work on the habitability of planetary systems.
My OU teaching was in physics and astronomy. I've also written my own astronomy books. Recent titles are as follows.
1 Life in the Solar System, and Beyond, (Springer-Praxis 2004)
2 Discovering the Solar System, 2nd edition, (Wiley 2007)
3 The Search for Life Continued, Planets Around Other Stars, (Springer-Praxis 2008)
4 Pluto: Sentinel of the Outer Solar System, (Cambridge University Press 2010)
The first two are at a somewhat higher level than the last two, which are at/near the "popular science" level.
As well as writing books I also give talks, mainly to amateur astronomy societies.
My interest in astronomy predates the Sky at Night (October 1957) and was sparked when I was about ten by a visit to Cardiff Public Observatory, where I viewed Mars through a 12 inch Newtonian reflector. By the time I was 16 (in 1957) I had made an equatorially mounted 6 inch reflector, using a mirror I had made myself, including silvering; my mother was very long suffering. Now I have a 6 inch Celestron, computer controlled, and an 8 inch Newtonian with a splendid mirror by David Hinds.
I'm married, have two grown-up sons, and one grandson.