I don’t usually do two posts in one day but there are just some things that must be shared and written about. Today the astronomy community lost a true legend. John Dobson, who invented the Alt-Az telescope mount that bears his name, passed away today at the age of 98.
Mr. Dobson leaves behind a long legacy of astronomy outreach dating back to 1967. He co-founded the San Francisco Sidewalk Astronomers, which exists to popularize amateur astronomy on the streets. Dobson was dedicated to outreach and sharing his love for astronomy with as many people as possible. Among his other exploits are amateur telescope making, public speaking, and he has published a book on telescope making. His influence has literally been felt around the world as his Dobsonian mount revolutionized amateur astronomy. The Dobsonian mount presented amateurs with a simple, yet elegant design for a telescope that was also low-cost. His mount allowed for telescopes of all sizes to be inexpensively mounted and maneuvered with one hand. Although I never met him, Mr. Dobson certainly had a big impact on my life. My first telescope was a Dobsonian mounted scope. It made my entry into the hobby buttery smooth and enjoyable.
It’s sad to think of a loss this massive but the best way to move forward is to raise a glass and say “Thanks!” He will be missed in the astronomy community but he has left us with invaluable contributions. I can only hope that we can continue the work he began almost 50 years ago and bring the love of astronomy to even more people.