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Tom Johnson ,Celestron founder dies at age 89

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#51 jrbarnett


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Posted 17 March 2012 - 09:37 AM

Tom was to amateur astronomy what Steve Jobs was to personal computing. He was a visionary who changed the game, offering new ideas and paradigms that affected large numbers of customers in a lasting and fundamental way. Tom's passing marks the end of an era.

#52 Astrosetz


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Posted 17 March 2012 - 09:43 AM

Two years ago I acquired a Classic 8 at a local swap meet. Even through I have many telescopes, that old-school, equatorial-fork-mounted 8 SCT is one of my favorites. It lives in the trunk of my Honda Civic sedan, always ready to go. I do a lot of outreach and I've found it to be excellent for that purpose -- Tom Johnson's original telescope design will continue to surprise and delight for years to come, I'm sure.

#53 diggerdonp


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Posted 17 March 2012 - 04:49 PM

I was fortunate to get a tour of their factory in 1981 while my C-8 was cleaned and adjusted. Tom was a gentleman and I was surprised that "Da Pres" was giving me a tour. His enthusiasm was quite obvious.

RIP Tom.


That must have been quite the experience? The contributions that he made to astronomy are huge, it is hard to find the proper words as they all sound so small... I am truly saddened by his passing and my best wishes go out to his family...

R.I.P. Mr. Johnson, you will be missed by many...

#54 mattyfatz



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Posted 17 March 2012 - 10:29 PM

They should name something celestial after him.


They have...there is an asteroid that bears his name.


Do you know any more about it? Like its RA/DA.. I hope it's visible with an 8" SCT.. Otherwise THEY screwed up

I am told it is asteroid 12919 Tomjohnson (1998 VB6)...not too many recently discovered asteroids are easy targets in an 8 inch scope, unfortunately.

use this JPL link to get the data By searching on 12919

I found This data It says The absolute magnitude of the asteroid is 13.7... 14 is the limiting magnitude for the 8" SCT. Not easy by any means, but not impossible

#55 Jeff B

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Posted 18 March 2012 - 07:25 PM

I never met Tom even though I was a Celestron dealer in the early 80's. But I did meet his work and was constantly impressed so maybe, in a way, I did meet Tom.

Eternal rest to you and thank you so very much Tom.


#56 Starhawk


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Posted 19 March 2012 - 09:20 AM

You know, it's a fine thing to be able to say someone did what Tom did: he breathed new life into amateur astronomy, and professional astronomy as well. His telescopes made it to every corner of the earth and have a foothold above. He produced new hardware, better hardware, and made it available to everyone. This wasn't work to turn a quick buck; it was to get the gear out there. And that made the difference. And it did produce jobs, inspire kids to become scientists and engineers instead of failed wanna be rock stars, and moved the bar for better equipment as well.

He made the world a better place.

Well done, Tom.


#57 astro_1959


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Posted 22 March 2012 - 05:33 PM

Hi All,

First time poster here just out of respect/admiration for the loss of Tom Johnson.

Reading his history starting out with Valor Electronics and ending
with a visonary manufactuer of sct telescopes from it's glorious
Celestron Pacific to it's present day giant.

On a more humbling note I'm picking up a 1975 immaculate condition vintage Celestron Pacific C-8 SCT in april, in a way looking through that instrument the spirit of Mr Johnson will be there with me, on those rare nights of perfect seeing wiping my eyes in a wonderful suprise and discovery I can all most here him say "Kid that's what can be seen with the heart and soul working togeather.

Can't wait till April and be a kid again.


Lance M Appel

#58 Rustie


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Posted 25 May 2012 - 05:36 AM

As a huge Celestron fan that is very sad news but he had a very good innings, left behind a great legacy and 89 is a good age to reach.


#59 Z28500


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Posted 30 May 2012 - 11:24 AM

God Bless You Tom Johnson.

#60 Alen K

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Posted 02 September 2012 - 09:18 AM

RIP, Tom. What would amateur astronomy be like if the C8 had never happened? FWIW, like many people I have one (OTA only) and it never fails to deliver when I bring it out.

BTW, I selected Tom as the number 2 person who most changed modern amateur astronomy, bested only by John Dobson, in an article I wrote a while back:

#61 Don Allen

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Posted 15 October 2012 - 01:36 PM

After watching the video, it occurred to me that if anyone is deserving of a Congressional Gold Medal (for civilians) Tom is. I think the first people to speak to are the Congressman from his district and the two CA senators. Also we should start an on line petition and get the Astronomy Magazines involved as well. I do think it will be better rec'd after the election though.

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