Mr Mark Woodland
c/o Royal Astronomical Society
Undergraduate in Astrophysics, Outreach Astronomer.
RAS Fellow (2013-present), Open University Student (2006-present), NHS Systems Developer (2014- present), Wells & Mendip Astronomers Committee member (2013-present), Project Lead – Charterhouse Exoplanet Project (2015-present), Charterhouse Observatory Manager (2015-present), Lunar Mission One Outreach (2016-present), TWINKLE Outreach (2015-present), GlamSCI Blogger (2016-present).
Special interests: Exoplanets, observational astronomy, amateur astrophysics, compact stellar remnants, STEM outreach, Space flight, planetary sciences.
I am a massive advocate for amateur involvement in astronomy and space sciences. As an undergraduate with the Open University and therefore distance learning, I do not get as much exposure to professional research as other students might. This has been the main driving force behind the professional projects that I have involved myself with. I feel very strongly that outreach plays a vital role in the future of STEM subjects and I try, at every point, to share my passion of the sciences with who-ever I come across, and in whatever setting I find myself.
Following the practical difficulties of completing my GCSE Astronomy course at school, and when I found myself in a position to run an observatory, I founded the Charterhouse Exoplanet Project. Its aims are to engage school pupils and amateurs in real, current astronomy research. Using the 18” telescope housed at the site, I run practical observing sessions for people of all ages and backgrounds. Myself and a small team having recently completed renovated on the instrument, are now looking to move into the next stages of our outreach program.
I have been involved with the Wells & Mendip astronomers since late 2013, and have been a member of the committee for the same period of time. They have a very strong following of members, and a broad calendar of outreach events for the public.
The RAS is one of the most influential groups of professionals, students and amateurs in the astronomical community. I put myself forward for this position not only to be able to have more of an active involvement with the society, but also to be able to share what experience I do have of being an amateur, and represent those who are in a similar position to me. Further to that, it would be an invaluable experience, to be able to help the society in its continued work in astronomy and geosciences.