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  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.
   (enlarge photo)

   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 the organization.

    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 research.

   The previous Guinness world record for the Most 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.

   For more information about Mr Boles and his discoveries, visit

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Saturday, September 12, 2009

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