Paul D. Maley’s WEB PAGES
The Chinese Long March rocket body that launched the Wentian laboratory to the Tiangong Space Station makes its final pass over Arizona in this photo that I shot ~6 hours before reentry on July 30, 2022. Taken at 1117UT the sky here in Carefree AZ was almost completely overcast as the rocket passed through a small hole in the clouds flashing once per second. 15 sec exposure, ISO400. Nikon D3100 and 50mm f/1.8 lens.
Detection of a possible shape anomaly in the asteroid (678) Fredegundis June 4, 2022. My observation in the left graph is the bottom broken line derived from raw data on the right.
Photo of the annular solar eclipse June 10, 2021 that I took from an aircraft flying over southern Ontario, Canada appeared on the cover of this German magazine August 2021
A new nova in the constellation of Cassiopeia was discovered March 18, 2021. I photographed it March 21 at 1145UT (445am MST) with a 100mm lens, ISO 3200 and 10 sec exposure from Carefree, AZ. In the image above the square photo is from a Sky Patrol image (more zoomed in), while the tilted lighter image is my photo that is less magnified. The small pink cross shows the nova location in the square photo while the arrow from the N is my image. There are two reference stars also shown called A and B that can be seen on both the Sky Patrol image and my photo. Coordinates for the nova designated V1405 Cas are RA 23h 24m 48s, DEC +61deg 11 m15s. It is located about 1.7 parsecs (~33.5 trillion miles) from Earth.
Chinese Long March 5 rocket body from Tianhe-1 launch photographed over Carefree, Arizona May 8, 2021. Tumbling with flashes about once/second these are 8 second exposures, ISO 800 about 18 hours before its reentry. Maximum brightness -1.
Total lunar eclipse May 25, 2021 as seen from Carefree, Arizona. Reference stars Beta, Lambda, Omega 1/2 Sco.
Another dramatic event on May 28, 2021 was the eclipse of Jupiter’s moon Io by another moon Ganymede. I captured it on video (green curve) as it dropped 4.9 magnitudes and then recovered after about 30 seconds. Since the 4 largest satellites of Jupiter (discovered by Galileo in 1610) they undergo mutual eclipses about each 6 years as the plane of their orbits lines up with that of Earth.
A rare recurrent nova exploded on August 8, 2021 after previous explosions in 1898, 1933, 1958, 1967, 1985, and 2006. Called RS Ophiuchi I photographed it 5 nights later where it appears at magnitude ~6.6 in comparison to 4 other stars in the above image.
During the pandemic: Instagram talk to 173 students in Iran on May 11, 2020
My life-long interest in exploring everything of interest in the night sky (and the day sky also) has been largely focused on planning and executing expeditions to observe eclipses of the Sun as well as eclipses of stars by asteroids. My first objects of interest were clouds and the Moon which later expanded my horizons to things that were not easily seen with the unaided eye. Born in New York the day before a total eclipse of the Sun, I was inspired by the late Aline B. Carter, former poet laureate of Texas who taught astronomy at the Witte Museum in San Antonio, Texas in 1958. In addition, I was mentored in 1960 by Prof. Fred Ball Jr of San Antonio College who was a key player with the Trinity University Moonwatch Team.
I observe comets, space debris, asteroids, meteor showers, eclipses of the Sun and Moon, artificial earth satellites and collecting accounts of space/launch debris recoveries. My earthbound exploration travels have allowed me to visit 303 countries and territories¹ so far. From 1969 to 2010 I worked as an aerospace contractor at the NASA Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas supporting space missions from Apollo to the International Space Station.
Attempting to move a crocodile in the Gambia 2011
With Gentoo penguin pal on the Palmer Peninsular on his 2nd trip to Antarctica in 2018
ASTRONOMICAL OUTREACH: In 1970 I conceived and developed a public outreach arm of the NASA JSC Astronomical Society called RING OF FIRE EXPEDITIONS which has offered astronomical tours to the general public to see solar eclipses and the Northern Lights since 1977. More than 2,000 people have participated so far in groups ranging from 10 to 300 persons. I have been involved in international amateur astronomical efforts to establish successful observations of minor planet occultations in Iran, Iraqi Kurdistan, and India in addition to setting up joint observation efforts with amateur astronomers in South Africa, Moldova, Bosnia-Hercegovina, and Macedonia. During the International Space Year (ISY) 1992 I established an initiative to provide viewing predictions for the Space Shuttle to planetariums in 34 countries. This initiative was approved and co-sponsored by the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space.
