Douglas George Daniels - Astronomy Secretary
Doug Daniels was born in Hackney, east London in 1940 during a battle of Britain air raid! He was educated at Parmiter's Grammar School, where at the age of 13 he became interested in astronomy and built his first telescope, using an old spectacle lens for an objective. Whilst at school, together with a group of friends, he built the first Planetarium to operate in London (6 months before the Baker Street model) - reported in the Times Educational Supplement Feb. 5 1960. During this time he continued to build bigger and better telescopes. A 3-inch refractor was replaced by a 6-inch reflector and then work began on a 14.5-inch Cassegrain. He joined the British Astronomical Association in 1956- and was at that time one of its youngest members.
At that time, he also joined the North East London branch of Junior Astronomical Society and constructed an observatory on waste ground in Stratford, East London.
In 1959 he left school to attend the London College of Printing & Graphic Arts where he studied graphic design, obtaining an N.D.D. (National Diploma in Design) in 1963. In that year he was involved in arranging an exhibition on astronomy and space exploration with the North London J.A.S and Walthamstow council. It was at about this time that he learned about the Hampstead Scientific Society from Julia Willcox (soon to become Julia Daniels), who he had met on an astronomy weekend course at Wansfell College in Theydon Bois.
Doug and Julia were married in August 1965 and were then both serving on the H.S.S. Council and demonstrating at the Hampstead Observatory. In 1967 they moved to Finchley where the first task was the construction of an observatory containing a 16.5-inch Cassegrain telescope; this instrument is still in use today. In 1971 Doug was appointed Chairman of the H.S.S. Astronomy sub-committee and was elected Vice President. In 1988 he became Astronomy Secretary, when Henry Wildey retired.
Apart from the construction of telescopes, Doug Daniels' main interest has always been concerned with astronomical observation and imaging. In 1966 he designed a high resolution planetary camera which was used to photograph Mars with the 18-inch Radcliffe refractor at London University Observatory at Mill Hill. He has taken photographs of many astronomical phenomena but as light pollution has increased, now concentrates on the Moon and Planets abandoning conventional photography in favour of C.C.D (charged couple device) imaging and computer enhancement.
Over the years he has published numerous articles on astronomical imaging in Society journals and magazines and has contributed observations to many sections of the British Astronomical Association. He is a registered tutor on astronomy with the Workers Educational Association and has lectured to numerous societies.
Other interests include: Geology, he was chairman of the Amateur Geological Society for 11 years, all branches of science, horology, landscape painting in water colour and oils, music, particularly swing and jazz (used to play the trombone in his youth) and classic motor cars, he has been a member of the Alvis Car Club for over 25 years.