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Robert's Bio

Robert is Managing Director of Turknett Engineers PA, a local Mechanical Engineering company and has been robert birda fan of looking up at the night sky ever since he got his first telescope at the age of 12. During his high school years he spent time learning the constellations by sketching and naming the major stars. His passion for astronomy was lifted higher while living on his Grandfathers ranch in southeastern Oklahoma, 75 miles from the closet major city where the skies were darker than ever and the stars bright as can be. After graduating from high school in Tulsa, Oklahoma he moved with his family to Jacksonville, Florida and has been a Florida native ever since. Robert is not a “professional astronomer” but believes that the night sky is there for all of us regardless of the level of education or experience. Having this “down to Earth” background really allows Robert to connect with all age groups and levels of experience. See Robert's library of books that he has read and studied. 

robert and miranda birdRobert has been married for 13 years and has 4 wonderful children. In fact it was his oldest daughter, at the age of 6 that got Robert back into astronomy about 6 years ago. She is 12 now and frequently goes on stargazes and even helps out with bigger crowds.

Robert is an active member of the Northeast Florida Astronomical Society and a member of The Astronomical League. Over the past 6 years he has made over a thousand recorded observations and has been awarded the following Observation Clubs by the Astronomical League:

The Lunar Club– Located 100 objects on the Moon and recorded the observations.
The Herschel Club– Located and recorded 400 objects in the night sky including Star Clusters, Globular Clusters, Nebula, and Galaxies.
The Double Star Club– Located, recorded, and sketched 100 double stars.
The Messier Club– Located, recorded all 110 of the Messier objects.
Binocular Messier Club– Located and observed at least 50 Messier objects using binoculars.
Urban Observing Club– Found and recorded 100 deep sky objects under light polluted conditions.
Outreach Club– Invested over 100 hours in public astronomy outreach programs.
Globular Cluster Club– Found, recorded, and described 60 deep sky globular clusters

The Constellation Hunter– Located, recorded, and sketched 60 constellations.
The Universe Sampler– Wide range of observations and recording.
The Master Observer– Completed 10 Observing Clubs.

Robert was recently awarded the Master Observer Certificate and is working on 4 more observing certificates. Robert can regularly be found doing Public Outreach events at Hanna Park, which happens on the Saturday closest to the First Quarter Moon. You can find out more about the Hanna Park Public Stargazes by going to the NEFAS website.

Robert also enjoys doing any activities involving the family. He spent some time playing Pool on the Florida Open 9-Ball Tour as well as playing on local pool teams as an APA7. He owned and operated the River City Pool League, Inc. for 11 years. He is a Multi-Engine Land rated Private Pilot and likes talking aviation. He enjoys watching NASCAR racing. He also keeps up with all of the latest news regarding NASA and the space program.