John Drummond has been fascinated with astronomy ever since his mother pointed the ‘Pot’ in Orion out to him when he was ten. John soon developed an interest in photography and it wasn’t long before the two passions were combined into astrophotography. He has been involved in astrophotography for many years and has had photos published in books and magazines around the world – and even on some New Zealand stamps.
He has used his telescopes at Possum Observatory, near Gisborne, (E94) to image targets for Ohio State University in order to co-discover exoplanets via the microlensing method. He helped discover one of the first known Earth-massed planets orbiting one member in a binary star system. It was published in Science. John also does astrometry of newly discovered comets – as well as those of more well-known orbits.
John completed his MSc (Astronomy) in 2016 with Swinburne University of Technology. Currently he is doing his PhD with the University of Southern Queensland’s (USQ) Centre for Astrophysics. His work is on New Zealand’s historical role in the observation and study of comets. He is also heavily involved with the Royal Astronomical Society of New Zealand and was made a Fellow in 2018. He teaches science at high school and runs an astro-tourism business – Gisborne Astro Tours (www.gisborneastrotours.co.nz ). He uses a 0.5-m (20″) GoTo Dobsonian telescope and a 0.4-m (16″) Dobsonian telescope for these visual tours of the Universe.