Astronomical League - Awards


The Astronomical League presents awards to deserving people who have advanced the goals of the Astronomical League. These include promoting astronomy, contributing to the League, and advancing the science of astronomy. There are many awards that are presented. If you know someone who qualifies for an award, please contact the appropriate award administrator to get more information on nominating that person for the award. AL Awards Graphic

The awards are presented to recognize people for their hard work and accomplishments and to encourage youngsters to study astronomy. Those wishing to receive awards for various observing programs should visit our observing club pages to determine who to contact.

We congratulate the winners of these awards and hope that someday you too will be listed among their ranks.


The Astronomical League 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.

G. R. "Bob" Wright Service Award

This award honors current or past League volunteers for service to the Astronomical League.

The Leslie C. Peltier Award

The Leslie C. Peltier Award is presented to an amateur astronomer who contributed to astronomical observations of lasting significance. This award is supported by  Explore Scientific.

National Young Astronomer Award

N.Y.A.A. recognizes outstanding work, by amateur astronomers of high school age, in the areas of research, public education, academic scholarship in astronomy or science, observing, imaging, telescope or equipment design or construction, publications and writing, local club activities, and regional and national organizational activities. This award is supported by  Explore Scientific.

Jack Horkheimer Service Awards






Any League member under the age of 19 on the age of the application is eligible to apply for the Jack Horkheimer awards. The Award is based upon service to the League, either directly or through service to any Astronomical League society. Service could be in the form of educational outreach, knowledge and skills at public star parties or other astronomical service. Young astronomers can apply for both the National Young Astronomer Award and the Horkheimer Awards. The three awards are the Horkheimer/Smith Award, Horkheimer/Parker Award and the Horkheimer/D’Auria Award. The winner of the Horkheimer/Smith Award will receive an expenses-paid trip to the annual Astronomical League Convention, a plaque presented at the convention’s awards banquet and a $1,000 cash prize. In addition, for the past several years, Celestron, Inc. has donated one of its fine telescopes to the Horkheimer winner. Top finishers for the Horkheimer/Parker Award and the Horkeimer/A’Auria Award also receive the $1,000 cash prize.

This competition for the Horkheimer/O’Meara Youth Journalism Award is open to young writers in the 8-14 age groups. The submission should be 300 to 500 words. We are not limiting the entries to astronomy-related topics. We are open to any science-related topic that interests the contestant –– from robin's eggs to quasars. What we are looking for is someone who can take a factual scientific event or discovery and write an accurate story that is so exciting and informative that readers will not want to put it down, they are learning so much. Aside from accuracy, entries will be judged on three criteria: creativity, conciseness, and clarity.

Mabel Sterns Award

The League shall present an annual Mabel Sterns Award for outstanding editing of a League-society newsletter. Newsletters from League-member institutions, such as planetariums, museums and event boards, are not eligible.

Special Award

From time to time the Astronomical League presents special awards to people who have contributed greatly to astronomy and/or the League, but do not fall into any of the other award categories. These special awards are generally administered by the President.

Webmaster Award

With the increased popularity of the Internet, the Website is an important asset to astronomy clubs. Most web sites are designed, administered and updated by the club's Webmaster.
The purpose of the award is to acknowledge the club Webmaster who does an outstanding job of web site design and administration.

Astronomics Sketching Award

Sketching the details of a celestial scene allows the observer to see more and to better understand what he or she sees. In short, it makes one a better observer while making the hobby more satisfying.

This award recognizes the remarkable work of sketchers who patiently depict what appears in the eyepiece.

Today’s sketchers use all types of media, from the standard pencil and paper to electronic drawing, and they sketch all types of celestial scenes from intriguing lunar features to subtly shaded nebula. All are fair game for the sketcher and for the Sketching Award.

While one does not need to be an artist to succeed at sketching, it does take practice. So, why not begin tonight and try your hand at drawing what you see in the eyepiece? For more general information about sketching, please visit the Astronomical League Sketching Observing Award webpage: .

OPT Imaging Awards Program

The Astronomical League's imaging competition is currently on hold.

Photography of celestial features has brought the wonders of the sky to millions of people and has stirred the imaginations of many. Today, advances in electronic imaging technology have made the field accessible to more amateur astronomers than ever.

This award program recognizes the remarkable work of Astronomical League imagers who answer the challenge of capturing incredible scenes in the heavenly realm. The Astronomical League in partnership with Oceanside Photo and Telescope has created not one, but four award categories:

1. Solar system (such as the moon, sun, planets, and comets)

2. Deep sky (such as open clusters, globular clusters, nebulae, and galaxies)

3. Wide Field (such as constellations, the Milky Way, planetary groupings, aurorae, and meteors)

4. Video/time lapse imaging showing movement in the heavens

Each of the four categories will have a first, second, and third place award. The first place winner will receive a $250 gift certificate from OPT, second place a $125 gift certificate, and third place a $75 gift certificate.

The folks at Oceanside Photo and Telescope,, have generously agreed to sponsor this award program because they recognize the value of people taking time to explore and understand what lies above. Thank you, OPT!

If you have a recent image of some facet of the celestial realm that you are proud of, why not complete the entry form for the OPT Imaging Awards Program?