Planning for the next solar eclipse (left). 3rd place in the Antarctica half marathon 2012 (right)
Between 1983 and 2013 I served as Vice President for the International Occultation Timing Association (IOTA) and over the years have successfully observed 540 separate minor planet occultations. In 1977 I observed evidence suggesting the existence of a satellite of an asteroid during an occultation of a 3.6 magnitude star by the minor planet 6 Hebe. Although not confirmed, it set off the hunt for natural satellites orbiting asteroids, the first one officially being discovered in 1994 by the Galileo spacecraft.
Double star discovery during my observation of an occultation of TYC 5780-00308-1 on August 23, 2017 by the asteroid (834) Burnhamia
In Gurgaon, India for the October 13, 2015 Dione minor planet occultation of HIP12740
I have published photos in publications such as Aviation Week & Space Technology and National Geographic; videos on CNN, ABC, NBC, CBS, Discovery News Channel, and the Science Channel; papers in the Astrophysical Journal, Astronomical Journal and many others. See the link MALEY PUBLICATIONS below for details.
Cover photo taken by Paul Maley in his capacity as official launch photographer at the Conestoga I launch in 1982
In my work life I served at the NASA Johnson Space Center in Houston from 1969 to 2010 working as a space flight control engineer supporting the Apollo Moon landings beginning in 1969, Skylab, Skylab Reentry mission, Space Shuttle missions STS-1, -2, -26, -46, -49, -60, -61,-63, -67, -75, -85, -91, -93, -95, and -132; in addition, SEDS-1 Delta launched flight (Mexico), Hyabusa-1 Reentry (Australia), several planned reentries of the Space Shuttle External Tank (Hawaii), and International Space Station support activity .
¹as documented in the “Travelers Century Club” list of official countries where the criteria for a ‘country’ is defined at http://travelerscenturyclub.org/countries-and-territories/territory-status
CONTACT: ADDRESS COMMENTS TO me at email@example.com
In Kosovo 2009
Serving as an ASCO spaceflight controller in Mission Control Center-Houston during the SKYLAB reentry mission 1978
SOLAR ECLIPSE ACTIVITIES (PUBLIC OUTREACH EFFORTS)–see EXPEDITIONS BELOW
- SOLAR ECLIPSES I HAVE SEEN
- SOLAR ECLIPSES FROM THEIR LIMITS
- SOLAR ECLIPSE SAFETY
- SOME SOLAR ECLIPSE REFLECTIONS
NORTHERN LIGHTS ACTIVITIES (PUBLIC OUTREACH EFFORTS)–see EXPEDITIONS BELOW
EARTH SATELLITE OBSERVATION ACTIVITIES (SCIENCE EFFORTS)
- HISTORY OF SPACE DEBRIS RECOVERIES
- OBSERVING MAN-MADE SPACECRAFT
- FINAL REENTRIES OF THE SPACE SHUTTLE
MINOR PLANET OCCULTATION ACTIVITIES (SCIENCE AND PUBLIC OUTREACH EFFORTS)
- MY SUCCESSFUL MINOR PLANET OCCULTATIONS
- OCCULTATION PAGE
- OBSERVING MINOR PLANET OCCULTATIONS IN ARIZONA
- ENCOUNTERS WITH METEORS
- ACTIVE VOLCANO ADVENTURES
- WHY IT IS FANTASTIC TO LIVE IN ARIZONA
- MALEY PUBLICATIONS
- COMET AND NOVA OBSERVATIONS REPORTED TO THE IAU
HISTORICAL MARKERS THAT I HAVE ESTABLISHED
- MARKER FOR US NAVAL OBSERVATORY TRANSIT OF VENUS EXPEDITION 1882, SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS
- MARKER FOR DUTCH TRANSIT OF VENUS EXPEDITION 1882, SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS
- MARKER FOR DISCOVERER OF MARS’ SATELLITES 1877, WASHINGTON DC
- MAVERICK-CARTER HOUSE OBSERVATORY, SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS
- PLAQUE FOR ROYAL SOCIETY TRANSIT OF VENUS EXPEDITION 1769, CHURCHILL, MANITOBA, CANADA
TRAIL FOR RUNNERS THAT I HAVE ESTABLISHED
Trip 2: participating in a race in Pyongyang, North Korea in 2015 Trip 1: North Korea side of DMZ 2005
EXPEDITIONS I WILL BE LEADING
TRANSIT OF VENUS EXPEDITIONS I HAVE LED
