Saturday, September 12, 2009
Most supernova spotted by a single person-Tom
Boles sets world record
CODDENHAM, Suffolk, UK --Retired telecoms engineer
Tom Boles, 65, who runs the Coddenham
Observatory, has photographed and identified 125 supernovae
erupting in distant galaxies from his private observatory-setting
the new world record for the Most
supernova spotted by a single person.
He said his state-of-the-art equipment regularly
examined a range of 12,000 galaxies across the universe and
his long-standing ambition was to find a supernova in or close
to our galaxy.
His latest discoveries were made on August
20 when he spotted supernova number 124, or "2009i"', followed
by number 125 or "2009io" a few nights later, helping him
to the record.
The painstaking task, which took him 13 years,
has earned him the respect of the professional science community.
“The observatory has been running since
1996, first in Wellingborough and then, since 2001, in Coddenham.
(Legendary astronomer) Sir Patrick Moore came down and opened
it for me.
“Suffolk is perfect for astronomy - there's
a lack of cloud cover because the further east you go the
less cloud there is. There's also low light pollution here
as it's mainly an agricultural area.”
John Mason, from the British Astronomical Association,
said Boles's achievement was unparalleled in the history of
Supernova can typically be found about
100 million light years away from our sun and by the time
the telescopes at the Coddenham
observatory identify them, they have long since disappeared.
Mr Bole said he sent many of his findings
off to universities around the world in order to help their
The previous Guinness world record for the
supernova spotted by a single person was held by a
professional scientist, Bulgarian-born Professor Fritz Zwicky,
who studied the size and age of the universe at the California
Insitute of Technology. He found 121 of the suicidal stars
before his death in 1974.
more information about Mr Boles and his discoveries, visit
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September 12, 2009