Welcome to Peter Grego's

Cosmic Backyard

Welcome to my website. Iím a writer, editor and artist living in St Dennis, Cornwall, UK.


My writing interests include all aspects of astronomy.


A bit about my astronomy

My first distinct memory of Ďspaceí is seeing those ghostly TV pictures of Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walking on the Moon in July 1969; I was 3 years and 7 months old. I canít remember a time when I wasnít fascinated by space and astronomy.


I have directed the Lunar Section of Britainís Society for Popular Astronomy since 1984, and since 2006 have been Assistant Director of the Lunar Section of the British Astronomical Association.


I have edited the following publications:

o††††††††† Nova (independent astronomy journal)

o††††††††† The Antiquarian Astronomer (Society for the History of Astronomy)

o††††††††† The New Moon (journal of the British Astronomical Association Lunar Section)

o††††††††† SHA Newsletter (journal of the Society for the History of Astronomy)

o††††††††† SPA News Circulars (Society for Popular Astronomy)

o††††††††† Prime Space (magazine for young people in the Society for Popular Astronomy)


And I currently edit:

o††††††††† Luna (journal of the Society for Popular Astronomy Lunar Section)

o††††††††† BAA Lunar Section Newsletter (British Astronomical Association)

o††††††††† SHA Bulletin (journal of the Society for the History of Astronomy)

o††††††††† Popular Astronomy (Society for Popular Astronomy magazine).


Iíve written and illustrated the monthly MoonWatch page in Astronomy Now magazine since 1997


I maintain this website at www.lunarobservers.com and Iím also webmaster of the BAA Lunar Section website www.baalunarsection.org.uk


Iím the author of 19 published books:


Mars and How to Observe It (Springer, 2012)

The Star Book (David & Charles, 2012)

Galileo and 400 Years of Telescopic Astronomy (Springer, 2010)

Moon Observerís Guide (Philips / Firefly, 2003, revised 2010)

Solar System Observerís Guide (Philips / Firefly, 2006, revised 2010)

The Great Big Book of Space (QED, 2010)

Astronomical Cybersketching (Springer, 2009)

Voyage Through Space (QED, 2008)

Discovering the Solar System (QED, 2008)

Discovering the Universe (QED, 2008)

Exploring the Earth (QED, 2008)

Exploring the Moon (QED, 2008)

Venus and Mercury and How to Observe Them (Springer, 2008)

Need to Know? Universe (Collins, 2007)

Observerís Map of the Moon (self-published, 2006)

The Moon and How to Observe It (Springer, 2005)

Need to Know? Stargazing (Collins, 2005)

Collision: Earth! (Cassell, 1998)

BAS Observerís Handbook (BAS, 1988)



Philipsí Moonwatch pack (Philips, 2003)

Philipsí Solar System Observer pack (Philips, 2006)


I have written around 300 articles on various astronomical topics for a variety of publications, newsletters, magazines, newspapers, pamphlets, posters and books, including The Telegraph on Sunday, The Sunday Times, Fortean Times, Astronomy Now, Sky at Night, Sky and Telescope, Popular Astronomy and Gnomon. Iím not a bad graphics illustrator.


Iím a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society, member of the Society for the History of Astronomy, the British Astronomical Association, the Society for Popular Astronomy and the Association of Lunar and Planetary Observers.


Iíve been an active visual observer since 1980. My observing log currently totals around 1500 individual observations, most of which are drawings made at the telescope eyepiece. I observe with a 200 mm SCT, a home made 150 mm Newtonian planetary reflector (f/11) and a home made 300 mm Newtonian rich field reflector (f/4.5) ó telescope mirror making is another of my occasional pursuit.

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My philosophy

Astronomy is the oldest science Ė written records of celestial events go back thousands of years. But people have gazed at the stars with wonder and awe ever since the first sparks of human consciousness flickered in the minds of our distant ancestors.


