Donald Machholz

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Donald Machholz
Dm img.jpg
Machholz in November 2019
Born
Donald Edward Machholz

(1952-10-07)October 7, 1952
DiedAugust 9, 2022(2022-08-09) (aged 69)
OccupationAmateur astronomer
Years active1970–2022
Spouse
Michele Machholz
(m. 2014)

Donald Edward Machholz (October 7, 1952 – August 9, 2022) was an American amateur astronomer who was credited with the discovery of 12 comets that bear his name.

Personal life and death[edit]

In 2014, he married photojournalist Michele Machholz. They resided at the Stargazer Ranch in Wikieup, Arizona.[citation needed]

Machholz died in the early morning of August 9, 2022, at his home in Wikieup, Arizona, from complications of COVID-19.[2][3][4] His obituary at Astronomy stated, "In the years leading up to his death, Machholz was considered the most prolific visual comet discoverer alive."[3]

Career[edit]

He spent more than 9,000 hours comet hunting in a career spanning over 50 years.[1][5] These comets include the periodic comets 96P/Machholz, 141P/Machholz, the non-periodic C/2004 Q2 (Machholz) that were visible with binoculars in the northern sky in 2004 and 2005, C/2010 F4 (Machholz), and C/2018 V1 (Machholz-Fujikawa-Iwamoto)[6][7] In 1985, comet Machholz 1985-e, was discovered using a homemade cardboard telescope with a wide aperture, 10 inches across, that gave it a broader field of view than most commercial telescopes.[8] Machholz utilized a variety of methods in his comet discoveries, in 1986 using 29×130 binoculars he discovered 96P/Machholz.[9]

Machholz was one of the inventors of the Messier Marathon, which is a race to observe all the Messier objects in a single night.[3]

Asteroid 245983 Machholz, discovered by Kazimieras Černis, was named in honor of Machholz in November 2017.[10]

Comets discovered[edit]

  • 1978 Comet Machholz (1978l)
  • 1985 Comet Machholz (1985e)
  • 1986 Comet 96P/Machholz
  • 1988 Comet Machholz (1988j)
  • 1992 Comet Tanaka-Machholz (1992d)
  • 1992 Comet Machholz (1992k)
  • 1994 Comet Nakamura-Nishimura-Machholz (1994m)
  • 1994 Comet 141P/Machholz 2
  • 1994 Comet Machholz 1994r
  • 2004 Comet Machholz (C/2004 Q2)
  • 2010 Comet Machholz C/2010 F4
  • 2018 C/2018 V1 (Machholz-Fujikawa-Iwamoto)

Awards and honors[edit]

Books[edit]

  • The Observing Guide to the Messier Marathon: A Handbook and Atlas
  • Decade of Comets: A Study of the 33 Comets Discovered by Amateur Astronomers Between 1975 and 1984
  • An observer's guide to comet Hale-Bopp: Making the most of Comet Hale-Bopp: when and where to observe Comet Hale-Bopp and what to look for

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Joe Rao (August 17, 2022). "In Memoriam: Famed 'Comet Hunter' Don Machholz dies at 69". Space.com. Retrieved September 4, 2022.
  2. ^ "Famous amateur astronomer Donald Machholz died". The Universe Space Tech. August 8, 2022. Retrieved August 27, 2022.
  3. ^ a b c Parks, Jake (August 10, 2022). "Donald Machholz, comet hunter and co-inventor of Messier marathon, dies at age 69". Astronomy. Archived from the original on August 12, 2022. Retrieved August 15, 2022.
  4. ^ "Don Machholz, 1952–2022". EarthSky.org. August 9, 2022. Retrieved August 11, 2022.
  5. ^ Joe Rao (August 12, 2022). "Remembering Donald Machholz, 1952 - 2022". Sky & Telescope. Retrieved September 4, 2022.
  6. ^ Gus Thomson (March 30, 2010). "Patience leads to new comet discovery by Colfax amateur astronomer". Auburn Journal. Retrieved March 30, 2010.
  7. ^ Roger W. Sinnott (March 27, 2010). "New Comet Machholz". Sky & Telescope. Retrieved March 30, 2010.
  8. ^ "Amateur Astronomer Nails Down His Second Comet". Los Angeles Times. Associated Press. June 16, 1985. Retrieved December 29, 2016.
  9. ^ Alan MacRobert (December 2, 2008). "A Very Oddball Comet". Sky & Telescope. Retrieved December 2, 2008.
  10. ^ "Small-Body Database Lookup".

General references[edit]

External links[edit]