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Fiona Vincent

I was brought up in Edinburgh, and I studied astronomy at the University of St.Andrews, as an undergraduate and a postgraduate, finally getting my PhD in 1980.  I have done a variety of jobs, including a spell with the BBC World Service in London.  From 1982 to 1994 I held the post of City Astronomer in Dundee, looking after the Mills Observatory - Britain’s only full-time public observatory. For some years I was editor of the Scottish Astronomers’ Group newsletter “SAGMag”.

My chief astronomical interest has been in asteroids and other small solar-system objects. I have worked in astrometry (accurate measurements of positions) and in photometry (measurements of brightness). I have also been involved in observing asteroid occultations:  when an asteroid passes in front of a distant star, its shape and size can be deduced from the time the star disappears and reappears at various locations.

I am an honorary member of staff at St.Andrews University, in the School of Physics and Astronomy. From 1996 to 2003 I was an active member of the team taking the St.Andrews mobile planetarium on trips to schools, during which time I presented nearly 200 shows. In addition, I provided monthly details about What’s in the Sky;  I no longer update this site every month, but it still contains general information about the apparent behaviour of the sun, moon and stars.  In February 1998, I gave a short series of lectures on “Positional Astronomy” for second-year students at St.Andrews University. The notes I prepared for these lectures now apparently offer one of the primary sources of such information on the Internet.

I have acted as Tutor, or as Study Adviser, on several astronomy courses for the Open University;  currently I tutor the third-level course on Astrophysics, which includes a remote-observing project at the Observatori Astronomic de Mallorca.  Over the years I have also studied many Open University courses, on topics as varied as geology, the history of mathematics, classical Latin and Greek, and the technology of music. 

In 2007 I started training as a keep-fit teacher with Medau Movement, and I now lead a weekly exercise class for older women in St.Andrews.

I live in St.Andrews with Roger Stapleton. I gave up driving a car some years ago;   I get around on foot, by bicycle, or using public transport.  Other non-astronomical interests include:  amateur radio;  hand-spinning, knitting and other needlework;  gardening;  and reading, particularly certain areas of science fiction and fantasy (I share my name with a starship).

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