Theodore A. Pruyne

B.S. Astronomy, B.A. Physics, Minor in Mathematics, Certificate in Energy Science Management and Policy Concentration(Class of 2018)


Degree from UH Hilo, Minors & Certificates:

B.S. Astronomy, B.A. Physics, Minor in Mathematics, Certificate in Energy Science Management and Policy Concentration


University Astrophysics Club Fall 2014 - Spring 2017: President Fall 2016 - Spring 2017

Where are you now and what are you doing:

My home base is located in Tucson Arizona. I am a Research Specialist with the Catalina Sky Survey, at the University of Arizona Lunar and Planetary Laboratory. I operate the 60" & 40" Telescopes on Mt. Lemmon, as well as the Schmidt and Kuiper on Mt. Bigelow, where I survey for NEOs (Near Earth Objects). Here I have been able to discover such objects as 2019 UN13, the second closest approaching (without impacting) asteroid ever discovered ( 6700km above the Earths service), and Comet P/2019 X1 (Pruyne).

Areas of Specialty:

Near Earth Objects

Places you have worked, interned or traveled to for your career:

Research Specialist Catalina Sky Survey, at University of Arizona Lunar and Planetary Laboratory (January 2019 - Present Night Attendant, NASA Infrared Telescope Facility (May 2017 - September 2017) Student Research Assistant, USDA Hilo (April 2017 - September 2017) Teaching Assistant, University of Hawaii (August 2016 - May 2017) NASA Hawaii Space Grant Fellowship, University of Hawaii at Hilo (Fall 2017, Spring 2018) Subaru Experience Program with Sokendai University, University of Hawaii at Hilo / Subaru Telescope (Fall 2016, Spring 2017) Physics, Astronomy, and Mathematics Tutor with Kilohana, University of Hawaii at Hilo (November 2015 - May 2018) Mauna Kea Visitor Information Station: Stargazing Volunteer (August 2014 - May 2018)


My Journey began a long time ago, in a distant land known as "The (New Hamp)Shire". I lived among a simple, peaceful folk. In short, life was bliss. It wasn't before long, however, that adventure came calling. A wizard told me I was to travel across the lands and seas, to a new home known as "Hawaii". Here I was destined to learn Astronomy and Physics, for it had been foreseen. Four years I spent, honing my craft, making friends, and battling with the curriculum. Until one fateful day, I emerged victorious, and I knew it was time for my next adventure. Armored with nothing but my knowledge and some powerful telescopes, I now strife to fight off evil impacting asteroids.


I was originally going to study chemistry at UMaine Orno, until my parents decided they were moving to Hawaii.  They offered to let me come with them and go to college at UHH, and I couldn't turn down the opportunity to learn astronomy where the best observing can e done: Mauna Kea.

Advice for prospective/current students of UH Hilo Physics & Astronomy:

Persistence is key.  It is a very difficult subject, and it requires a lot of dedication (more so than most majors), but the payoff is substantial. It is very easy to get discouraged, but if this is something you really want to learn, you just have to stick with it. Take Physics and Calculus as soon as you can, and be sure to go to Kilohana or a professors office hours if you have questions or are struggling with a concept. Furthermore, you are directly under the best location for astronomy in the world. Take every opportunity you can to get experience with the telescopes on the summit of Mauna Kea, Volunteer at the visitor center, Network, and above all else, enjoy your time in a unique and beautiful location!

Kyle Steckler photo

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