Historical Astronomy Collection

Embark on a cosmic journey with amateur astronomer Thomas Budge by exploring his planetarium lectures, TV shows, and interviews with South African astronomers.

Thomas Budge is an amateur astronomer with a passion for teaching others about the universe in which we live. Here is an historical archive of his planetarium lectures, television shows, and interviews with various South African professional and amateur astronomers.

Astronomical Archives

For nearly two decades, Thomas presented lectures in the Johannesburg Planetarium, located on the University of the Witwatersrand campus. His love for astronomy grew from his youth when he walked on multi-day hikes across South Africa with his father. He later became the Chair of the Transvaal Centre of the Astronomical Association, appeared on television and radio, and hosted a six-part television series for the South African Broadcasting Corporation entitled "Out of this World!"

At 10-years of age, Thomas joined his father for the first of many hikes through some of Southern Africa's remotest regions. These explorations lasted for three or four days, with evenings spent camping out in open terrain under a canopy of stars. Thom carried with him an old astronomical field guide, and taught himself about the starry constellations and the planets of our solar system that wandered slowly among those stars.

Later in Thom's early thirties, Gil Jacobs a lecturer at the Johannesburg Planetarium at the University of the Witwatersrand, introduced Thomas to the Planetarium's Director, Mr Tom Geary. Mr Geary readily agreed to Thom joining the Planetarium's lecturing staff, an honour that he enjoyed doing for the next 20-years.

The Johannesburg Planetarium
Image credit unknown.

For 3-years, Thomas served as the Chairman of the Johannesburg Centre of the Astronomical Association, during which he frequently appeared on radio and television. In 1995, he was asked to script and present a 6-part, half-hour television programme for the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC-3). The series, Out of this World flighted in 1995.

Thomas regularly arranged private astronomy talks. These were often held at the Planetarium, hosted outdoors at night, and at many other conference and function venues.

Letter of Thanks

Table of Contents

Here is a list of the material we were able to find and showcase.

Out of this World!—Produced for SABC 3

August 1995 | Protea Ranch | Celestial Movement | Concepts of Time | the Royal Observatory, Johannesburg | the Innes Dome housing the 26" Grubb Refracting Telescope, built in England and brought to Johannesburg in the early 1920's | the History of Telescopes | Galileo's First Telescope | Amateur-built Telescopes | Newtonian Telescopes | Reflecting versus Refracting Telescopes | Optical Aberration | Grinding one's own Mirror | Interview with Des Fourie, Amateur Astronomer on Building a Telescope | History carried by Light in Time | Twelve Constellations of the Zodiac | Planetary Movement across the Zodiac along the Ecliptic | the Moon | Mars, Saturn and Jupiter | the Triple Crossing of the Orbital Plane of Saturn | Constellation of Scorpius and it's Mythology.

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The Moon | Timekeeper for Early Civilisations | Lunatics | Tidal Forces | Moon's Relative Size | Copernicus' Heliocentric Solar System | Myths about Life on the Moon | Galileo's Telescopic Images of the Moon | NASA's Moon Landing | The Lunar calendar | Ways to View the Moon | From High Mountains to Deep Craters | A Waterless Body | Moon versus Earth Scale and Distance | Phases of the Moon | Moon's Orbit around Earth | How Sunlight causes Moon Phases | Why we see only one side of the Moon | Moon's Rotation on its Axis | Lunar and Solar Eclipses | Moon's Gravity and Tides | Danie Overbeek | Lunar Occultations | Celestial Co-ordinates | Azimuth | Altitude | Observation Time | Zenith | Using Hand Measurements | Southern Cross | Jupiter | Scorpio | Comet Hale-Bopp