Paul presents a Mauritius flag flown on the Space Shuttle to Paul Berenger, Prime Minister of Mauritius during the 2004 Transit of Venus expedition there
TRANSIT OF MERCURY EXPEDITIONS I HAVE LED
NORTHERN LIGHTS VIEWING EXPEDITIONS I HAVE LED
(EXPEDITIONS SHOWN ON THIS PAGE THAT DO NOT HAVE ACTIVE LINKS WERE EITHER NOT DOCUMENTED OR THE SUMMARIES WERE LOST)
- 2012 NORTHERN LIGHTS EXPEDITION 1 ALASKA
- 2013 NORTHERN LIGHTS EXPEDITION 2 ALASKA
- 2013 NORTHERN LIGHTS EXPEDITION 3 ALASKA
- 2014 NORTHERN LIGHTS EXPEDITION 4 ALASKA
- 2014 NORTHERN LIGHTS EXPEDITION 5 ALASKA
- 2015 NORTHERN LIGHTS EXPEDITION 6 (PRIVATE) SVALBARD
- 2015 NORTHERN LIGHTS EXPEDITION 7 ALASKA
- 2015 NORTHERN LIGHTS EXPEDITION 8 SVALBARD
- 2015 NORTHERN LIGHTS EXPEDITION 9 (PRIVATE) NORTH KOREA
- 2016 NORTHERN LIGHTS EXPEDITION 10 (PRIVATE)
- 2016 NORTHERN LIGHTS EXPEDITION 11 (PRIVATE) NORWAY
- 2016 NORTHERN LIGHTS EXPEDITION 12 (PRIVATE) INDIA
- 2017 NORTHERN LIGHTS EXPEDITION 13 ALASKA
- 2017 NORTHERN LIGHTS EXPEDITION 14 ALASKA
- 2018 NORTHERN LIGHTS EXPEDITION 15 ALASKA
- 2018 NORTHERN LIGHTS EXPEDITION 16 ALASKA
- 2019 NORTHERN LIGHTS EXPEDITION 17 ALASKA
- 2019 NORTHERN LIGHTS EXPEDITION 18 ALASKA
- 2020 NORTHERN LIGHTS EXPEDITION 19 ALASKA
- 2021 NORTHERN LIGHTS EXPEDITION 20 ALASKA
- 2021 NORTHERN LIGHTS EXPEDITION 21 ALASKA
- 2022 NORTHERN LIGHTS EXPEDITION 22 ALASKA
Paul under aurora in Fairbanks, Alaska 2014
SOLAR ECLIPSE EXPEDITIONS I HAVE LED
(EXPEDITIONS SHOWN ON THIS PAGE THAT DO NOT HAVE ACTIVE LINKS WERE EITHER NOT DOCUMENTED OR THE SUMMARIES WERE LOST. The list below does not include ALL solar eclipses I have seen but just those where I organized and led a group unless it shows the word PRIVATE where I have documented the trip properly.)
Finding “Eclipse Drive” in Cary, NC
- 1970 ECLIPSE EXPEDITION 1 USA
- 1972 ECLIPSE EXPEDITION 2 CANADA
- 1973 ECLIPSE EXPEDITION 3 MEXICO
- 1977 ECLIPSE EXPEDITION 4 COLOMBIA
- 1979 ECLIPSE EXPEDITION 5 CANADA
- 1980 ECLIPSE EXPEDITION 6 KENYA
- 1983 ECLIPSE EXPEDITION 7 INDONESIA
- 1984 ECLIPSE EXPEDITION 8 USA
- 1984 ECLIPSE EXPEDITION 9 PAPUA NEW GUINEA
- 1987 ECLIPSE EXPEDITION 10 GABON
- 1987 ECLIPSE EXPEDITION 11 CHINA
- 1991 ECLIPSE EXPEDITION 12 NEW ZEALAND
- 1991 ECLIPSE EXPEDITION 13 MEXICO
- 1992 ECLIPSE EXPEDITION 14 TRUK
- 1994 ECLIPSE EXPEDITION 15 USA
- 1994 ECLIPSE EXPEDITION 16 PERU
- 1995 ECLIPSE EXPEDITION 17 PERU
- 1995 ECLIPSE EXPEDITION 18 INDIA
- 1997 ECLIPSE EXPEDITION 19 MONGOLIA
- 1998 ECLIPSE EXPEDITION 20 CURACAO
- 1998 ECLIPSE EXPEDITION 21 MALAYSIA
- 1999 ECLIPSE EXPEDITION 22 AUSTRALIA (PRIVATE)
- 1999 ECLIPSE EXPEDITION 23 TURKEY
- 2001 ECLIPSE EXPEDITION 24 ZAMBIA
- 2001 ECLIPSE EXPEDITION 25 COSTA RICA
- 2002 ECLIPSE EXPEDITION 26 MARIANAS ISLANDS
- 2002 ECLIPSE EXPEDITION 27 MOZAMBIQUE
- 2003 ECLIPSE EXPEDITION 28 ICELAND
- 2003 ECLIPSE EXPEDITION 29 ANTARCTICA
- 2005 ECLIPSE EXPEDITION30 PANAMA
- 2005 ECLIPSE EXPEDITION 31 ALGERIA (PRIVATE)
- 2006 ECLIPSE EXPEDITION 32 LIBYA
- 2006 ECLIPSE EXPEDITION 33 FRENCH GUIANA
- 2008 ECLIPSE EXPEDITION 34 CHINA
- 2009 ECLIPSE EXPEDITION 35 COCOS ISLANDS
- 2009 ECLIPSE EXPEDITION 36 KIRIBATI
- 2010 ECLIPSE EXPEDITION 37 UGANDA
- 2010 ECLIPSE EXPEDITION 38 FRENCH POLYNESIA
- 2012 ECLIPSE EXPEDITION 39 USA AND JAPAN
- 2012 ECLIPSE EXPEDITION 40 AUSTRALIA
- 2013 ECLIPSE EXPEDITION 41 TARAWA
- 2013 ECLIPSE EXPEDITION 42 ATLANTIC OCEAN
- 2015 ECLIPSE EXPEDITION 43 SVALBARD
- 2016 ECLIPSE EXPEDITION 44 MICRONESIA
- 2016 ECLIPSE EXPEDITION 45 TANZANIA
- 2017 ECLIPSE EXPEDITION 46 CHILE
- 2017 ECLIPSE EXPEDITION 47 NEBRASKA
- 2019 ECLIPSE EXPEDITION 48 PACIFIC OCEAN
- 2019 ECLIPSE EXPEDITION 49 INDIA
- 2021 ECLIPSE EXPEDITION (PRIVATE)
- 2021 ECLIPSE EXPEDITION 50 WEDDELL SEA
