Leading Hampshire astronomer who set up National Astronomy Week will be sadly missed
As former president of the Hampshire Astronomical Group, Dr Robin Gorman was responsible for setting up the Clanfield Observatory as well as designing the much loved Space Trail at The Queen Elizabeth Country Park.
Robin pioneered the preservation of the night sky, working with local planners on street lighting to maintain sufficient darkness to observe the universe, and in 2006 he was made an honorary doctor of science by the University of Portsmouth.
Son Chris Gorman, 47, said: ‘Astronomy was his absolute passion and after he retired it became his full-time interest. He first became interested in astronomy as a teenager and would design the mirrors and make his own telescopes.’
In recent years Robin looked to pass on his passion, teaching astronomy to school children and delivering lectures to adult groups such as Probus and The Women’s Institutes. Chris also credits his dad with playing a major role in his own successful career as a professional photographer.
‘There are a lot of similarities between photography and the use of telescopes. He taught me so much and I would not have had the career I’ve had if it wasn’t for him. I remember as a child him building me a darkroom in my bedroom.
‘Everyone who met him commented on how intelligent he was,’ said Chris.
Perhaps Robin’s greatest legacy was establishing National Astronomy Week, which is now in its 39th year, following a conversation with friend and world renowned astronomer Sir Patrick Moore.
A statement on the National Astronomy Week website said: ‘We only have good memories of Robin and remember his easy going style and soft Hampshire voice.
‘He was a leading light in inspiring events and was always thinking ahead to the next opportunity.’
Away from astronomy Chris loved to spend time with his family and will be much missed by wife of 54 years, Celia, who grew up on the same Widely street, and sons Andrew and Chris.
Chris added: ‘Dad was well known for his huge laugh - he was always laughing. He was such an influence on us all and will be missed incredibly.’
Robin, who lived in Lovedean, sadly passed away on October 7.