My name is Brian Done. I am an Amateur Astronomer dedicated to cataloging and exploring the stars and planets in the Milky Way Galaxy.
Ever since I was a kid, I have been fascinated by everything to do with space. I remember my aunt Sue, who was a school teacher, had posters of the solar system planets and showed all of them to me. I was fascinated to see the variety of planets and was mesmerized by the view of planet Earth from space. I was so amazed at the grandeur of all of it.
I also had a habit of staring at the stars and Moon on many nights when I was a kid, and obviously still do now as an adult. I would sit outside on our back deck and wonder about all of those bright lights in the sky. What was up there? What was the story behind all of those stars? Why were they there? Were there other planets out there? Were there other people out there? How expansive are the stars?
I always longed to know what was in the heavens. I read, studied, and absorbed everything I could that was related to space and astronomy. I memorized all of the planets in our Solar System along with many of their moons. In fact, we had a board game that our family loved to play called Solar Quest. It was a monopoly style game that helped me to reinforce my knowledge of the planets and their moons. It also ignited within me the desire to explore them! I was fascinated by these worlds and wanted mankind to build spacecraft to not only explore them, but to colonize them too!
I proceeded to read about all of the missions that NASA had sent to all of these worlds. I was fascinated by the pictures of these planets and dreamed about what it would be like to see them in person. I particularly loved staring at the landscape pictures of Mars. I would stare at the pictures of the Martian rocks and landscape that Pathfinder took, as well as subsequent missions. I was particularly excited by the images taken from the Spirit and Opportunity rovers! Those were amazing and incredible! It made me feel like I was on Mars!
My dream as a kid was to be an astronaut or an astronomer. Unfortunately life happened and I was not able to fulfill those dreams. If I could go back in time, I would definitely change my career path. Exploring and discovering new things about the planets, stars, galaxies, and the universe is what brings me joy. The rush of discovering something new feels me with a tremendous amount of pride and fulfillment. Everyday I continue on in my great passion for astronomy, learning everything I can about the universe. I regularly study journals and articles written by astronomers and physicists trying understand the nature of the universe better.
Within the last 23 years astronomers have been discovering planets outside of our Solar System! This development has truly been a miracle and has ignited within me a desire to learn about all of these new worlds, and to share all of this wonder with others! It has also given me a chance as an amateur astronomer to explore all of the incoming data from these worlds and compile it into a visual database for others to enjoy. It gives me fulfillment to gain all of this new knowledge that is truly at the cutting edge of astronomy, and in a way allows me to contribute to the astronomical community. I invite you to explore the database that I have created depicting all of these new worlds in their grandeur through the website I created called the Milky Way Galaxy Atlas!