1968 - First got interested by noticing an astronomy chapter in my 4th grade science textbook.
- Got my first pair of binoculars that Christmas, (Stellar Precision 7x35)

1969 - Got my first telescope - Sears 60mm f/15 refractor with equatorial mount. My first planets: Jupiter, Venus.
- Looked at Mars through a telescope for the first time; was unable to discern surface features except possibly the polar caps.
- Watched Neil Armstrong's first steps on the Moon on TV on July 21st.

1970 - Watched my first solar eclipse on March 7th (One / Two / Three / Four) from West Brookfield, MA using a pinhole camera. The Sun was over 90% eclipsed. That eclipse was total over Nantucket Island.
- Saw Comet Bennett the following month with unaided eye and with my telescope.
- Observed my first Mercury transit on May 9th by projecting the solar disc onto a screen using my telescope.

1971 - Viewed Mars during an exceptionally favorable apparition during late summer and early fall; was able to see the polar caps and a few surface markings.

1972 - Viewed my second solar eclipse on July 10th (One / Two) by projecting the solar disc onto a screen using my telescope.

1973 - Observed my second Mercury transit on November 10th by projecting the solar disc onto a screen using my telescope.
- Looked for Comet Kahoutek with no success.

1974 - Looked for Comet Kahoutek with no success.

1975 - Entered Bart Bok Astronomy contest that I read about in Sky and Telescope magazine. The entry involved computing the locations of selected bright stars as seen from a relatively near-by bright star. Did not win but was invited to tour the Boston University astronomy department as a result.

1976 -

1977 - Did a paper on relating family life to the astronomy of the Herschels as part of my Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) graduation requirements.

1978 - Visited Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, AZ.
- Also visited Meteor Crater between Flagstaff, AZ and Winslow, AZ.

1979 - Did a paper on mathematical models of galactic spiral structure as part of my WPI graduation requirements.

1980 -

1981 -

1982 - Visited MIT's Wallace Observatory in Westford, MA during Independent Activities Period in January.

1983 - Did my MIT Master of Science thesis critically comparing dynamic theories on Jupiter's Great Red Spot.

1984 -

1985 - Saw Halley's Comet in binoculars and through a telescope at AFGL when I was there for something related to my work at Aerodyne Research, Inc.

1986 - Saw Halley's Comet a few more times in binoculars.

1987 - joined my first astronomy club - Aldrich Astronomical Society in Holden, MA.

1988 -

c. 1989 - Visit to Oak Ridge Observatory, Harvard, MA - I saw their 61" telescope and a large radio telescope when I visited it with members of the Aldrich Astronomical Society.

1990 - attended Astronomical Society of the Pacific (ASP) convention at Boston University.

1991 - Saw articles about a 7-minute long solar eclipse in Sky and Telescope magazine. The eclipse happened 11 days before I started my current job on July 22.

1992 - Joined Boston Amateur Telescope Makers astronomy club which meets at Harvard-Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory in Cambridge, MA.

1993 -

1994 - May 10, 1994 - Saw solar eclipse that was annular in southern Vermont. Pictures (click here) taken by me at Farmbrook Motel in Plymouth, VT near Calvin Coolidge's birthplace and near White River Junction, VT. These photos may be my first astro photos.
- Saw photos of Comet Shoemaker-Levy crashing into Jupiter in magazines mid-late July.

1995 -

1996 - Comet Hyakutake March 1996 - My best view was out in West Brookfield, MA during late March 1996 when it was way up in the north sky - the ion tail was real long because that comet made a very close approach to Earth!!!
- September 27, 1996 - Click here for Snappy frame grabs of video of eclipsed Moon with Saturn nearby taken with my Sony Handycam.

1997 - Comet Hale-Bopp Late Winter and Spring 1997 - Saw it naked eye even in light polluted Arlington, MA and got a good view naked eye and with binoculars and telescope in West Brookfield, MA where I grew up.

1998 -

1999 - I was not able to observe the Mercury transit on November 15th but it occurred less than a couple weeks before the Macy's Thanksgiving parade that I saw in person.

