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Vale Bill Bradfield - The loss of a comet hunter

by davenn
Tags: bradfield, comet, hunter, loss, vale
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Jun23-14, 12:03 AM
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Bill was a fellow Australian and prolific comet hunter and discoverer

Quoted from the Ice In Space site

Vale Bill Bradfield

Words by Suzy.

William A. Bradfield, 1928-2014.

There's many sad faces in the astronomical community at the moment due to the passing away of Bill Bradfield after a long battle with illness on 9th June.

Bill Bradfield is history's most prolific visual comet hunter, credited with the discovery of 18 comets visually between 1972 and 2004- six more than any other amateur astronomer alive. He was a rarity and in a class of his own using nothing but his eyes and a homemade telescope.

Between 1995 and his last comet discovery in 2004 (comet 2004 F4 Bradfield) there was a nine year spell involving 900 hours of searching. Not surprising, as by this stage, computerised searches using digital equipment were making it difficult for people like Bradfield to find their own comets. In fact, for that 16 month period during January 2003 and May 2004, he was only one of two people in the world to have outsmarted those robots.
That final comet discovery in 2004 earned him the prestigious Edgar Wilson award for amateur comet discovery. Not forgetting he was also made a Member of the Order of Australia in 1989 and had an asteroid officially named after him during his successful amateur career.

R.I.P Bill Bradfield.
He will be truly missed in the astronomical community :(

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Greg Bernhardt
Jul3-14, 02:27 PM
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Impressive guy! Sad :( Did you know him Dave?
Jul3-14, 05:33 PM
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Hi Greg,

Personally, not really well. I have known of his work for many years
It was only after coming to Australia, That I met him once at an astronomy get-together

considering his accomplishments, he was a quiet and humble guy and always willing to help out
newcomers to the astronomy hobby


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