...a site for amateur astronomers, and more...
Who is PAUL DERRICK?
When this web site was created in 2002, it was exclusively an astronomy and stargazing site -- hence the title and domain name. Although the site's focus has broadened, I like the title and domain name and therefore am keeping them. Since turning 70 in 2010, I've been gradually disengaging from some commitments and re-directing my attention and energies. Thus in some of the following, I am now retired or semi-retired.
- AMATEUR ASTRONOMER (semi-retired)
Stargazer column (retired)
From 1990-2012, I was author of the "Stargazer" column which appeared twice monthly in the Waco Tribune-Herald and some 60+ other newspapers. Most of the 587 columns (except 1993-1997) are archived and can be read at STARGAZER COLUMNS.
Sky Calendar (retired)
The monthly sky calendar which was a feature of this site for the past several years has been retired. The web sites of Sky & Telescope and Astronomy magazines have sky calendars and a wealth of other information -- check them out. Programs, star parties, and classes (semi-retired)
Since 1989, I have presented programs, conducted star parties, and taught classes for children and adults in schools, camps, parks and many other settings. While I have cut my schedule back considerably, I am still available for limited engagements by request. See PROGRAMS for my schedule and more information. [See MAPS & DIRECTIONS for star party areas near Waco.]
My two books -- (A Beginner's Guide to) Learning the Night Sky, 2nd Edition and Stargazer's Life List -- are currently out-of-print (for hard copies), but e-copies (not Kindle) are available at no cost using Dropbox. You may read about the books and downloading them at BOOKS.
You can find some basic stargazing information, especially helpful to new stargazers, at INFORMATION. CTAS
Paul is an active and charter member of the CENTRAL TEXAS ASTRONOMICAL SOCIETY which owns and operates the Turner Research Station near Clifton, TX. TRS is the home of the Meyer Observatory which houses a 24-inch robotic research-grade telescope.
Solar Eclipses Countdowns
It's now less than 3 years until the Aug. 21, 2017, total eclipse of the Sun over the central U.S., and less than 10 years until the April 8, 2024, total solar eclipse passes over the heart of central Texas. Make your plans early! For more information see TOTAL SOLAR ECLIPSES IN OUR FUTURE!
- AMATEUR MUSICIAN (semi-retired)
See Paul's MUSIC GIGS schedule and his MUSIC PHOTO HISTORY pages. (If you've ever played music with Paul you might be in one of the photos!)
- HUMANIST THINKER (when I don't fall asleep)I am an agnostic secular humanist, member of the First Unitarian Society of Denver, and former, long-time member of the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Waco. NOTE regarding Dropbox: The documents cited below are available free via Dropbox where they can be downloaded onto your computer. You need NOT have a Dropbox account, and the service is free. So that you can find the downloaded files, note into which folder on your computer the files are downloaded; depending on your operating system you may be able to direct the files into your folder of choice, or they may go into a general Download folder.
- So what do I mean by "agnostic secular humanist?" How can I live a fulfilled, contributing and ethical life without any god or traditional religion? What are some of my other thoughts as a humanist? See some of my HUMANISM PRESENTATIONS which are available for download.
- As a non-religious yet reflective humanist, for some time I sought a humanist-oriented daily reflections-type book. When all I could find were religiously oriented books that did not met my needs, I decided to create my own DAILY REFLECTIONS - a compilation of a full year of widely varied readings for daily reading and reflection which speak to my humanist and liberal social philosophies, and which are available for download.
- From time to time I have given OTHER PRESENTATIONS - astronomical, philosophical, historical, and otherwise - which might be of interest and ARE available for download.
- Since 1977, the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Waco has hosted FT. PARKER WEEKEND, an annual weekend of secular, humanist-oriented fun, fellowship, relaxation, music jamming and enjoyment of nature at lovely Ft. Parker State Park near Mexia, TX. Usually held in early November the weekend event begins Friday afternoon and ends Sunday noon. Heated cabins and a large kitchen are provided for this indoor "camping" weekend. The cost is nominal and one need not be a UU or member of UUFW to participate.
- And I would be remiss if I didn't call your attention to the AMERICAN HUMANIST ASSOCIATION of which I am also a member.