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The Sun | Tribal Sun Mythology | Zulu Beliefs | Khoisa Beliefs | Aboriginal Myths | Egyptian Sun God | Greek, Aztec and Inca Beliefs | Sutherland Observatory, South Africa | Dr Robert Stobie | Dr David Laney | The Sun, our closest Star | Star Formation | Proto-stars | Star Lifecycles | Sunspots | Solar Flares | Solar Rotation | Magnetic Flux Tubes | Solar Corona | Solar Eclipse | Solar Wind | Aurora Borealis | Solar Observing using Binoculars | Birmingham University's Solar Observatory | Automated Solar and Lunar Observing | Ancient Solar Observatories | Orion Constellation | Star Hopping Techniques | Ancient Greek Mythology about Orion | Betelgeuse | Rigel | Great Orion Nebula | Sirius | The Summer Triangle | Taurus Constellation | Aldebaran | Pleiades | The Planisphere.

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Boyden Observatory | Bloemfontein | University of the Orange Free State | Rockefeller Telescope | Uriah Boyden | Dr John Stefanos Paraskevopoulos | Professor Tony Farrell | University of Cape Town | Cape Town Planetarium | Large-scale Structures in the Universe | The Virgo Cluster of Galaxies | The Centauri Great Wall | First Xhosa Planetarium Show | The Lamont-Hussey Observatory | Conference of the Astronomical Society | Dr Robert Stobie | Solar System Formation | The Oort Cloud | Kepler's Laws | Newton's Laws | Planetary Motion | Possibility of Planets orbiting other Stars | How to find the Planets in the Night Sky | Planetary Motion around the Sun | The Ecliptic | Retrograde Motion | Observing Venus, Mars and Jupiter | Planetary Conjunction of Venus, Mars and Jupiter.

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Primitive Sailing | Coastal Landmarks | Odysseus the First Astro-navigator | The Magnetic Compass | Celestial Navigation | The Quadrant | Navigating South of the Equator | Solar and Lunar Sightings | The Nautical Almanac | The Astrolabe | The Backstaff and the Crossstaff | The Sextant | The Complex Problem of Longitude | The Navigational Chronometer | Noonday Canon in Cape Town | Longitude's Relationship with Time | The South African Astronomical Observatory | Reverend Fellows | Astronomer Sir Thomas Maclear | The British Admiralty Board of Longitude | Essential Navigational Time Signals | Fellows fires the Pistol | Henderson drops the Ball | Cape Town Harbour Clock Tower | Signal Hill Noonday Canon | The Solar Transit Telescope | The Maclean Telescope | David Gill | Modern Nautical Navigation | Captain Shaun Hyland, Master SA Waterberg | The Cape Town Planetarium | Professor Tony Ferrell | Esme Machekizo | Planetarium Shows in Xhosa | The Meteorites at the South African Museum in Cape Town | Orion | Andromeda Galaxy | What was the Star of Bethlehem?

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The Universe our Eyes cannot See | Refraction of Light | Colours of the Rainbow | Visible Light | The Electromagnetic Spectrum | X-rays | Radio Transmission | Infrared | Ultraviolet | Anthony Voorveld | Refraction, the Bending of Light | All Bands of Energy in the Electromagnetic Spectrum can Refract | Microwave Refraction | Polarisation of Light | Polarisation of Radio Waves | Focussing Light | Focussing Radio Waves | Hartebeeshoek Radio Astronomical Observatory (HartRAO) | Cassegrain Reflector | The Principle Workings of a Light Telescope | Dr George Nicholson | The Principle Workings of a Radio Telescope | The Universe in Different Wavelengths | Very-long-baseline Interferometry (VLBI) | Justin Jonas | Rhodes University | Radio Map of the Southern Skies | Comet in Visible Light | Radio Image of Comet | Centaurus A in Visible Light | Radio Image of Centaurus A | Radio Map of the Milky Way Galaxy | Observing Mercury | Venus | Mars | Jupiter | Saturn | Transit through Saturn's Ring Plane | Comet Hale-Bopp | Swiss Astronomers, Didier Queloz and Michel Mayor | Discovery of Planet around 51 Pegasi | Book Recommendations.

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