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.

Peltier Award PlaqueThe 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.

Winners of the Leslie Peltier Award:

(Additional information about some winners is located after the list of winners.)

Year Winner Area of Achievement
1980 Leslie C. Peltier Posthumous – Variable Stars
1981 Ed Halbach Variable Stars
1982 Walter Haas Planetary Astronomy
1983 Clinton Ford Variable Stars
1984 Walter Scott Houston Variable Stars – overall contr.
1985 Rev. Robert Evans Supernova Discoveries
1986 Russell Genet Photoelectric Photometry
1987 (no award)
1988 David H. Levy Overall Contributions to Observing
1989 Peter Collins Nova Discovery
1990 (no award)
1991 Tommy Cragg Variable Stars
1992 Don Parker CCD Work – Planetary Astronomy
1993 Janet Mattei Variable Stars
1994 (no award)
1995 Ron Parmentier Overall Contributions to Observing
1996 Ed Oravec Variable Stars
1997 Dennis di Cicco Overall Contributions to Observing
1998 Roger Sinnott Overall Contributions to Observing
1999 Bill Albrecht Variable Stars
2000 Charles Scovil Variable Stars
2001 Richard Berry Overall Contributions – CCD
2002 Gene Hanson Variable Stars
2003 Dr. Paul Comba Minor Planets
2004 Wayne Johnson Extra-Galactic Supernovae
2005 Edward Grafton CCD Planetary Astronomy
2006 Elizabeth Waagen Variable Stars
2007 Daniel M. Troiani Planetary Astronomy
2008 Richard G. Hodgson Minor Planets
2009 Gerhard Samolyk Variable Stars
2010 Derald D. Nye Occultations, Asteroid
2011 Arnie Henden Variable Stars
2012 Mike Simonsen Variable Stars
2013 John E. Bortle Overall Contributions to Astronomy
2014 Jim Fox
2015 Arlo Landolt
2016 Mike Reynolds
2017 Rodney Howe
2018 Damian Peach
2019 Tom Ryland
2020 Howard Brewington
2021 Don Machholz
2022 Dr. Barbara Harris
2023 Julius L. Benton, Jr.


Additional information about some of the winners:

Derald D. Nye – 2010 Leslie Peltier Award


Derald D. Nye was born in Oakley, Kansas in 1935. He graduated from Oakley Consolidated High School in 1953. Following graduation, he served 2 years in the United States’ Army from 1955 – 1957.

He graduated from Kansas State University in 1961 with a B.S. in Electrical Engineering. After graduation, he was employed by International Business Machines (IBM) at locations on the East Coast; Boulder, Colorado; and Tucson, Arizona until his retirement in August, 1991.

Arne Hindon – 2011 Leslie Peltier Award

2011 Peltier Award - Arne HendenArne Henden was born in Huron, South Dakota, but that would not be the only place he called home as a child. The son of a U.S. Army Corp of Engineers Civil Engineer, Arne received the chance as a child to travel the United States and world with his father, mother, and two sisters.

Mike Simonsen – 2012 Leslie Peltier Award

Mike Simonsen receives 2012 Peltier Award


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.


John E. Bortle – 2013 Leslie Peltier Award

John E. Bortle

The Astronomical League held its annual meeting, ALCon 2013, Summer Skies, Southern
Hospitality, in Atlanta, Georgia, July 24 – July 27, 2013.

The annual awards banquet was held the evening of July 27, 2013.  This year’s recipient of the Leslie C. Peltier Award is John E. Bortle.

Jim Fox – 2014 Leslie Peltier Award

Having been “bitten by the bug” as a young boy in the 1950s, Jim began his amateur astronomy “career” as a member of a “Junior Moon-Watch Team,” eagerly awaiting the launch of the first artificial Earth satellites during the International Geophysical Year toward the end of that decade. But, unlike the young man in Walt Whitman’s famous poem, he never tired of the “Learn’d Astronomer” and quickly grew tired of simply gazing up at the beauty of the stars. He wanted to “Do something to contribute.”         read More

Leslie C. Peltier Award Committee

Roger S. Kolman, Ph.D., Chairman
Barry Beaman, Member
Russ Maxwell, Member

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