My interest in Astronomy dates since my early ages. Like most kids, I was impressed by science fiction stories and ideas. Unlike most kids though this interest has remained and developed to a new level. Throughout the years I had the opportunity to work and interact with many people in diverse areas of physics and astronomy. I’ve been involved in various astronomical projects, which had helped me broaden my knowledge and approach astrophysical problems from new, different angles.
As I grew up, I’ve always been involved in popularizing science (Astronomy in particular) even if I hadn’t realized that at first. When I was a kid, I was very excited to organize public observing sessions, because I would get to see my favorite astronomical objects again, and show others how “cool” Astronomy was. Later, I fully grasped the importance of making science more “accessible” to people and especially kids in school. As a result, I participated in various media programs (TV, radio, and newspapers) with the simple goal to promote Astronomy.
I joined National Astronomical Observatory and Planetarium (NAOP) “Giordano Bruno” Dimitrovgrad study group when I was only 11 years old. There I began to take part in all offered activities, solved astronomical problems, participated in national Olympiads and competitions, and wrote articles and reports.
Since I’d been there I had captured lots of rare and unique astronomical phenomena. I think there is no astronomical event that I haven’t observed and photographed. I made a number of pictures and observations of comets and meteor showers.
I took pictures of seven Total Lunar Eclipses and made science interpretation for most of them. I photographed Mercury (2003) and Venus (2004, 2012) transits as well. I have made marvelous astrophotos of the Sun, Moon, planets (including pictures of Mars when it was in its nearest position in 2003), some asteroids, many deep-sky objects, zodiacal light, and other phenomena. I have observed many star occultations and binary stars, too. My observations of variable stars (βLyr, R Lyr, η Aql, κ Dra, γ Cas and others) were published in the Bulletin of the French Association of Variable-Star Observers (AFOEV).
During the years I acquired a broad spectrum of knowledge and skills in the amateur astronomy – theoretical as well as practical. My good training in physics and mathematics plus keen knowledge in astronomy led me to the 1st place at the National Science Competition (2001) with my paper “Enlargement of the Earth’s shadow and color of the Moon surface during Total Lunar Eclipses”. I continued to work in this area and wrote two articles in Bulgarian astronomical newspaper “Telescope”.
I built a strange and unusual tool for meteor observation that I called “Tokamak”. The name was a joke at the time, but it stuck nonetheless. It was made out of 4 PVC pipes connected to each other in such a way that the 13 old photographic cameras attached to the plastic structure, covered the whole sky. “Tokamak” worked almost perfectly. It was tested on the Perseids and Leonids Streams.
My practical skills gave me the opportunity to participate in many science and observation expeditions. I took part in the science expedition to Shabla for the Total Solar Eclipse on August 11, 1999, where I was part of a project of Bulgarian Academy of Science (BAS). I was also in the team of BAS and University of Sofia for the Total Solar Eclipse on March 29, 2006. For the period 2000-2006 I had been to National Astronomical Observatory (NAO) Rozhen numerous times, where I have also given lectures.
I entered the University of Sofia without any entrance examinations, because of my excellent performance on the National Astronomy Olympiad. Once at the University, I dived into the field of Physics and the last two years of my Bachelor degree – into the field of Astrophysics. I continued my education at the University of Sofia in the Master of Science program in Astronomy and Astrophysics. After one year I defended my M.S. thesis titled “Spectroscopic Studies of the Solar Corona During the Total Solar Eclipse on March 29, 2006”. Six years later I obtained my doctorate degree at the University of Toledo, USA. You can find more about my research activities here.