Mike Gadsden (centre) with Danish aurora observers Holger Andersen and Ole Skov Hansen at the Mesospheric Clouds Conference in Perth, 2002.
We are very sorry to tell you of the death of Dr Michael Gadsden, in Perth on April 10, at the age of 69 after a long fight against cancer He was one of our frequent and most welcome speakers, on Aurora and Noctilucent Clouds on which he was a world authority. Michael acted as mentor and adviser to Ron Livesey and Dave Gavine of the BAA Aurora Section. He had a wonderful career which took him from Imperial College London, to St Andrews, to studying the Southern Lights in New Zealand, then to Boulder, Colorado and Kitt Peak where he witnessed the amazing Leonid meteor storm of 1966. As senior lecturer in Physics at Aberdeen University he reorganised the ancient abandoned observatory on the Cromwell Tower at Kings College with new instruments for aeronomy. Happily this has been taken over as a good observing site by the Aberdeen Astronomical Society. Michael was Vice-President (Scotland) of the Royal Meteorological Society, Secretary-General of the International Association for Aeronomy (IAGA) then President, and a Council Member of the RAS. He was a big man with a huge grin and a naughty sense of humour. We miss him greatly and offer condolences to his wife Mavis, 2 sons, daughter and 9 grandchildren.
On a happier note, we were delighted to hear that Dr Harry Ford, our Lorimer Medallist and Honorary Member, was awarded the MBE in the New Years Honours and was invested by Prince Charles at Buckingham Palace on February 13. This comes as a recognition of all the good work he has done for Astronomy education, especially for his masterly programmes with the Caird Planetarium at the Old Royal Observatory at Greenwich and, before that, his post as Curator of the Mills Observatory in Dundee.
Congratulations also to another old friend and welcome visitor from the Deep South (Chichester), Storm Dunlop. Soon after the appearance of another of his fine books, How To Identify the Night Sky he was made an honorary Fellow of Sussex University, and later this year, in Norwich, he is to be given the Gordon Manley Award of the Royal Meteorological Society.