I just read the sad news that a wonderful man, John Dobson, has passed away. John Dobson was the founder of the Sidewalk Astronomers and the creator of the Dobsonian mounted telescopes. He loved astronomy, but his greatest love was sharing the night sky with anyone who would look through his telescope.
In 1956, after he built his first telescope he was so fascinated by what he saw that he thought “Everybody’s got to see this”. This must have started his lifelong quest to bring astronomy into backyards everywhere!
I had the honor of meeting him at the NCRAL meeting sponsored by my astronomy club. I was very new to the club and to astronomy in general. I didn’t know who our distinguished guest speaker was! I knew that everyone was very excited to have him here so I was curious as to who he was and what his talk would be about.
I had the opportunity to talk with him for a few minutes prior to our meal. I got the sense that he wasn’t all that comfortable being the center of attention. He didn’t see himself as someone special. He was just a man who truly loved astronomy!
His talk was about the Double Slit Experiment, which I don’t understand anymore now than I did then. I was fascinated by him and all that he had accomplished.
The world of astronomy is definitely a better place because of him. His passion was contagious!
March 8th is the International Sidewalk Astronomy Night. Please help to honor the life of John Dobson by making plans with your local astronomy club, or with your own group of star gazers to share the amazing night sky with others. Bring your binoculars, your telescopes or just your knowledge of constellations.
Thank you John Dobson for your kind heart and your passion for astronomy. You will be missed.