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 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.