I learned just yesterday that we have lost a wonderful and wise soul in the world of astronomy. At age 98, John Dobson passed away peacefully at his home in Burbank, California on Wednesday morning.
Many astronomy buffs may only know John for being the namesake of the wonderful telescope mounting system enjoyed by so many of us. Those of us that had occasion to learn more about the iconic “Sidewalk Astronomer” will remember the wise and humorous gentleman that sowed his stories with wit and kindness. As for me, I will always love to remember him referring to the supreme being as the “Exterior Decorator”. John encouraged all to take a closer look at the universe around us. He shared his love of the cosmos and his keen sense of wonder for creation with so many people both in person and in spirit. We all do our best to share our love of the universe with all that might show an interest. We have lost our best example of how to do this with the passing of our comrade, John Dobson. His was certainly a life well lived!
If you would like to know more about the man try a Google search. If you find a particularly good source please share it with us. I can suggest you watch a documentary called A Sidewalk Astronomer. Here is a link to it on YouTube. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-9V9TBi1WAc It runs 78 minutes. Alternatively there are DVDs of this program in the possession of some of us...just ask and we will happily share a copy with you to view.
I am sure we will all have an occasion in the coming year to share stories of John Dobson. Please think about this and remember we’d all love to hear any fun or interesting anecdotes you may have at one of our up-coming BAS meetings.
2014 the first year of astronomy AD (After Dobson)
The Quadrantid meteor shower came and went under overcast and windy skies inn Bruce-Grey. This instance of this shower was not ideal in any case for North America although see below for one exception. The graph right shows the observations of 25 observers in 13 countries, mostly in Europe and Asia. Analysis shows a ZHR of 283 per hour. (Zenithal Hourly Rate, the number of meteors an observer would see under a very dark sky with the radiant of the shower in zenith). This is based on a total of 467 Quadrantids seen.
The lone North American observer was a fellow in S. California who logged 22 Quadrantid meteors. It is important to note that while the temperature at the Fox Observatory at 8 pm was -14C with a wind chill of -24C, it was a balmy 8C in CA with a humidity of 44%. I have been in the area on holiday in January and it IS as nice as it SOUNDS!