- 2022 ECLIPSE EXPEDTION (PRIVATE) CHILE
Paul and Space Shuttle astronaut Claude Nicollier at the Jalu, Libya eclipse camp 2006
– Prior to 1977 there was no such object in astronomical textbooks as a natural satellite of an asteroid. Paul reported an observation during an occultation of a 3.6 magnitude star in March 1977 that suggested the first possible satellite of an asteroid— a small object orbiting the asteroid (6) Hebe. Co-authoring the report with D.W. Dunham in 1978, it set off a concerted effort by amateur astronomers and professionals to observe occultations of stars by minor planets. Though this specific discovery remains unconfirmed, it was in 1994 that the Galileo spacecraft beamed back the first image of a natural satellite of the asteroid Ida, thus proving the existence of a hitherto unknown population of solar system objects (see Asteroids, edited by T. Gehrels, p. 443, 1979). As of 6/24/22 some 468 objects in our solar system have been identified as binary, triple or more.
– Observed / videorecorded 540 occultations of stars by minor planets mostly from US locations but also observations were made from 6 continents with the goals of improving asteroid size and shape information, detection of new double stars and attempting to discover new minor planet satellites.
– Discovered that inactive earth satellites (space debris) could have an impact on professional astronomical discoveries. Paul determined that the cause of the infamous Aries (Perseus) flasher, an object that caused a stir in the astronomical world in 1985 was caused by sunlight glinting off a piece of Russian space debris (see Astrophysical Journal, vol. 317, 1987, L39-44). Sometime later, Greek astronomers published a paper and photograph purporting to show a bright meteor impact on the non-sunlit portion of the Earth-facing Moon. Paul determined that this flash was caused by an inactive American satellite passing directly in the field of view at the time (see Icarus, vol. 90, April 2, 1991, pp. 376-377). These two events alerted the community to consider the importance of the ever increasing population of earth orbiting man-made objects.
– Originator and curator of HISTORY OF SPACE DEBRIS RECOVERIES which continues to serve as a worldwide source of information describing accounts of recovered satellite reentry pieces that have survived encounters with the Earth’s atmosphere.
-Originated the idea of training the Space Shuttle Challenger crew to observe Halley’s Comet from space in 1985. He also conducted the Halley’s Comet observation training of the astronauts on that ill fated mission.
– Originated the contingency plan to cope with the possibility of a failure with the Space Shuttle deployment of the Italian-designed Tether Satellite System (TSS-1) 1996; in the event the very thin tether was to break, the only place to document this would be from Australia in the first days after deployment. NASA agreed to send me to Australia. In fact, the tether did break and Paul obtained the first video documentation of the shape and orientation of a free flying tether.
– Since 2016 have worked with Jyotirvidya Parisanstha, an association of amateur astronomers in India, in order to help develop and promote observation of minor planet occultations.
Presentation at The Inter-University Center for Astronomy and Astrophysics, Pune
CHRONOLOGY OF ACCOMPLISHMENTS
1970 – Organized a field observation of the Apollo 13 spacecraft on its way to the Moon. He observed and reported the explosion that occurred onboard the Command Module just minutes after it happened leading to what could have been a life threatening emergency; Paul was one of a very few to see this incredible space event in real time.
