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new cool best high technology gadgets gift asteroid tonyhoffman.bmp

In my tireless quest to go ever further afield from the core mission of Gearlog… I use this post to congratulate our own Tony Hoffman, staff editor at PC Magazine, for having an asteroid named after himself! Click on this NASA link for details. And here’s a link that shows Asteroid 112900 Tonyhoffman’s current position in the night sky.

Unbeknownst to many of his coworkers, Tony has long had a passion for astronomy: He’s a director of the Amateur Astronomers Association of New York and has found over 70 “sungrazing” comets. Tony does all his discovery work online, poring through images generated by the SOHO (Solar & Heliospheric Observatory) spaceborne observatory, a joint project of NASA and the ESA (European Space Agency).

Tony’s also written about heavenly bodies; an article he wrote for “Sky and Telescope” magazine won an award from the American Astronomical Society’s Solar Physics Division for popular writing. For these achievements, comet and asteroid hunter Rob Matson, who found this particular asteroid, honored him by naming it for him.

Have you ever longed to be a space discoverer? Tony told me, “It’s a free-for-all: Anyone with a computer can access the SOHO images.” In fact, nearly 1,200 comets have been discovered by amateur astronomers using home computers. It’s very competitive, though, and requires a great deal of patience; Tony’s first find took 7 months. And the thrill of discovery may be short-lived, as many of these finds are vaporized by the sun within a day or two of discovery. But perservere, as Tony did, and someday maybe you too can place your moniker on some outer-space real estate.



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