Don Machholz left us on August 9th, 2022
Unfortunately, with big sadness I just found out that one of our members is no longer among us. This is what Don Machholz’s wife announced on Don’s Facebook page:
It is with profound sadness that I share with everyone that my beloved husband, Don Machholz, passed away unexpectedly and swiftly from COVID at 3:15 AM on Tuesday, August 9, 2022. He was a very kind, gentle and loving soul, we love each other from the moon and back.
Don was a world famous comet hunter. He discovered as many as 12 comets during his lifetime and never gave up his passion. Until very recently Don would continue his comet hunting though visual observation.
Don spent more than 9,000 hours comet-hunting in a career spanning over 50 years. These comets include the periodic comets 96P/Machholz, 141P/Machholz, the non-periodic C/2004 Q2 (Machholz) that were visible with binoculars in the northern sky in 2004 and 2005, C/2010 F4 (Machholz), and C/2018 V1 (Machholz-Fujikawa-Iwamoto). In 1985, comet Machholz 1985-e, was discovered using a homemade cardboard telescope with a wide aperture, 10 inches across, that gave it a broader field of view than most commercial telescopes. Don utilized a variety of methods in his comet discoveries, in 1986 using 29×130 binoculars he discovered 96P/Machholz.
Don Machholz was one of the inventors of the Messier Marathon, which is a race to observe all the Messier objects in a single night.