Thereís plenty to see in the night sky. Some things, like the constellations, are permanent fixtures; others, like the planets, move and change over time. A few phenomena, like aurorae, are spectacular but fleeting.


Whether you use binoculars or a telescope, or even if you have no optical aid at all, there are enough sights in the night skies to keep the stargazer enthralled for a lifetime. This book, written for active stargazers eager to discover the Universe with their own eyes covers literally everything there is to be seen in the heavens, day and night.


So much can be seen in the skies without optical aid. Every stargazer ought to spend time learning the layout of the skies, the position of the main constellations and the names of the brightest stars. This can only be achieved by actually standing under a starry sky and tracing the constellations with the aid of a star chart. The learning process canít be completed in a single evening. During the course of a year, the heavens appear to slowly revolve around the Earth, and apart from those constellations near the celestial pole, their visibility is seasonal. Believe it or not, there are advantages to living in a light polluted city. Since only the brighter stars can be seen, the skies appear less crowded, and the patterns of the main constellations are easy to trace. Under a dark rural sky, the heavens can appear so congested with stars that even experienced stargazers can become somewhat disorientated!


Binoculars will reveal much more of the skies, and the impression of three dimensions in space - although wholly illusory - can be striking. The cratered surface of the Moon is revealed in all its glory through the smallest binoculars. Star colours are especially noticeable, and hundreds of double stars and deep sky objects, as well as countless glorious starfields, can be viewed.


With their larger light gathering ability, telescopes will allow detailed, magnified views of the Moon and planets, as well views of very faint objects like distant galaxies and nebulae.


Some transient phenomena, such as meteors and aurorae, are best enjoyed without any optical aid. Other phenomena, such as lunar eclipses, benefit from the low magnification afforded by binoculars. Certain phenomena require a telescope to perceive at all, for example, the sight of Jupiterís Great Red Spot transiting that planetís flattened cloud-streaked disk. The Universe contains a panoply of glorious spectacles of varying magnitudes Ė whether it be the meteoric burnup of a dust grain 80 km above our heads or the sudden catastrophic death of a star 80 million light years away.


Itís all there, waiting to be enjoyed.



Books written by Peter Grego


Collision: Earth!
All about meteors and space stuff that hits the Earth. Published by Cassell, 1998.
Buy on Amazon


Philip's Moonwatch
My Moonwatch pack is a complete kit for the lunar observer. Published by Philip's (UK), 2003.
Buy on Amazon


Need to Know? Stargazing
A beginner's guide to astronomical observation. Published by Collins, 2005
Buy on Amazon


The Moon and How to Observe It
It describes the Moon's orbit, makeup and phenomena, with a guide to the Moon's features. Published by Springer, 2005.
Buy on Amazon


Philip's Solar System Observer pack
Contains my book Solar System Observer's Guide and two large posters of Solar System Objects and phenomena. Published by Philips (UK), 2006.
Buy on Amazon


Need to Know? Universe
An introductory guide to the splendours of the cosmos. Published by Collins, 2007.
Buy on Amazon


Exploring the Earth
Our home planet, simply explained. Published by QED, 2008.
Buy on Amazon


Exploring the Moon
Our natural satellite planet, simply explained. Published by QED, 2008.

Buy on Amazon


Discovering the Solar System
Our fascinating cosmic backyard, simply explained. Published by QED, 2008.
Buy on Amazon


Voyage Through Space
Space, the final frontier, simply explained. Published by QED, 2008.
Buy on Amazon


Discovering the Universe
A journey through cosmic realms, simply explained. Published by QED, 2008.
Buy on Amazon


Venus and Mercury and How to Observe Them
Full descriptions of the orbits, makeup, phenomena and features of the inferior planets Mercury and Venus, with a complete description of their features. Lists important planetary phenomena until 2019. Published by Springer, 2008.
Buy on Amazon


Astronomical Cybersketching
A unique guide to making astronomical observational drawings using PDAs and tablet PCs. Published by Springer, 2009.
Buy on Amazon


