David Mittelman’s ‘76 love for astronomy started right here at Middlebury College when he walked into Professor Frank Winkler’s Introduction to the Universe course as a sophomore in the 1970s. While Mittelman went on to a career in money management, his love of science and the stars continued to be a true joy of his — so much so that he often spent his nights photographing the universe above with close friends. Mittelman embarked on ambitious imaging projects such as surveying the night sky in the deep-red light of hydrogen alpha, a technique that reveals the rich tapestry of glowing hydrogen gas spread throughout our Milky Way galaxy. He also applied new technologies to photographing areas of the sky covered by historic surveys, allowing broader wavelength coverage and adding enhanced sensitivity.
Mittelman was deliberate about linking his love of astronomy with education in the hope that both present and future generations can enjoy the wonders and humility sparked by the skies above. His love of astronomy was contagious and he embarked on exploring the universe with joy and quiet amazement.
In order to share both his passion for the night sky and telescopes as a learning tool, Mittelman worked to bring both equipment and technologies to students and make them increasingly accessible with remote-operations capabilities. For this and his other astronomical activities, the International Astronomical Union honored him by naming asteroid 16779 Mittelman in 2017. This minor planet circles the Sun between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter.
The images in this collection represent data acquired with Mittelman’s telescopes ranging in size from 5 to 20 inches located in Colorado, Massachusetts, and New Mexico.
“The concepts of how much can be learned through the analysis of light were stunning intellectual revelations that have bounced around in my mind for years,” Mittelman said when endowing the Frank Winkler Professorship in 2014. “Much of our future lies with decoding and understanding the mysteries of our universe.”
David Mittelman, part of a renowned investment team and an astrophotographer, dies at 62
Boston Globe, June 16, 2017
Remembering David Mittelman ’76
Middlebury Magazine, October 26, 2017
In Memoriam: David Mittelman ’76
Middlebury Communications, June 1, 2017
College Observatory to Be Named for Trustee David Mittelman ’76
Middlebury Communications, May 22, 2017
College Establishes Endowed Professorship Honoring Frank Winkler
Middlebury Communications, August 19, 2014
Astronomy Welcomes New Experts
Middlebury Communications, May 1, 2014