Robert Evans with his reflecting telescope
Robert Evans is the world record holder for the most visual discoveries of Supernovae. Although he is a minister of the uniting church in Australia, he is better known in the Astronomy community as one of the ‘best Amateur Astronomers in the world.’
He is accredited for discovering 42 supernovas visually from his backyard!!
But, how on earth does he do it ?
Having been looking at the cosmos for years on end, Evans has memorized the entire star field and the positions of the galaxies in the night sky.
And as a result of this, he can detect changes in the galaxy simply by looking at them through the telescope.
Why is this remarkable ?
This is truly remarkable for two pivotal reasons:
A supernova is the explosion of a star. It is the largest explosion that takes place in space.
But spotting a supernova visually is extremely hard!
To give a perspective on the intricacies of supernova hunting, here is a picture showing the night sky before and after a supernova in Messier-82.
Supernova hunting in Messier-82
And secondly, he gave automated telescopes a run for their money. There are many telescope in recent times that automatically detect hundreds of supernovas every year.
But Evans managed to give them a tough fight in a battle against man and technology with his telescope sorcery.
A note for budding astronomers
Why I find Evans to be extremely inspiring is because here is an amateur astronomer doing quality contributions to Astronomy in his backyard and with not so fancy equipment.
Just shows how far passion and perseverance can take you in science.
Be limitless! Have a great day!