DarkOutdoors is more than just a website. ¬†It’s a central place to get information about where to do astronomy, what to observe and who to do it with. ¬†It’s a comprehensive and cutting-edge way to promote, organise and find UK astronomy events. ¬†It’s a way to find fellow astronomers and groups, a channel for UK astronomy news and a national meeting place for a community of enthusiasts.
It’s hardly a history if we’re brand new, is it? ¬†Well as it happens, DarkOutdoors does actually have some ‘roots’. ¬†Its creator, Neil Phillipson, previously maintained Surrey Astro Events – an events website dedicated to Surrey-based astronomy events, most of which involved his store, Astronomia in some way. ¬†However it rapidly became clear that UK astronomy organisations far beyond Surrey lacked an effective, single channel for publicising events to the public. ¬†Alongside running Astronomia, Neil is a web database developer and he set to work in early 2012 to create DarkOutdoors (after some three years of muttering about how important it all was).¬† Before long, it became clear that any such website would need to allow users of all types to contribute, so DarkOutdoors ended up being a full-blown Geographical Information System (GIS), blog and social network! ¬†It leverages some of the very latest web technologies (like HTML5, CSS3 and AJAX) to achieve this noble aim.
Just to be Clear
DarkOutdoors is intended as a facility – not a group, society or organisation. ¬†Although we expect it to be used by all manner of astronomy organisations as well as individuals, it is not, in itself, a group – so whilst it is policed (a bit) there is no leadership as such. ¬†It is governed only by our acceptable use policy.
About the Creator
Neil Phillipson and his business partner, Adele Horton, own and run Astronomia, the astronomy store in Dorking, Surrey. ¬†Neil has a masters degree in Physics and is a keen astronomer as well as an optics specialist. ¬†Prior to opening Astronomia he ran an IT business which specialised in web-based database systems for all manner of customers from exam boards to finance houses. ¬†Nowadays he splits his time between high-end web and design projects and the day-to-day management of Astronomia and its sister company, Viewpoint Optics.
Have We Left Something Out?
We haven’t told you everything, but hopefully this helps explain what DarkOutdoors is all about. ¬†If you’d like to know more, please leave a comment below.