A History of Discovery

Tenagra Observatories has a long and varied history of discovery beginning with Supernova 1997cx (above) more than 10 years ago!. The Tenagra I telescope proved that relatively small telescopes (e.g. 0.36-m) can be used for routine examination of nearby galaxies and regular discovery of supernovae.  There are times when an error in this search can find an even more precious gem as in 1998di, only the 3rd known helium deficient dwarf nova.  It is estimated that only half the NEOs of 1 kilometer size have been discovered.  All Tenagra telescopes have discovered minor planets with a seemingly endless supply available through the 32" and 16" telescopes.  Tenagra also abounds with discovery confirmations, regularly confirming supernovae, comets and unique phenomena such as the light echo around 838 Monoceratis (below).  Tenagra was credited for confirmation of this discovery.

Tenagra has also regularly joined forces with Cal Tech and Dr. Michael Brown in confirmation discoveries and rotational light curves of what are now called "Dwarf Planets", the new members of the Kuiper Belt.  When Dr. Michael Brown and NASA needed confirmation of Sedna guess who they came to for verification?  Tenagra Observatories. The MPEC (list of observations announcing the discovery) shows that the Tenagra II 32" (0.81-m) telescope at Station 926 (Tenagra in S. Arizona) produced the second set of measurements of the object that will forever change our idea of the solar system.  We congratulate Michael Brown and his collaborators on the most astounding discovery in the outer solar system since Clyde Tombaugh found Pluto in 1930.  We thank them for their trust and patronage.  It is an honor to be a footnote in the history of unveiling of the new outer solar system.  We expect to continue to recover lost objects and confirm discoveries for CalTech and many other professional installations.  Thank you for your confidence in Tenagra.

For full information about Sedna, please see Dr. Michael Brown's Caltech page on


The official published measurements and brightness estimations of Sedna are available on
In addition, the object has been given a technical designation of 2003 VB12.




The Tenagra I telescope was created for supernovae search and was the first amateur telescope to be used for automated supernovae search.   At that time the number of supernovae discovered with CCDs was very small, the most being 5 by a single individual other than Rev. Robert Evans who had discovered many more visually starting many years before the pack..  Tenagra's effort was the first to find supernovae in quantity and defined the hardware profile that would be used by virtually all amateurs after the first Tenagra discoveries.  All of the original Tenagra discoveries were made with a 0.36-m (14") f/11 SCT.  Later ones were made with the first Tenagra II telescope.  In the summer of 2005 the Tenagra search was expanded with the placement of 14" f/11 SCTs in Oslo, Norway and Perth, Australia.

We were proud to have been part of LOTOSS, the merging of Lick Observatory's search program (using the Katzman 30" telescope on Mt. Hamilton) and Tenagra Observatory telescopes to create the Lick Observatory Tenagra Observatory Supernova Search.  The Lick search has been by far the most successful of its kind and with combined forces we virtually doubled the number of nearby supernovae discoveries.

Tenagra Observatories (both TOSS and LOTOSS programs) have discovered over 175 supernovae making the largest contribution to the science of supernova and use of type Ia supernovae for cosmological purposes than any other private concern in the world.

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