2010 Leslie Peltier Award: Derald D. Nye


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.

His interest in astronomy began while he was in high school, but he didn’t grind his first mirror, an eight inch, until 1964 while working at Cape Kennedy on the Saturn 1B and Saturn V instrument units. He attended his first Astronomical League national meeting in 1966 in Miami, Florida.

During his time in Florida, his interest in occultations began with his first lunar graze.

He married Denise Blum 1973. Together they traveled to 28 solar eclipses. Denise died unexpectedly March 13, 2006, four days before they were to leave for the solar eclipse in Libya. He has now been on 35 solar eclipse trips and will leave for Tahiti on July 8th to observe his first one from an airplane.

In 1991, upon his retirement from IBM, he became the full-time proprietor of his private Kirmser-WakabayashiObservatory locatedat his home in Corona de Tucson, Arizona. Derald is a longtime member of IAPPP, the Association of Lunar and Planetary Observers (ALPO). and the International Occultation Timing Association (IOTA).

He has travelled to many interesting occultation events, including the recent rare simultaneous lunar occultation of Venus and Jupiter seen from Ascension Island.

Derald is the longtime distributor of the Minor Planet Bulletin published by ALPO and his reports have been published in several other astronomical journals. In 1996 Derald and his wife Denise were honored by having Asteroid 3685 named Derdenye for them.

Currently, his work primarily involves observing asteroid occultations.
He has spoken before many groups and is an inspiration to a new generation of observers.