In Memoriam Bernie Young

Bernard John Young, II

1946 ∼ 2019

Bernie grew up in the Akron area of Ohio. His father being a master machinist, Bernie picked up the skills and fondness of turning metal into shavings along with other activities such as sailing, golden oldies, astronomy, skiing, steam locomotives, photography, etc. Oh, and IPA.

Upon completing high school, Bernie left that state. He enrolled in the University of Michigan where he received his bachelors and masters in Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering and then went ABD.

The first time I saw Bernie I knew right away that I would like him. And, I did; how could I not. That smile, those eyes, and that University of Michigan hat. He always wore a Michigan hat.

There was always a cup of coffee too. Maybe a story about when he worked at the Naval Model Basin in the D.C. area or a description of a new part he machined for one of the telescopes at the Werner Schmidt Observatory. More than once or twice there were stories about his solar oven which could cook a turkey. When he walked into the observatory the radio was tuned to the latest rock station; the high school students appreciated that.

Not long after joining the Cape Cod Astronomical Society, Bernie joined the staff of the Werner Schmidt Observatory. Next he was elected to the Board of Directors of the Cape Cod Astronomical Foundation as the Director of Research & Development. He was also named as the liaison between the Foundation and Dennis-Yarmouth Regional High School. He was a very busy guy. New and old telescopes and other equipment needed to be brought online and kept online. He was a leader in those efforts. His liaison work reestablished a program to bring D-Y students to the observatory to conduct lab experiments.

Bernie developed and lead a research project on stellar occultations. That’s when an object like a planet, moon, or asteroid passes in front of a star and cuts off the light from the star. One night in January of 2012, an asteroid 345 million miles from Earth passed in front of a star 55 light years away. For four seconds the light from the star was blocked by the asteroid. The event was photo recorded, timed to 1/10,000th of a second, data analyzed, and results sent to a central clearing house. They were the only results from that event obtained in the whole world that night. That was Bernie in action.

Bernie was our friend, colleague, mentor to many of us, and a wonderful person. He was happy, upbeat, caring, and serious when necessary. We miss him greatly.