2000 - lunar eclipse just two days before MIT Club of Boston's Gala 2000 in January!! Unfortunately, it snowed that day so I could not get any pictures of the eclipse to use on the MIT Club of Boston's Gala 2000 page.
- There was a Great Conjunction of all 5 bright planets in May 2000.
- Comet LINEAR behaved non-LINEAR-ly by breaking apart during the summer of 2000!!:-)

2001 -

2002 - Comet Ikeya-Zhang - I finally found it in the constellation Cepheus using 7x35 binoculars at about 4:15 am on April 17, 2002!! Go here to see some coincidences I noticed related to the comet!!
- February 22, 2002 - Jupiter near Moon, photos with my new Nikon Coolpix 995 digital camera.
- April-May 2002 - All five bright planets in evening sky. Was able to see Mercury, Venus, Jupiter but harder to find Saturn and Mars in the light pollution near Boston, MA. Photos: ONE / TWO / THREE / FOUR

2003 - Mars made its closest EVER approach to Earth on August 27, 2003 which happens to be on my birthday. More details can be found here. Bought my Meade ETX-125 telescope in order to obtain better views of Mars.
- Great Sunspot Outbreak of Late October 2003 aka "The Perfect Solar Storm" - I saw my first aurora since I think 1973 on October 30, 2003 which is on the 12th anniversary of the "Perfect Storm" of October 30-31, 1991.
- Just 10 days after "The Perfect Solar Storm" was the Total Lunar Eclipse of November 8, 2003.

2004 - Found Comet Machholz with my 10x50 binoculars in mid-December 2004 in Arlington, again with 8x25 binoculars during New Years' Day 2005 weekend in Quincy, MA. It is interesting to note that this comet was discovered by Machholz on my birthday in 2004.
- Visited Lick Observatory.
- Venus transited the Sun on June 8, 2004: (photos)
- Total Lunar Eclipse of October 27, 2004: One: Eclipse Photos / Two: Learn why this eclipse was important!!

2005 - I observed a rare planetary grouping of Mercury, Venus and Saturn on Monday, June 27, 2005 with my 10x50 binoculars. Mercury and Venus were less than a half degree apart - I saw the pair through my 70 mm refractor.

2006 - Pluto needs to be re-promoted!! View a few of my photos of Pluto taken in mid-October: One / Two / Three / Four

2007 - Glimpsed the March 3, 2007 eclipse with the Moon rising nearly fully eclipsed during breaks in overcast and watched the August 28, 2007 eclipse (photo) with the Moon setting almost fully eclipsed.
- Photos of International Space Station taken June 20, 2007.
- Photos of Venus and Saturn close to each other on July 2, 2007, two days after a conjunction when they were 0.7o apart: One / Two / Three.
- Visited the Observatory at Maria Mitchell Association on Nantucket Island, MA on August 20 and 21. Maria Mitchell was the first woman astronomer in the USA.
- 10/27/07 - As Game 4 of the World series is being played (The Sox won the World Championship at 12:05 am October 29, 2007.) on October 28, 2007, there is a fairly bright naked eye comet named Comet Holmes visible in the northern sky. I looked at the comet myself with naked eye, my 10x50 binoculars and with my 5" telescope from about 09:30-09:40 PM. It looks like an extra "star" in the constellation Perseus with the naked eye; as a compact yellowish (hint of red) blob in my binoculars and as a faintish disk with a bright center from my telescope. I saw 2-3 "stars" on the edge of the bright center with my telescope. The Red Sox were ahead 1-0 when I looked at the comet; now they are ahead 2-0 in the 5th inning as I post this. This comet's brightening was entirely unexpected by astronomers.

Go here for more details on the comet.

I think this comet heralded victory for the Red Sox meaning that a rare astronomical event is going to be associated with the 2007 Championship just like in 2004. Recall that the Sox broke The Curse at the tail end of totality of a total lunar eclipse in 2004. You may want to go here for the details and photos of the 2004 eclipse.

10/31/07 - I looked at the comet again on Halloween night and the coma and head expanded considerably since October 28, 2007. The core looked granular in my 10x50 binoculars, reminding me a little bit of the gnats that helped Cleveland defeat the Yank-hiss in the 2007 ALDS.

2008 - Photos of February 20, 2008 Total Lunar Eclipse, produced February 21, 2008.

Page created April 1, 2008; modified December 12, 2008