Amateur Astronomy

Discover the scope of the stars through the eyes of a Martha’s Vineyard astronomer.

Performance at the West Tisbury School

On the evening of Tuesday, May 23, 2017, Mark told stories about amateur astronomy to a gathering of young scientists and their parents. Mark’s appearance was sponsored by Felix Neck Wildlife Sanctuary. He was introduced by Josey Kirkland, Education Coordinator & Day Camp Director at the Massachusetts Audubon Society sanctuary. Mark talked about the planets, stars, galaxies, and the great value of being able to look out into the stars from the vantage point of Martha’s Vineyard. And he talked about how precious our little planet is in a vast universe.

β€œTo go into solitude, a man needs to retire as much from his chamber as from society. I am not solitary whilst I read and write, though nobody is with me. But if a man would be alone, let him look at the stars. The rays that come from those heavenly worlds will separate between him and what he touches. One might think the atmosphere was made transparent with this design, to give man, in the heavenly bodies, the perpetual presence of the sublime.

Seen in the streets of cities, how great they are! If the stars should appear one night in a thousand years, how would man believe and adore; and preserve for many generations the remembrance of the city of God which had been shown! But every night come out these envoys of beauty, and light the universe with their admonishing smile.

The stars awaken a certain reverence, because though always present they are inaccessible; but all natural objects make a kindred impression, when the mind is open to their influence.”

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, 1803-1882

Mark Alan Lovewell Martha's Vineyard astronomer

Mark Alan Lovewell with telescopeThis telescope is an old 10.5 inch Schmidt-Cassegrain Meade telescope on a fairly new Celestron mount.

Mark Alan Lovewell Martha's Vineyard astronomer