1972 – Conducted the first use of image intensifier technology and video and recorded an outburst of the Draconid meteor shower (see IAUC 2452).
1973 – Primary organizer of the most successful lunar grazing occultation expedition (see Sky & Telescope April,1973, p.257).
1973 – Comet Kohutek was predicted to be a major comet but it was continuously cloudy for weeks over Houston where Paul lived. Rather than never seeing the comet he organized a flight to get above the clouds where he was able to study the comet clearly.
1980 – Took the first photo of an occultation of a star by an asteroid. See Sky & Telescope, March 1980, p 261.
1980 – Reacting at the first sign of a possible major volcanic eruption of Mt. St. Helens, flew with a NASA colleague to the volcano in Washington and monitored it for a short time before it eventually exploded 30 days later.
1982 – Took the only photo ever taken of a complete grazing occultation process of a star by the moon. See Sky & Telescope, April 1982, p 426.
1982 – Contracted by former Astronaut Deke Slayton to be the official photographer of the first private rocket launch. Launch photo appeared on the cover of Aviation Week & Space Technology
1982 – Computed where the Russian Salyut 6 spacecraft and the Space Shuttle (STS-4 mission) orbits would cross each other at twilight and traveled to Florida for the intercept; he took photos of both spacecraft in the same field of view.
1984 – Principal organizer of most productive expedition to map the shape of an asteroid. See Astronomy, February 1984, p 51.
Paul’s Shuttle reentry photo in AVIATION WEEK & SPACE TECHNOLOGY 1984
1984 – Took the first photo of the reentry of a Space Shuttle orbiter. See Aviation Week & Space Technology, February 27, 1984, p 40.
1984 – Took the first photo of reentry of space shuttle external tank. See Aviation Week & Space Technology, April 26, 1984, p 21.
Using low light level image intensified video to record Perseus flasher candidates 1985
1986 – Took the first photo of a cluster of geostationary communication satellites in one frame. See Aviation Week & Space Technology, March 3, 1986, p 73.
1986 – Invited and funded by the Pakistan Upper Atmosphere and Space Commission to advise on design of a ground-based satellite surveillance system capable of observing geostationary spacecraft.
1986 – Requested from the London Science Museum to exhibit personal Space Shuttle video and photographs in the Space Science and Technology Gallery.
1987 – Invited to testify before House subcommittee on Space Science and Applications in regard to NASA future budget in my capacity as Chairman of the National Committee on Space Science & Astronomy for the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics.
1987 – Conducted the first joint Pro-Am expedition to Taiyuan, China to observe an annular solar eclipse from the edges of the path of annularity.
1988 – Requested by NASA Public Affairs to provide Space Shuttle sighting data across the United States while employed by the NASA Flight Director Office.
1989 – Created an initiative adopted by the Goodwill Games in Seattle to promote observation of Earth satellites during the games.
1989 – Principal Investigator for the Detailed Test Objective 330 “Water Dump Cloud Formation” which studied observational characteristics of effluent ejected from the Space Shuttle and potential impact to deployed payloads. This was actually flown in space on mission STS-29.
1989 – Funded by the National Geographic Society to travel to French Guiana to observe an eclipse of a star by the asteroid Vesta.
1991 – Invited by the NASA Jet Propulsion Lab to provide optical images and position measurements of the asteroid Gaspra prior to the flyby by the Galileo spacecraft.
1992 – Created an initiative adopted by the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space to promote observation of the Space Shuttle and Mir station by planetariums around the world during the International Space Year. Paul computed visibility predictions of these bright space objects which were faxed by the UN to planetariums in 34 countries by coordination with Committee Chair Dr. Petr Lala.
1992 – Created and led a joint US expedition with Russian geologists to help map the magnetic field at the base of the Karymskii volcano in Kamchatka, Russia.
1996 – Originated a proposal and was NASA-funded to travel to Australia to record the first ever video of a free flying tether in space.
1996 – Video-recorded the STS-77 orbiter and several payloads flying in formation; this video was uplinked directly into space so the Space Shuttle crew could see the results of their successful payload deployment.
1999 – Worked to help design a satellite called STARSHINE to be deployed from the Space Shuttle on STS-96 that could be observed by students with simple equipment. The satellite was eventually launched and tracked successfully.
2000-2005: Represented the NASA Mission Operations Division in Russia (2000-2003) and in Japan (2003-2005) to help integrate the European Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV) and the Japanese H-II Transfer Vehicle (HTV), respectively, into the International Space Station configuration.
The HTV preparing to dock with ISS. I am most proud of working with my incredibly talented JAXA colleagues on this wonderful project. Photo provided by Koji Yamanaka ©NASA/JAXA.
