Retired astrophysicist takes his work home

A retired astrophysicist and Nobel Prize winner has taken his love of star-gazing and passion for photography to another level, constructing his own observatory in the backyard of his Dalefield property.

Retired astrophysicist Prof Brian Boyle stands in front of his new purpose-built Dalefield...
Retired astrophysicist Prof Brian Boyle stands in front of his new purpose-built Dalefield observatory. PHOTO: TRACEY ROXBURGH
Prof Brian Boyle, who moved to the Wakatipu from Australia at the end of 2019, now hopes to show others how to photograph the night sky once stargazing hours become more "socially acceptable".

Originally from Scotland, Prof Boyle had spent the past 25 years in Australia where, in 2011, he was part of a team awarded the Nobel Prize for physics after they set out to discover how fast the universe was decelerating.

Prof Boyle, who at the time was working for the Australian Astronomical Observatory, said he joined the team of about six people, based at the University of California, in the late 1980s.

"Nobody took us seriously — we were just a bunch of young people trying to do something ... we made lots and lots of mistakes to start with."

In 1998, the "Supernova Cosmology Project" group published a paper showing the universe was, in fact, accelerating.

An image of Orion’s Nebula captured by Prof Boyle from his backyard observatory. PHOTO: SUPPLIED
An image of Orion’s Nebula captured by Prof Boyle from his backyard observatory. PHOTO: SUPPLIED
Prof Boyle pioneered the world’s largest radio telescope, the $200million Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder, at Western Australia’s Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory.

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