Mark Trueblood, Director

Mark Trueblood, Director Mark Trueblood was born in Cincinnati, Ohio in 1948. He became interested in astronomy when his parents took him out into the night to show him auroras, Echo balloon satellites, lunar eclipses, and other night time phenomena. He read Texereau's book on telescope mirror making when he was 11, and when he was 12, he ordered a mirror making kit from Edmund Scientific Company and ground, polished, and figured a 6-inch f/8 mirror for a Newtonian telescope. He then made the telescope using parts purchased from the Edmund catalog using money from his allowance and from mowing lawns. The mirror was over corrected into a hyperbola, but with the help of the local amateur astronomy club and a commercial firm, the mirror was finally done before he was 14. Mark got the telescope working, but lost interest in telescope making and astronomy until graduate school, where he met Andrew J. Tomer at Wesleyan University.

It was Andy, with the encouragement of Irv Winer, who got Mark interested in telescope building and astronomy again. Andy introduced Mark to Sky & Telescope magazine, to using arc welders, vertical milling machines, and lathes, and to many of the practical aspects of telescope design and construction. Once hooked on this part of amateur astronomy, Mark became interested in astrophysics, optics, and other aspects of astronomy and instrument building that took him to a Master's Degree in astronomy and his job of 22 years at the US national observatory (NOAO, now NOIRLab) of overseeing the design and construction of instruments for the 8-m Gemini telescopes, and later, for NOAO's 4-m telescopes. Mark's educational and career highlights are summarized below.

In May 2001, the International Astronomical Union honored Mark by naming asteroid number 15522 'Trueblood' upon the recommendation of the asteroid's discoverer, Charles W. Juels, MD of Fountain Hills, Arizona. Dr. Juels discovered the asteroid on December 14, 1999 whereupon the Minor Planet Center gave it the provisional designation 1999 XX136 and announced the official name in Minor Planet Circular 42675. When the orbit was known with sufficient accuracy that it was unlikely to be lost, it was given the number 15522 and Dr. Juels was given the right for the next 10 years to propose a name. Mark is honored that he chose to name his discovery after him. You can view various images and diagrams of the orbit in the links below:



Awards and Honors

Invited Talks

Saguaro Astronomy Club2015.03.06 Science at the Winer Observatory
NOAO Docents2012.11.13Tracking Rocks from Space
NOAO Friday Lunch Talk2012.03.02Tracking Rocks from Space
Cong. Ron Barber2008.02.04Project Asteroid
Society for Astronomical Sciences (Robert Crawford lead author)2004.05.23 Statistical Properties of a Two-Stage Procedure for Creating Sky Flats
Tucson Amateur Astronomy Association Beginners' Lecture2003.01.03 Building a Backyard Observatory
Tucson Amateur Astronomy Association Main Lecture2003.01.03 Exploring the Universe with the Gemini Observatory
Huachuca Astronomy Club2002.11.22 Building, Operating, and Maintaining a Robotic Observatory
Apollo Rendezvous2002.06.15Workshop: Backyard Observatories
Apollo Rendezvous2002.06.15 Building, Operating, and Maintaining a Robotic Observatory
Saint Paul's School Annual Sears Lecture2002.04.12 Exploring the Universe with the Gemini Observatory
Riverside Telescope Makers Convention1998.05.30 Building a Commercial Observatory
Annual IOTA Meeting1994.05.07Using GPS for Occultations
Fairborn IAPPP Symposium1987.02.12 High Speed Photometer Interface for the MicroVAX Q-Bus

Research Interests

Positions Held


Papers, Articles, and Software

Minor Planet Circulars

An electronic version can be found under Minor Planet Electronic Circulars

Runs on Professional Telescopes

For the runs listed below, proposals were submitted. For the Kitt Peak National Observatory (KPNO) 2.1-m telescope, the proposals were reviewed and ranked by a Time Allocation Committee (TAC) against other proposals from the professional community across the nation. When special observing opportunities arise, we request Director's Discretionary (DD) time, which the KPNO Director uses as he sees fit.

