Ralph has been interested in space and astronomy since childhood and is passionate about promoting the work of the many professional astronomy organisations and researchers.
He runs numerous not-for-profit astronomy endeavours - including the biannual AstroCamp in the Welsh Brecon Beacons international dark sky reserve - to promote practical stargazing.
"If just a glimpse of the rings of Saturn through a small scope can cause anyone to cry 'wow!', then how much more will our understanding of the cosmos be enriched when we understand that missing 95% of the universe, solve the quantum-gravity conundrum or look for life elsewhere in the solar system and the wider galaxy? We live in exciting times when, for the first time in history, we can begin to reveal these mysteries - not through philosophy or superstition, but scientifically. Observationally. Accurately. The Higgs Boson has now been found, what's next?"
Ralph's favourites objects:
Albireo: That naked eye star that sits at the beak of the bird in the constellation of Cygnus the swan. With just a little magnification, this star can be split into a colour-contrasting pair that orbit one another once every 100,000 years or so.
Being colour-blind, this binary pair has a place in my heart for being one of the few deep sky objects that I see in colour - a beautiful rich yellow & blue. Pretty much everything else just looks white or grey.
The Needle Galaxy: This edge on spiral galaxy, also known as NGC 4565 or Caldwell 38, hovers in the spring constellation, Coma Berenices, but lies some 40 million light years away.
It's easily discernible in a medium sized scope but, as an astrophotographer, this is a real gem to image and process. I delight in revealing the bright central core bisected by a dark band of dust in the galaxy's arms each time it rises in the sky again.