Awards at the 2021 Christmas Meeting
2022 January 29
At this meeting, I presented both the 2020 and 2021 Steavenson Awards, as well as certificates to two winners of the 2021 Sir Patrick Moore Prize.
The Steavenson Award consists of books and is given to a member who has made an outstanding contribution to observational astronomy. It was won in 2020 by Alexandra Hart (as detailed in the 2021 February Journal). She was present to accept her award: the book Solar Astronomy.
The Steavenson Award was won in 2021 by Dale Holt. Dale was cited as a prolific observer of the deep sky, having submitted 760 observations to the Deep Sky Section between 2007 and 2021. He has developed a unique method of observation, using a video camera at the focus of his 505mm telescope, then feeding the signal to a monitor and making pencil sketches of the image that are scanned, thus combining old and new technology. He often records under-observed objects, such as galaxies in the ARP and Hickson catalogues. His sketches regularly appear in the Journal and the Deep Sky Section Newsletter, and have featured in Sky & Telescope magazine. Dale received a book token from the President.
The Sir Patrick Moore Prize was won jointly this year by three people who have excelled in encouraging public interest in astronomy: Mary McIntyre, Howard Parkin, and Andrew Robertson. The Prize to each of them was £250, plus a year’s free membership of the Association and a certificate. Mary and Howard were able to attend the meeting. (Andrew is intending to have his presentation at the Nottingham meeting in June.)
Mary McIntyre gives around 50 lectures per year on astronomy and astrophotography; she specialises in the history of women in astronomy, and other subjects. She speaks to adult groups like the University of the Third Age (U3A) and the Women’s Institute, as well as to schools and youth groups like the Cubs and Scouts, in addition to giving audio-only talks to visually impaired groups. She has a YouTube channel where she presents tutorial-style videos teaching techniques of observation and imaging. She has regularly been on the radio and has produced podcasts. In addition, she writes for BBC Sky at Night magazine and oversees the UK Women in Astronomy Network (UKWIAN) social media pages. She even runs outreach events in her back garden. She does all these in spite of mobility issues. We consider her an outstanding ambassador for astronomy.
Howard Parkin is a leading light in astronomy on the Isle of Man (from which he had journeyed to attend the meeting). He was a founder of the IoM Astronomical Society, and since 1985 he has been giving adult education classes on the island. He has talked to ministers in the Isle of Man government, and was instrumental in getting Dark Sky Discovery Site status for 26 areas. He also advised the Isle’s postal authority on producing astronomy-themed stamps. He regularly visits schools and hosts groups of Scouts and Guides at the Isle of Man Observatory, helping them to get their astronomy badges. He also has a regular programme on Manx Radio. Howard has brought many people to the subject through an enthusiasm for astronomy that crosses all age groups and abilities.
David Arditti, President
Ed. Note: The other 2021 awards (the Walter Goodacre Medal & Gift to Lyn Smith, the Merlin Medal & Gift to Raffaello Lena and Barry Fitz-Gerald, and the Sir Patrick Moore Prize to Andrew Robertson) will be more fully detailed in the Journal when they are formally presented. Congratulations to all.