Astronomy Outreach

Welcome to the Exeter Observatory. Hopefully you will find something interesting here including our live meteor and solar flare detection. The observatory is based in Matford, Exeter, Devon, United Kingdom and serves the purpose of promoting astronomy as a science and helping those interested in the Universe become more familiar with everything that exists within it. Please bookmark the site and check back for latest updates!

John Maclean FRAS

Very happy to be named as an “Agent” for the important NEOShield-2 asteroid deflection project! Do I get a badge and a secret weapon, I wonder?

I am very happy to announce that I have been selected as an Ambassador for the OSIRIS-REx sample return mission which launched in September 2016. I look forward to playing my part in this awesome mission.



OSIRIS-REx seeks answers to the questions that are central to the human experience: Where did we come from? What is our destiny? Asteroids, the leftover debris from the solar system formation process, can answer these questions and teach us about the history of the sun and planets.

The OSIRIS-REx spacecraft is traveling to Bennu, a carbonaceous asteroid whose regolith may record the earliest history of our solar system. Bennu may contain the molecular precursors to the origin of life and the Earth’s oceans. Bennu is also one of the most potentially hazardous asteroids, as it has a relatively high probability of impacting the Earth late in the 22nd century. OSIRIS-REx will determine Bennu’s physical and chemical properties, which will be critical to know in the event of an impact mitigation mission. Finally, asteroids like Bennu contain natural resources such as water, organics, and precious metals. In the future, these asteroids may one day fuel the exploration of the solar system by robotic and manned spacecraft.

Keep a close eye here for latest info on the mission!


Earlier in April 2017 I completed another successful lecture trip that took in Tasmania, Australia, Borneo, Vietnam and China, on board the beautiful Queen Mary 2. Topics included: Asteroids,Comets and Meteors, Journey through the Solar System, Bang! There goes the Universe and Hello? Is anyone out there. The lectures were well received and generated many questions and discussions. Here’s to the next time!


 Apollo 15 CM Pilot Al Worden

In February/March I completed another lecture trip from Chile to Australia via Easter Island, Tahiti, Moorea, New Zealand and Sydney. Ten well attended talks on a variety of Astronomy and Astrophysics topics.


Had a very successful lecturing trip on the Queen Mary 2 to New Zealand and Australia in March 2015. Visited the wonderful Sydney Observatory and University of New South Wales for a talk on the SKA and Dark Matter by Dr. Lisa Harvey-Smith.




STEM Ambassador