Fred Bruenjes is an electrical engineer by day and amateur astronomer by night. Now living in Warrensburg, Missouri, Fred earned his B.S. degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of California, San Diego in 1998. Working as a Test Engineering Manager developing satellite receiver and broadcast encryption microchips with Conexant Systems of San Diego, Fred quit the corporate life in 2007 to move to Warrensburg, Missouri.
On the 35 acre ICSTARS Astronomy Ranch, Fred converted his lifelong hobby of astronomy into a business. He founded Moonglow Technologies, an electronics firm dedicated to developing cutting edge astronomical products for the professional and amateur community. The Moonglow Technologies All Sky Cam now has installations on six continents and is a popular accessory for astro imagers and professional users alike. Moonglow also designs and manufactures components and test equipment for DayStar Filters' solar filters, which are used at professional solar observatories around the world. His work has been critical in projects such as the DayStar installation on the GONG global network of solar observatories, as well as space flown components scheduled for launch in 2012.
His interest in astronomy was sparked when Halley's Comet returned in 1986. While the view through his father's 7x50 binoculars was not impressive, it was inspiring. An annular solar eclipse over Fred's doorstep in 1992 launched an expensive habit of chasing solar eclipses to far flung corners of the world. To date, Fred has witnessed eight total solar eclipses and visited over forty countries in his astronomical pursuits.
As an accomplished astrophotographer, Fred's images have been published by Astronomy Magazine, Sky & Telescope, National Geographic News, Hoshi Navi, Disney, APOD, Reuters, and many others. Particularly famous photos include his image of an eclipse chaser silhouetting the 2003 total solar eclipse in Antarctica, and a 253-meteor composite of the Perseid meteor shower. His images and video of the Space Shuttle Columbia's destruction in 2003 aided NASA's investigation into the cause of the disaster. In his next project, Fred hopes to complete assembly of a high resolution mosaic of the southern sky that if printed out would measure nine meters square.
In his efforts to improve his imaging success, Fred regularly fabricates and customizes his own imaging equipment. He has designed and built several digital CCD cameras, including a very specialized high resolution high speed camera specifically for solar observing. Fred has built telescopes such as his 22" Dobsonian style telescope, and specialized astronomical equipment such as an Echelle spectrometer and Shack-Hartmann wavefront tester. He also enjoys writing custom software to drive cameras and motor controllers such as those used in the Moonglow Technologies' software, 'Eclipse Orchestrator' or the program he wrote to schedule comet hunting images.
Through his community outreach efforts, Fred shows the sky to local schools and the general public at the Charles Douglas Memorial Observatory. As a board member of the Stargarden Foundation, he coordinates the donation of telescopes to aspiring astronomers in third world countries and works to educate populations in the path of a solar eclipse on how to safely view the eclipse. Most recently, Fred assisted youth groups with two high altitude balloon launches in their goals to capture near-space images and video.
In 2009 Fred began a systematic search for comets in the northern hemisphere in his spare time in cooperation with the Stargarden Foundation. Using a 14" SCT telescope, in 2012 he discovered comet C/2012 C2 (BRUENJES) as part of his normal search program.
You can meet Fred at the NorthEast Astronomy Forum's April 2012 convention in Suffern, NY, at Moonglow Technologies booth #125.
You can go back to my main astronomy page for lots more good images!
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