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The Legacy of Astronomy Pioneer Paul Boltwood.If there is one thing that I can say that I enjoy the most about the astronomy community, it’s the camaraderie. It’s something that we at Diffraction Limited experience every day and have made lifelong friends.

It’s also within this community that we see the brilliance and commitment of its members—all dedicated to helping one another while continually working to make everyone’s astronomy experience the most it can be. It’s this sentiment that brings us to the legacy of Paul Boltwood.

For all astronomy enthusiasts, whether you’re just getting started as a backyard practitioner or are at the pinnacle of your professional career—if you have ever benefited from using a cloud sensor, you can thank the genius of Paul Boltwood.

Paul created the first successful infra-red cloud sensor technology for monitoring the skies and keeping observatories safe. In the early 2000s, he commercialized the first Boltwood Cloud Sensor, following his passion for the world of business. Eventually, Boltwood Systems Corporation products became part of the Diffraction Limited family, finding itself within a myriad of solutions purpose-built for professional and amateur observatories.

Paul’s legacy will live on for ages as a passionate amateur astronomer with extraordinary technical talent. His innovations include high-resolution imagery of a comet nucleus, a record-setting deep-sky image establishing a magnitude record for earth-based observing with amateur equipment, and numerous awards, including the Astronomical Society of the Pacific’s Amateur Achievement Award (2000) and the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada’s Chant Medal (1995). Best of all, he was honoured with the Asteroid 8785 carrying his namesake, now known as Boltwood.

But that’s not the entirety of Paul’s legacy. Through his friendship with astronomy club members in Ottawa and Hamilton (Canada), he encouraged many young observers to push the frontiers of discovery. He welcomed with open arms many people to his observatory for weekend observing sessions that went until dawn. I knew Paul well, as did Douglas George, Diffraction Limited’s founder and CEO. Paul’s kindness and generosity mean the world to us both.

Whether in computing, electronics, or observing, Paul always pushed the boundaries of what was technically possible. Out of respect for his incredible ideas and key learnings, we now have more than a decade of developing Cloud Sensors—the newest model, the Boltwood Cloud Sensor III, available in Spring 2022—carrying on his legacy.

To us, Paul will always be remembered as an innovator, genius, technical wizard, mentor, and so much more. But, most importantly, he will always be remembered as a friend that will live in our hearts forever.