NOAO was forced by budgetary constraints to close the KPNO 2.1-m telescope after July 2014. Our team then applied for time on the University of Arizona (UA) Bok 2.3-m telescope, with its 90Prime 1-degree square prime focus camera. Although still located on Kitt Peak, the telescope is owned by the Arizona Board of Regents and is operated by Steward Observatory. Steward Observatory also allocates nights using a TAC, comprised of faculty representatives from the universities governed by the Arizona Board of Regents. We designate nights on this telescope using Steward in place of KPNO in the Observatory column. Also note that Steward semesters run from January 1 through June 30 (Semester A) and July 1 through December 31 (Semester B) while KPNO semesters are offset by a month (Feb 1 through July 31, etc.). We have also been awarded time on the 1.8-m Vatican Advanced Technology Telescope (VATT) on Mt. Graham in eastern Arizona.

Observatory Semester Telescope Abstract Dates (UT) Total Nights Night Logs (UT)
KPNO 2008B 2.1-m 2008B-0009 Jan 21-23, 2009 3 (TAC) 2009-01-21, 2009-01-22, 2009-01-23
KPNO 2009B 2.1-m 2009B-0256 Aug 19-20, 2009 & Jan 8, 2010 2.5 (TAC) 2009-08-19, 2009-08-20, 2010-01-08
WIYN 2010A 0.9-m DD Time Mar 8, Apr 19, May 20, Jun 6, Jul 6-8, 2010 7 (DD) N/A
KPNO 2010A 2.1-m 2010A-0074 Mar 11, Apr 9, May 18, 2010 3 (TAC) 2010-03-11, 2010-04-09, 2010-05-18
KPNO 2010B 2.1-m 2010B-0030 Sep 14, Oct 8, Dec 10, 2010 and Jan 28, 2011 4 (TAC) 2010-09-14, 2010-10-08, 2010-12-10, 2010-01-28
WIYN 2011A 0.9-m DD Time Feb 8, Feb 27, Apr 29, and May 29, 2011 4 (DD) N/A
KPNO 2011A 2.1-m 2011A-0057 Mar 3, May 4, and Jul 1, 2011 3 (TAC) 2011-03-03, 2011-05-04, 2011-07-01
KPNO 2011B 2.1-m 2011B-0019 Oct 27, Nov 22-23, 2011 and Jan 18, 2012 4 (TAC) 2011-10-27, 2011-11-22, 2011-11-23, 2012-01-18
KPNO 2012A 2.1-m 2012A-0056 Feb 18-20, Apr 10-11 (T&E) & 27, and Jun 13-14, 2012 6 (TAC) + 2 T&E 2012-02-18, 2012-02-19, 2012-02-20, 2012-04-27, 2012-06-13, 2012-06-14
KPNO 2012B 2.1-m 2012B-0057 Oct 10-11, Dec 16-17, 2012 and Jan 8-9, 2013 5 (TAC) 2012-10-10, 2012-10-11, 2012-12-16, 2012-12-17, 2013-01-08, 2013-01-09
KPNO 2013A 2.1-m 2013A-0044 Apr 11-12 and Jun 8-10, 2013 5 (TAC) 2013-04-11, 2013-04-12, 2013-06-08, 2013-06-09, 2013-06-10
KPNO 2013A 2.1-mDD Time Jun 16, 20131 (DD) 2013-06-16
KPNO 2013B 2.1-m 2013B-0009 Oct 10-12 and Dec 5-7, 20136 (TAC)
KPNO 2014A 2.1-m 2014A-0085 Feb 5-6, Apr 4-5, and May 22-23, 20146 (TAC)
Steward 2014B 2.3-m Bok 2014B Oct 25-27 and Nov 23-25, 20146 (TAC) 2014-10-25, 2014-10-26, 2014-10-27
Steward 2015A 2.3-m Bok 2015A Feb 14-16 and Apr 22-24, 20156 (TAC) 2014-11-22, 2014-11-24, 2014-11-25
Steward 2015B 2.3-m Bok Dec 18-19, 20152 (TAC)
Steward 2015B 1.8-m VATT Nov 12-14 and Dec 13-14, 20155 (TAC)
Steward 2016A 1.8-m VATT Mar 29-31, 20163 (T&E)
Steward 2016B 2.3-m Bok Oct 1-2, 20162 (TAC)
Steward 2016B 1.8-m VATT Nov 25-26 and Dec 17-18, 20164 (TAC)
Steward 2018B 1.8-m VATT Jan 3-5, 20193 (TAC)
Steward 2019A 1.8-m VATT Feb 17-21, 20195 (TAC)

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