2004/2005 – Developed historical markers for two important Transit of Venus observing locations; researched, discovered and was instrumental in preserving the house where Asaph Hall lived when he discovered the moons of Mars in 1877 (see above DISCOVERY OF MARS SATELLITES link).
2006 – Invited and funded by the Union of Concerned Scientists to present at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology on the role of independent satellite observers in the field of space surveillance.
2008 – Designed an experiment which flew on an airborne campaign to record the reentry of the first European Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV-1) in September 2008 as part of the multi-mission campaign coordinated by ESA and Ames Research Center (ARC). Worked with ARC personnel to test, integrate and fly the hardware successfully on the Gulfstream aircraft to support this mission.
2010 – Obtained funding from the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory to provide in-country reentry support for the Japanese Hayabusa asteroid sample return mission. Traveled to Coober Pedy, Australia and obtained ground video coverage of the reentry.
2010 – Member of the discovery team for 2 new double stars (HIP31689 and HIP94703). See: “New Double Stars from Asteroidal Occultations, 1971-2008” D. Herald et al (co-author), JOURNAL OF DOUBLE STAR OBSERVATIONS, Jan.1, 2010, Vol 6 No. 1, pp. 81-96.
2011 – Received permission to use the 90-inch/229cm telescope at Kitt Peak National Observatory to observe an eclipse of a star by an asteroid.
2017 – Traveled to South Africa to observe an eclipse of an extremely distant asteroid as part of NASA’s New Horizons space mission. Funded by Southwest Research Institute.
2018 – Member of the discovery team for new double star TYC 5780-308-1 . See: “TYC 5780-308-1 Discovery of Stellar Duplicity During Asteroidal Occultation by (834) Burnhamia” B. Timerson, T. George, T. Blank, Paul Maley, S. Messner, J. Moore. Journal of Double Star Observations, Vol. 14 No. 2, 395-400. April 1, 2018.
Paul and Lynn Palmer in Ulaan Bator, Mongolia February 1997 for the total solar eclipse
A great portion of my night life has been conducting singular earth satellite observations. This includes having documented the reentry of Cosmos 166 in 1967 from south Texas, tasked by NASA to record several re-entries of the Space Shuttle’s External Tank in conjunction with radar observation sites in Hawaii, video-recorded about 12 re-entries of the Space Shuttle itself en-route to final landings in Florida, a number of observation projects involving space debris, and observing spacecraft from the former USSR whose missions were unannounced.
A section of the STS-77 execute package showing Paul’s video of payload deployment was uplinked to the Space Shuttle crew in 1996.
I was the youngest person ever to have an independent observing site under the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory’s Moonwatch Program in 1960 (San Antonio, Texas station 8634). I presented papers at various International Astronautical Federation (IAF) congresses on observations of Iridium spacecraft, Ariane IV rocket bodies, and other visual satellite photometry applications. In June 2000, I was invited to present a paper before the 18th Inter-agency Debris Committee describing studies of Russian Proton 4th stage ullage motors which are one source of space debris in geostationary transfer orbits.
Leading a group at the Karymskii Volcano, Kamchatka Peninsula (Russia) 1991
I utilized Global Positioning System receivers to initially survey a volcanic area in a joint cooperative expedition with the Institute of Geology and Geochemistry in Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky in the Russian far east in 1991. Then through agreement with Trimble Navigation I began to use Trimble GPS receivers to establish coordinates for solar eclipse sites in the South America, Africa, Australia and Asia as well as for sites of 19th century eclipses in the USA.
In Star City, Russia November, 2001 during a Shuttle mission support activity, one of 9 trips to Russia
Other noteworthy activities have included observation of a 1 meter size ullage motor (NORAD catalog #20698) at an altitude of only 92 miles with the unaided eye; the Russian Mir space station from the middle of Seoul, Korea; the Mir from a cruise ship docked in Port Said, Egypt; the Mir from a moving train between Bulgaria and Romania; Iridium satellites in broad daylight from Scotland and Australia; night time Iridium flares from Iran, Crete, Turkey, France and Russia and many other places; observed three total lunar eclipses in one calendar year (1982); photo of two Russian space stations in one frame as published in NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC ; consultant to the Pakistan Upper Atmosphere and Space Administration (1988); interviewed on television stations in Gabon, Zambia, Curacao, Rodriguez Island, Japan, China and elsewhere in connection with safe eclipse observation procedures prior to solar eclipses; invited speaker on United Nations Day at the University of Miami (1993); and sighted noctilucent clouds in Finland.
