...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, but you may read about them at BOOKS. Contact me at email@example.com if you are interested in acquiring a print-your-own e-version (PDF files) of either book.
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 4 years until the Aug. 21, 2017, total eclipse of the Sun over the central U.S., and 11 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 and a member of the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Waco. [UUFW also hosts FT. PARKER WEEKEND, an annual weekend of (secular) fun and music at Ft. Parker State Park, usually held in early November.] From time to time I give public presentations on various topics -- philosophical, historical, and otherwise. You can see my PRESENTATION SCHEDULE here. On Facebook, I post a Daily Reflection which you might find of interest. This project started with my desire to find a humanist-oriented source of daily readings which provoke thought and reflection. Finding none to my satisfaction, I began creating my own December 10, 2012. It occurred to me that some of my friends might find these reflections of interest, so I began posting them on my Facebook page. While some are of my own writing, most are the writings -- prose and poetry -- of others which I find thought-provoking, inspiring, or otherwise interesting. (If you wish to see these Daily Reflections, send me a friend request and, if we've not met, a message that you are interested in seeing the Daily Reflections. If you don't like them, you can always unfriend me with no hard feelings! Humanism doesn't appeal to everyone.)