My astronomy interests.

Top image is a static 30-second image of the southern Milky Way , with the planet Jupiter beneath the bright star, Antares.Taken with a Nikon D300 + Nikkor 16mm f/2.8ED lens, rated at 1600 ISO. Taken from our property 2007.

Inside the main observatory with the 12" f/5 Newtonian & other scopes

Night of the total lunar eclipse 28 August 2007, which was broadcast globally live via Discovery Channel, along with two other observatories on the mainland. View through the slit during totality and a screen shot of what was being seen live.

Various telescope systems used outside the observatory, the Alhena system will be housed in the new OctaDome - under construction

EQ6 mount, used with various small telescope combination's as a portable travel and display system for public outreach and media presentations. 

Shevill Mathers, Hon. Research Associate

School of Maths & Physics,

                    University of Tasmania

Private Bag 37, Hobart Tasmania 7001


Tripod mounted still shot Southern Milky Way 2010

Shevill Mathers has been a keen amateur astronomer / telescope and camera builder in the UK since the early 60’s, with a special interest in astrophotography. A member of the BAA, London (Lunar Section), his photographic expertise was greatly encouraged by Patrick Moore, with whom he has maintained a lasting friendship. Elected a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society in 1968.

During the mid 60’s he published the results of his work developing full aperture aluminised optical filters for solar observing and photography. Article published in the British Astronomical Association.Journal 1966. He has applied his medical science background and tertiary qualifications in scientific, electron & light photomicrography and X-Ray imaging techniques to astronomy, with much success over the years.  Uses his skills to maintain a ‘cutting edge’ interest in astro imaging and its associated equipment, which is in contrast to his histopathology and forensic science related work. As a sessional retinal angiographer, he has maintained a keen interest in new digital technologies, some of which he can apply to astroimaging.

Examples of his photography can be seen in books by Patrick Moore, as well as numerous astronomical publications. During the early 70’s in Tasmania he produced a photographic star atlas of the southern skies, which was joint project with the late Walter Pennell (UK); Walter visited Shevill over several years at his first Southern Cross Observatory near Hobart.

Shevill moved to Tasmania & joined the Astronomical Society of Tasmania in April 1968 and became its 10th president in 1970. He was again elected president in 2000-06. He also took on the role of Editor of the Bulletin and was responsible for its new pre-printed cover artwork in colour design and format, a bi-monthly 32-page A5 printed publication, which replaced the traditional photocopied stapled half dozen A4 pages.He has been involved (as an amateur) with the University of Tasmania’s Mt Canopus observatory complex since early 1968, in the days of the first 16” telescope and Dr Michael Waterworth.

In the late 80’s he began developing video systems for observing & imaging astronomy use. Since 1989 he has employed his special video camera systems on the Mt Canopus 16” as well as his own telescopes - both on the sun as well as night sky objects, to great advantage on public open days /nights. His video technology is very useful in his various ongoing astronomy outreach projects.

In 2000, Shevill became an honorary contributing editor of SKY & SPACE magazine with his regular “Moonlighting” column. His regular column was augmented by a wide range of articles including ATM articles, Astro News items and Activities from Tasmania as well as reviewing various  astronomical equipment. In 2005 appointed an honorary Associate Editor of the ‘New’ SKY & SPACE Magazine, until its untimely demise when the sole owner & director, Lyle Rumble, suffered ongonig health problems.

At the 21st National Australian Convention Amateur Astronomers, held in Hobart, Tasmania, 2004, Shevill presented two separate  illustrated papers & workshops along with extensive equipment displays related to video applications in astronomy. Featuring deep sky imaging, solar and All Sky (day & night), in real time, the main features of his work at his Southern Cross Observatory.   His first N.A.C.C.A presentation was in Western Australia in 1972 - re his first observatory & photographic work.

In 2005, after 5 years as AST president & editor, Shevill stepped down to be able to spend more time writing and developing various projects, both work related and astronomical imaging / technology and telescope building. His final task as president was to initiate the weekly “Hands-On” Observing nights at Mt Canopus, which is proving to be a great success.

He enjoys a relaxed lifestyle with his partner, Gaye and their pet’s and 1966 Mark 2 Jaguar, on a 5-acre rural property with dark skies just 12 km from Hobart and close to the Mt Canopus Observatory. His current 4-metre rotating observatory, built in the late 90’s now houses a wide range of telescopes of various types and sizes from a homebuilt fork mounted Newtonian 12” f/5 (soon to be replaced by a 16” f/4.5 Newtonian (homebuilt) incorporating many unique features which are used mainly for astro imaging using film, digital, cooled CCD, web cams, and a wide variety of video systems. He also has some mobile and semi portable telescopes on EQ mounts. Another smaller observatory called the 'OctaDome' is his own design. A good machine workshop and video / electronic studio adds to the ease of production of new or modified equipment. The main observatory instruments will be remotely controlled from a room in the house, some 50 metres away.

Over the past few years he has added to his solar imaging equipment which now includes the only Baader Planetarium Mark IV Coronograph (H-alpha prominence telescope) in Australasia as well as a modern Baader Herschel Wedge (white light), on a William Optics Megrez 90 APO refractor. A LUNT Ha 60 1200 DS 50mm replaces a Coronado 40 mm Solarmax filter unit on a William Optics Megrez 80SD. Also Coronado PST to double stack the 40 mm Solarmax unit completes the solar equipment. Images from these instruments appear in various magazines and Internet forums.

He is a regular contributor to various magazines including  Tasmania 40 Degrees South, Leatherwood On-Line, Discover Tasmania, Quasar Publishing ‘Astronomy Yearbook’, Universe Today and various overseas scientific forums. He is a local media source for TV, radio and the print media. His aim is to popularise astronomy within the general community and to develop video astronomy techniques still further.

During 2009 the title of: 'Honorary Research Associate' School of Maths & Physics, UTAS, (University of Tasmania) was confired, in recognition of his contributions to astronomy-spanning 50 years. Currently working on the Mt Canopus one metre telescope fibre optic spectrograph with Dr John Greenhill, in preparation to doing the same on the new 50" telescope, to be located at Bisdee Tier in the Southern Midlands of Tasmania.


More Date & Images follow these links