In Turkish occupied Northern Cyprus 2014
I have also led astronomical expeditions to Venezuela, Mexico and Sudan to attempt to improve the lunar polar diameter; undertaken expeditions on his own to India, Greece, Moldova, Bosnia-Hercegovina, Iraq, Abu Dhabi, Japan, South Africa, Turkey, Macedonia, Cuba, Indonesia, Taiwan, Guyana, Australia, Lord Howe Island, Brazil, Australia, Kuwait, Tanzania, and France to observe occultations of stars by asteroids; observed four sunlit passes of the Space Shuttle from the tip of South America in one night; instructed Shuttle crew members of the ill-fated Challenger on how to observe Halley’s Comet in 1985.
Paul (left) and Teacher-in-Space backup astronaut Barbara Morgan (center) presenting a mission description on NASA TV, just prior to the ill-fated Challenger mission in 1986.
In addition: sighted a simultaneous aurora and naked eye comet from a commercial flight over the Pacific Ocean in 1997; payload integration engineer for the Midcourse Space Experiment satellite MSX, whose Delta rocket tank reentered and pieces of which were recovered in central Texas; organized and led expeditions to observe grazing occultations of stars by the moon and solar eclipses where Shuttle astronauts have also been observers; published popular articles on how to successfully observe occultations, earth satellites and eclipses in journals in the USA, China, France and Italy; presented lectures on astronomical topics in Singapore, Spain, Poland, Denmark, India, Japan, Peru, Mexico, Belgium, Jordan, South Africa, Australia, France, England, Canada, Guatemala, El Salvador, Japan, and India. One of my most prized possessions is a letter from the late astronomer Carl Sagan requesting a copy of one of Paul’s technical papers.
I have received funding for just a few projects from the Federation of American Scientists, National Geographic Society and NASA, but the majority of my expeditions have been conducted with my own resources. One of my more exotic assignments was to await the launch of a rocket with an expendable tether system while staying at a Club Med hotel in Manzanillo, Mexico. Another was the 1995 Shuttle mission of the Italian Tethered Satellite System where I obtained low light video of the free flying tether (from Cairns, Australia) which was unexpectedly severed from the Shuttle soon after its deployment.
Paul with a jaguar in the Peruvian Amazon, 1991
My videos of satellites and meteors have been used to demonstrate educational aspects of observation and have been shown on the Discovery Channel, Chinese television, The Learning Channel, ABC and CBS News, in England, Belgium and Germany, as well as having been appended to post-Shuttle mission flight footage by NASA.
On March 26, 2016 the Japanese Hitomi (ASTRO-H) X-ray satellite suffered a failure. I was the first to get detailed video documenting two large pieces rotating ‘out of control’ which signaled the complete failure of the $270 Million mission. In the photo below note the series of equally spaced flashes in the upper left quadrant.
A flashing piece of the Hitomi spacecraft (upper left to lower right) passes through Orion on March 29, 2016 after experiencing a catastrophic event. P. Maley photo.
I have had a long interest in meteor shower observation, witnessed a dramatic return of the 1966 Leonid Meteor Storm during undergraduate school years in south Texas, and then a brief outburst from the Draconid meteor shower in 1972 when I first used an electronic image intensifier and video. I was also a real-time eyewitness to the explosion of the manned Apollo 13 command module while it was on its way to the Moon and, created the ephemeris so that it could be tracked that night from the NASA Johnson Space Center. I have participated in projects ranging from space art to research on the nature of the famous Marfa lights seen in west Texas.
• Recipient of Gordon Myers Amateur Achievement Award, September 2022 by the Astronomical Society of the Pacific.
• Recipient of the G. BRUCE BLAIR Gold Medal, awarded November 4, 2021 by the Western Amateur Astronomers.
• Elected as Fellow of the Explorers Club, April 10, 2021.
• The binary asteroid 1981CH was named 27675 Paulmaley at the September 3, 2019 5th Workshop on Binaries, Ft. Collins, Co. The primary asteroid was discovered in 1981 by L.Brozek at Klet Observatory, Czechia and the secondary was found by D.Pray and P. Pravec at Ondrejov Observatory, Czech Republic in 2017. The primary asteroid is 5 km/3.1 miles in diameter and its satellite is estimated by light curve analysis to be around 1 km/0.62 miles in size. The asteroid makes one complete rotation in 2.966 hours and completes one revolution around the Sun in 3.6 years.
Diagram showing the position of my binary asteroid on September 21, 2019. Produced by Richard Nugent.
• Lifetime Achievement Award from the International Occultation Timing Association presented September 20, 2019.
