Monday, March 29, 2010

Don Machholz Discovers Comet Number 11

My friend and neighbor Don Machholz has discovered his 11th comet! He searches for comets using telescopes at his house, either on his deck or in his backyard observatory.

See the announcement here:

banner for Don Machholz's comet site

Don's web site is a wealth of information, on comets as well as on general astronomy. Don runs well organized star parties and is one of the pioneers of the Messier Marathon, a special star party where participants try to see as many Messier objects (from a list of 110) in one night. Among the things you'll find there are a free download of one of Don's books, A Decade of Comets.

Don has had to develop a technique to give himself the best possible chances of discovering comets "by eye" to beat the space-based and other professional instruments to the discovery. Anyone with an interest can be a comet hunter, however, and Don shares his techniques. In one case recently, a German amateur astronomer discovered a new comet by happenstance while trying out a new telescope.