Moon Observer's Guide
Does exactly what it says on the cover. Contains a day-by-day guide to the lunar features visible throughout the lunation. Published by Philips (UK) / Firefly (USA), 2003, revised 2010.
Buy on Amazon


Solar System Observer's Guide
An observational guide to everything in our cosmic backyard. Published by Philip's (UK) / Firefly (USA) 2006, revised 2010.
Buy on Amazon


The Great Big Book of Space
Everything you need to know about the Universe, explained simply ó from the Earth and Moon to the planets, stars and beyond. Published by QED, 2010.
Buy on Amazon


Galileo and 400 Years of Telescopic Astronomy
Written jointly with Dr David Mannion, this book describes the impact of Galileo's discoveries and traces the development of telescopic astronomy. Published by Springer, 2010.
Buy on Amazon


Mars and How to Observe It
Full description of the orbit, makeup, phenomena and features of the planet Mars, with a complete description of its features. Published by Springer, 2012.

Buy on Amazon


The Star Book
A guide to the night skies, with seasonal star maps and descriptions of selected constellations. Published by David & Charles, 2012.

Buy on Amazon

Peter Grego's astronomy

SPA Lunar Section

BAA Lunar Section

SPA News Circulars

Popular Astronomy magazine

Astronomy Now's MoonWatch



My astrobiography

My telescopes & equipment

Miscellaneous stuff

A little bit of my artwork

Hamsters we have loved

Short story ó 'Lunar Rover of the Imagination'

Books by Peter Grego




BAA Lunar Section

British Astronomical Association

I've set up a special Yahoo Group intended to be a place where visual lunar observers are welcome to post and share their observational drawings of the Moon. Membership is open on application (not restricted to BAA members). CCD images may be posted, but only if they relate to topographical issues which merit visual investigation. This Yahoo group is primarily about visual observation, lunar sketching and direct investigation at the eyepiece.

Click to join baalunarsection-topography

Click to join baalunarsection-topography

About the BAA Lunar Section

BAA Lunar Section Journal The New Moon

BAA Lunar Section Circulars


SPA Lunar Section

Britain's Society for Popular Astronomy

About the SPA Lunar Section

Current lunar data

Lunar Section members' observations

Lunar Section Projects

SPA Lunar Section Journal Luna

SPA Lunar Section News Circular reports

Joint lunar and planetary Grand Tour


Popular Astronomy

The quarterly magazine of the SPA.

About Popular Astronomy

Writers' guide


Astronomy Now's MoonWatch

A monthly guide to the Moon, written by Peter Grego

View archive of lunar articles


Anthology of articles

A selection of some of my written work

Astronomy Now magazine

Popular Astronomy magazine

Fortean Times


Peter Grego ó an astrobiography

Read Peter Grego's (amusing? bemusing?) astrobiography


Some observations

Here's a selection of some of my astronomical observationals made using a variety of instruments since 1980

View observations


Astronomy and other web links

Click here to join lunar-observing
Click to join lunar-observing

Lunar Observing Yahoo Group - It's a thriving Internet-based community of lunar experts, Moon fans and selenographic lovers.



Society for Popular Astronomy

Italian Union of Amateur Astronomers - Lunar Section

British Astronomical Association - Lunar Section

ALPO Lunar Section

Charles Wood's Moon - Compendium of Lunar Science & History

Geologic Lunar Research Group

NASA - lunar exploration

Jackie Cottam's Backyard Moon - low-tech lunar observing from Greater Manchester, UK

Lunar Lander - play a cool JAVA game!

Lunar Orbiter Photographic Atlas of the Moon

Mike Brown's CCD astrophotography

Lots of lunar links (NASA site)

Danny Caes' Unknown Moon

Explore the Apollo landing sites

Astronomer and astronomy writer Mike Inglis' website


My artwork

A selection of my drawings and paintings

View artwork


Hamsters we have loved

All of our little Syrian rodent friends - all now running about in hamster heaven

View hamsters


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