• Elected as Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society, 1975 (nominated by Dr. Brian G. Marsden)
ASTRONOMICAL AWARDS DEVELOPED
Cameo appearance in the ABC TV movie “Houston, We Have A Problem” in 1974
On the Science Channel (2018)
On the personal side, I have enjoyed climbing and photographing active volcanoes in Hawaii, Aeolian Islands, Costa Rica, Russia, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, New Zealand, Mexico, mainland USA, Guatemala, Montserrat, Sicily, Peru, and Japan. I have raised basset hounds and participated in automobile rallies. While many of my endeavors have been successful, others have not. I have had a frustrating and unproductive comet hunting project begun in 1973 enhanced with the purchase of 25 x 150 Fujinon binoculars in Japan in 1980. It is a life-long goal to discover a comet.
I am the co-owner of 2 cats. This requires being a personal cat servant as seen below.
In the meantime, I have been a continual contributor to STARSCAN, the publication of the NASA Johnson Space Center Astronomical Society. I have jogged in Kuwait, Chile, Oman, Barbados, Sri Lanka, Japan, Macao, Dubai, Turkey and dozens of other countries (see separate RUNNING PAGE) and completed half marathons on all seven continents.
Paul (right) with his sister and mother in a 1961 photo at the Aline Carter observatory in San Antonio, Texas
Oldest surviving photo taken in San Antonio, Texas 1954
With the Transit of Mercury team in Bolivia in May 2016 at the start of the infamous Death Road 56km northeast of La Paz. The road was cut into the side of the Cordillera Oriental Mountain chain in the 1930s by Paraguayan prisoners during the Chaco War.
Paul served in the NASA Johnson Space Center Flight Director Office for a number of years and appears in this team photo 1989
In Tbilisi, Georgia in 2011
During my many mostly uneventful travels I narrowly missed a bomb attack at the Intercontinental Hotel in Paris, being shot at in the Sudan while passing through a darkened roadblack at night, traveled to Afghanistan, Iraq, and Kashmir without security and a few other places as in the image below from Yemen taken in 1994.
In Yemen 1994
A few photos from the numerous trips I took to new places.
In Chisinau, Moldova in 2010
Entering Serbia 2009
Srinigar, Kashmir 2007
With lowland gorillas in Uganda, January 2010
In the Cocos (Keeling) Islands, January 2015 the day before an annular solar eclipse
In Turkmenistan 2012
In Iraq with military guard at occultation site 2011
Plaque given to me by Azhy Chato Hassan in Erbil, Iraqi Kurdistan 2011 commemorating our successful minor planet occultation expedition there.
In the Bengazhi, Libya weather office (2005) working on understanding the prospects for observing the 2006 solar eclipse there
In Tiraspol, Transntstria 2010
In Damascus, Syria 1993
In Ajman 2013
At Kabul, Afghanistan airport 2007
In Baku, Azerbaijan 2011
Claiming a small piece of Antarctica for Texas in March 2012
On a trip to Antarctica (Palmer Peninsula), I planted a flag laying ‘claim’ to that portion of Antarctica for the state of Texas. Since that part of Antarctica has been claimed by Argentina, Britain and Chile and none of these claims carries any legitimate legal weight, my claim should carry equal weight.
I have conducted many international astronomical outreach efforts in an effort to export interest in eclipses of stars by asteroids. Amongst them are expeditions to Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Bosnia-Hercegovina, Canada, India, South Africa, Taiwan and other countries to encourage local amateur astronomers in this endeavor.
With a 16-inch telescope at Clanwilliam, South Africa, May 2017 on an expedition to image the Trans Neptunian Object (TNO) 2014 MU69. T.Blank photo.
December 2016 with Indian Jyotirvidya Parisanstha (JVP) astronomy team for an occultation of a star by the asteroid Kalliope east of Pune, India. Photo at a gas station along the route. This expedition was successful.
In Jeddah, Saudi Arabia May 2015 training the university team to record the occultation of Regulus by the asteroid Dagmar. This expedition was successful.
In Shaqlawa, Iraqi Kurdistan April 2011 working with local amateur astronomers and the military for the occultation of a star by the asteroid Peraga. This expedition was successful.
Paul and Hasan Al Hariri (Dubai Astronomy Group) meet in Dubai, January 2013 for outreach to prepare for the March 3 Watsonia asteroid occultation and to discuss the annular solar eclipse December 2019.
Baalbek, Lebanon 1995
In Dili, East Timor 2014
In Palestine May 18, 2017
MY FAVORITE CAT
Since 1994 I have had several wonderful cats; however, Lucy K, an American short hair cat was the one who made the most impact on me. She lived from 2006 to May 24, 2020 and is now buried in Carefree, Arizona safe from predators.
In order to remember her I provide the photo above right showing her profile with respect to the constellation of Leo. This constellation can be seen in spring after sunset providing a constant reminder of her when I look up at the night sky. If you only knew how much joy she brought to us during her 14 years of life, you would truly be amazed. She deserves to be memorialized as Lucy in the Sky with diamonds.