Michael A. Stecker


Tom Boles, FRAS
Coddenham Astronomical Observatory
Coddenham, Suffolk
United Kingdom


Tom Boles and Sir Patrick Moore at the dedication of Tom's Coddenham Observatory


Tom's Discoveries
152 Extra-galactic supernovae; nova in M31; named minor planet Ritabo

Tom's latest discovery
SN2006A in NGC 7753


Discovery Date: 02 January 2006
Designation 2006A in NGC7753
mag 18.1
13".6 west and 5".1 south of the center of NGC 7753
Announced in IAU Circular(s): CBET 354 & IAUC 8656

Contact information


I come originally from Glasgow, Scotland where I spent many happy years as a telescope designer and maker for Charles Frank Ltd., Saltmarket, Glasgow, from whom many amateurs in the UK, including me, acquired their first telescopes.  Today, I am a retired computer and telecom support engineer having held director level positions with several multinational equipment marketing and support companies.

I am a past President and currently Vice President of
The British Astronomical Association, a Fellow of The Royal Astronomical Society. I am also a member of The Webb Society and The Astronomer.
My devouring passion is extra-galactic supernovae: their physics, appearance, demographics and, of course, their discovery. I patrol on every available clear night and night and monitor some 12,000 galaxies for supernovae.

Area of interest
Extra-galactic supernovae

Astrophotography publications
Astronomy Now
BAA Journal
Sky & Telescope

Star Observer
Sky at Night Magazine
"More Small Astronomical Observatories" - Patrick Moore (Ed.) ISBN: 1-85233-572-6
published by Springer
“Digital Astrophotography – The State of the Art” – David Ratledge (Ed.) ISBN: 1-85233-734-6
published by Springer
Sky at Night; Tomorrow’s World; Final Frontier; BBC All Night Star Party; BBC News 24; BBC1 News; East Anglia TV; Sky News.
BBC Radio 4; BBC Radio Northampton; Independent Northampton Radio; Radio Essex; Radio Suffolk; World Radio Netherlands

Observing site
Coddenham, Suffolk
Latitude: 52o 08m 27s.6 N
Longitude: 01o 08' 27".0 E
IAU 234 – limiting magnitude 5.5
About the Observatory
The Observatory is managed by Tom Boles and was set up in Coddenham because of its relatively low light pollution and its increased number of cloudless nights per year.  The observatory is exclusively used for the patrolling, discovery, imaging and reporting of supernovae. These are catastrophic explosions that end the lives of stars.

Astronomical Equipment
Robotic Telescopes and Mounts
The roll off observatory houses two fully robotic Paramount
German Equatorial Mounts carrying C-14 Celestron Schmidt Cassegrain reflectors
New Equipment
On 5 January 2003 a third robotic telescope was added. This is installed in the dome. A servo mechanism has also been fitted that will rotate the dome roof as the azimuth direction of the telescope changes. This telescope will be better protected from the wind and will therefore be usable on nights when the weather is too severe for those in the main building. Otherwise this instrument is identical to the other two.

The Sensor on each telescope is an
Apogee AP7 CCD camera with 512 x 512 x 24 micron back
illuminated pixels.
Back illumination achieves greater sensitivity by an engineering process that machines excess silicon away from the rear of the chip to allow more light to arrive at the sensitive area. It also increases the chip's response to blue wavelengths. The telescopes are computer controlled using an integrated group of software products.
The telescopes are computer controlled using an integrated group of software products. The Sky controls the telescopes, and mount; CCDSoft controls the cameras; Orchestrate runs user defined scripts that control the other programs that, in turn, point, image and store images of selected galaxies. An additional program TPoint is used to increase the pointing accuracy of the combined system to 20 arc seconds across the entire sky.

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