Leslie C. Peltier Award

The heart of amateur astronomy is observing. We can read all we want about astronomical phenomena, but the real joy in astronomy is going out under the night sky and observing the objects about which we have read. But while most of us are casual observers of the sky, looking at the same few objects over and over, a few amateur astronomers develop their observing skills to the ultimate degree. They then use these skills to make careful observations of the sky and record them for scientific analysis. Peltier Award Plaque
Whether the observation is done with a photometer, CCD, spectroscope, or just the human eye, the ability to find an object and record scientifically useful detail is not a common trait. To recognize the amateur astronomer who is not only able to do this, but has contributed their observations to an ongoing observing program, the Astronomical League presents the Leslie C. Peltier Award. The Peltier Award was created in 1980 and the first was awarded in 1981.

The award is named after Leslie C. Peltier, the Delphos, Ohio, amateur astronomer who Harlow Shapley, one of the League's founders, referred to as "the world's greatest nonprofessional astronomer". Born January 2, 1900, he discovered twelve new comets and four novae. But his real contribution was the over 132,000 variable star observations he made in his sixty-two year observing career. He also wrote many articles on astronomy and penned four books. To easy his observing, he built an enclosed "merry-go-round" observatory. He died in 1980.
It is in his memory, and to celebrate his life-long love of the heavens, that the Astronomical League presents the Leslie C. Peltier Award.

The League shall present an annual Leslie C. Peltier Award to an amateur astronomer who contributed to astronomy observations of lasting significance.
Procedure for Nomination.
1. A three (3) person Peltier Award Committee shall be established, which shall execute the nomination and selection process, and shall be responsible for the design and sponsorship of the representative plaque.
2. Nominations shall be sent to the committee chair, who will forward the name(s) to the committee members for their selection by simple majority vote. The committee chair shall maintain a permanent list of nominees not selected, for consideration in future years.
3. Dates for the implementation of this process shall be set by the committee. The award shall be presented at the banquet of the annual convention or, if none is held, at the largest gathering of League members at the convention.

The Astronomical League held its annual meeting, ALCon 2012 along with the Association of Lunar and Planetary Observers in Lincolnshire, Illinois, July 4th through July 7th.

The annual awards banquet was held the evening of July 7, 2012. This year’s recipient of the Leslie C. Peltier Award is Mike Simonsen.Mike Simonsen receives 2012 Peltier Award
Mike is one of the world’s leading variable star observers and advocates. Since 1998 he has submitted over 80,000 variable star observations to the AAVSO International Database.
Mike is currently employed by the AAVSO as Membership Director and Development Officer.

Among the many hats Mike wears, he is in charge of all variable star chart production for the AAVSO, as well as coordinator of the AAVSO Mentor Program, Speakers Bureau, and Writers Bureau. Mike is also the section leader of both the AAVSO Cataclysmic Variable Section (CVnet) and Long Period Variable (LPV) Section.
His current area of research is Z Cam stars, a type of dwarf novae, and he is the author or co-author of more than twenty peer- reviewed papers on cataclysmic variables.

In 2005, Simonsen received the AAVSO’s highest honor, the AAVSO Director's Award. In October 2011, Mike became only the third recipient of the Charles Butterworth Award, the British Astronomical Association Variable Star Section’s highest honor.

Mike’s astronomy blog, Simostronomy, is among the top science blogs on the Internet, with over 20,000 monthly readers. He is also a staff writer for Universe Today and has contributed articles to Sky and Telescope magazine.
An animated and enthusiastic speaker, Mike gives talks on stellar astronomy and variable star science to astronomy clubs, organizations, conferences and university groups throughout the United States each year.
Mike's observatory, named after legendary AAVSO observer and chart maker, Charles E. Scovil, houses two 12" LX200 telescopes, one for visual use and one for CCD observations, or as Mike likes to joke, "One for each eye!" He is now amassing both visual and CCD observations from home and the remote robotic telescopes of AAVSOnet.

Previous Peltier Award Winners.
Area of Achievement
Leslie C. Peltier
Posthumous - Variable Stars
Ed Halbach
Variable Stars
Walter Haas
Planetary Astronomy
Clinton Ford
Variable Stars
Walter Scott Houston
Variable Stars - overall contr.
Rev. Robert Evans
Supernova Discoveries
Russell Genet
Photoelectric Photometry
No Award Given
David H. Levy
Overall Contributions to Observing
Peter Collins
Nova Discovery
No Award Given
Tommy Cragg
Variable Stars
Don Parker
CCD Work - Planetary Astronomy
Janet Mattei
Variable Stars
No Award Given
Ron Parmentier
Overall Contributions to Observing
Ed Oravec
Variable Stars
Dennis di Cicco
Overall Contributions to Observing
Roger Sinnott
Overall Contributions to Observing
Bill Albrecht
Variable Stars
Charles Scovil
Variable Stars
Richard Berry
Overall Contributions - CCD
Gene Hanson
Variable Stars
Paul Comba
Minor Planets
Wayne Johnson
Extra-Galactic Supernovae
Edward Grafton
CCD Planetary Astronomy
Elizabeth Waagen
Variable Stars
Daniel M. Troiani
Planetary Astronomy
Richard G. Hodgson
Minor Planets
Gerhard Samolyk
Variable Stars
2010 Derald D. Nye Occultations, Asteroid
2011 Arnie Henden Variable Stars
2012 Mike Simonsen Variable Stars
Leslie C. Peltier Award Committee
Roger S. Kolman, Ph.D., Chairman
Barry Beaman, Member
Russ Maxwell, Member