Don Machholz

The family of Don Machholz aka The Comet Hunter, needs your help. Don was born in Portsmouth, Virginia in 1952 and passed away on August 9. 2022 at his home in Wikieup, AZ due to complications with Covid-19.

Don was a real estate appraiser from 2003-2018 and was well known within the appraisal industry. He was active in the Real Estate Appraisers Organization (REAA) and the Nevada County and Placer County Association of Realtors throughout his career. Don was known for his market updates and sense of humor at the weekly marketing meetings. Don significantly helped the appraisal industry by providing free analytical spreadsheets to appraisers nationwide to assist in newly required market conditions analytics.

Don's passion was not in real estate but in the stars. Don established an interest in astronomy at the early age of 8 yrs old. Don served in the United States army as a meteorological observer. In the mid-1970's Don developed a mapping system assisting him with comet hunting and discovered his first comet in 1978. Don is considered to be one of the inventors of the Messier Marathon, a race to observe all the Messier Objects (110 bright galaxies, nebulae, and star clusters) in a single night. Don completed 50 marathons in 40 Years. Don is known as the most successful living visual comment discoverer, credited with the discovery of 12 comets. Don remained active in the astronomical community up until his death, recording his "Up Looking with Don" Podcast.

The Machholz family would really appreciate any donations in their time of need.

For more about Don, please visit

Donations (141)

  • Barton Vogel
    • $50 
    • 7 mos
  • annie o'connor
    • $5 
    • 10 mos
  • Durul Dalkanat
    • $5 
    • 10 mos
  • Donald S Molen
    • $20 
    • 10 mos
  • Gregory Rathje
    • $10 
    • 10 mos

Organizer and beneficiary

Brian Melsheimer
Wikieup, AZ
Donald Machholz

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