The Astronomical League Award


AL Award

The Astronomical League Award is presented to any person, either amateur or professional, who has made worthwhile contributions to the science of astronomy on a national or international level. Previous winners have made contributions to the science of astronomy, founded other astronomical organizations, or made great contributions of their time and energy to the Astronomical League. Current officers of the League (until they are out of office for one year) or current members of the award committee are not eligible for this award.

The award committee consists of the current president, the immediate past president and the second past president, all of whom must vote on the award. The selection of the award recipient must be unanimous. Nomination must be made in writing to the Executive Secretary and contain the affiliation with the League (if any), and the reasons the person should be considered for the award. It must be received at least four months before the national convention. Announcement of the winner is made annually and the award is usually presented at the banquet held at the national convention.

The award need not be given each year. It may be given to more than one person or more than one award may be given in a year. The award may be posthumous. Qualified nominations need not be acted upon in the year in which they are received but may be held for future consideration. No reasons will be furnished for not making the award to any person nor are the proceedings of the presidents' committee be made public. The committee may nominate additional names.


Guidelines for Nomination


The idea behind the Astronomical League Award is to provide public recognition of outstanding work in the fields of amateur astronomy. By having the recipients describe their work at the annual conventions, the winner can transmit to all of us some of his enthusiasm and knowledge. Qualifications you should consider in suggesting nominees are as follows:

  • An outstanding amateur in any field of astronomy with a record covering important discoveries or long continued observations.

  • An outstanding worker in organizing amateur observational work and in instructing others in it.

  • An outstanding worker in theoretical, computational or mathematical astronomy on the amateur level.

  • An outstanding worker in the field of telescopic optics, instruction in telescope making or inventing new telescope arrangements, accessories or techniques, or one who has or is performing exceptional instrumental work for professional observatories.

  • One who has furthered amateur astronomy by lecturing or writing over a period of years, in a manner which has contributed in an exceptional degree to amateur astronomy.

  • One whose work in organizing amateur societies or groups of societies has contributed significantly to the present wide interest in amateur astronomy.

  • One who, as an amateur, has been entrusted with important professional work as an assistant in a professional observatory, leader of an eclipse expedition, lecturer on astronomy or planetarium lecturer, etc.

  • Any other person whose work in amateur astronomy has made a significant contribution to general knowledge of the science of to the dissemination of such knowledge among the general public.

Winners of the Astronomical League Award

Year Awardee(s)  
1951 Albert G. Ingalls Father of amateur astronomy; author; telescope maker.
1952 Walter H. Haas  
1953 Charles A. Federer, Jr.  
1954 Dr. Armand Spitz & H. Percy Wilkins  
1955 Carl Price Richards  
1956 Dr. Harlow Shapley & Charlie Mary Noble  
1958 Clarence E. Johnson  
1959 Grace Scholz Spitz  
1962 Robert E. Cox  
1963 Wilma Cherup  
1964 Margaret Mayall  
1965 G. R. "Bob" Wright  
1967 Norman W. Edmund  
1968 Leslie Peltier  
1969 Leonard G. Pardue  
1970 Russell C. Maag  
1971 Ralph K. Dakin  
1972 Edward Halbach  
1974 Walter Scott Houston  
1977 Bill & Cathryn DuVall  
1981 Dr. David Dunham  
1982 Clyde Tombaugh  
1983 Roger Tuthill & Ten Young  
1984 Dr. Douglas Hall  
1985 Cliff Holmes  
1988 Rollin VanZandt  
1989 Dr. Donald Parker  
1990 Janet Mattei  
1991 Virginia Lipphard  
1992 Dr. David Crawford  
1993 Andrew Fraknoi  
1994 Jack Horkheimer  
1995 Dr. John Westfall  
1996 Dr. John Percy  
1998 Dr. John Gott  
1999 Dr. Frank Bash  
2000 Don Trombino  
2002 Richard Berry    
2003 Dr. Tim Hunter    
2004 John F. Martin, V    
2006 J. Kelly Beatty    
2007 Tippy D'Auria  
2008 Richard Schmude    
2009 Alan Traino    
2010 Dr. Wayne Wooten    
2011 No award  
2012 David Clark
Chair of the Texas Star Party and chair of the Southwest Regional of the Astronomical League (SWRAL).
2014 David Hans Hough, Ph.D., professor of Physics and Astronomy at Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas.  
2015 Robert L. Gent