Legendary planetary imager Don Parker passes away

Posted by Michael Bakich
on Monday, February 23, 2015

Don Parker (left) shows off his 16-inch Newtonian telescope to another planetary imager, Damian Peach. Parker took thousands of images of Jupiter through this scope. // Damian Peach
On Sunday night, February 22, world-renowned planetary imager Donald Parker of Coral Gables, Florida, died after a long battle with lung cancer.

Parker was a longtime contributor to Astronomy magazine, and imagers around the world followed and mimicked his techniques. He wrote stories spanning two decades for the magazine about Mars, including "1988: A great year for Mars" in the March 1988 issue and "Relive the Red Planet's big show" in the June 2006 issue.

Parker also contributed to a well-received book on the planets. In March 1988, Willmann-Bell published the popular Introduction to Observing and Photographing the Solar System, which Parker co-wrote with Thomas A. Dobbins and Charles F. Capen. Parker served as past director of The Association of Lunar and Planetary Observers.

This shot is one of the last of thousands of high-quality planetary images Don Parker submitted to Astronomy through the years. // Donald Parker

Astronomy columnist Stephen James O'Meara summarized the thoughts of millions of amateur astronomers: "He will be dearly missed."

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