Bob Naeye, Editor in Chief, Sky and Telescope Magazine
Friday, September 6, 2013, 6:30 pm in the Yurt
Amateur Exoplanet Achievements
Just 20 years ago, astronomers didn’t know for certain whether other stars like our Sun were accompanied by planets. But since 1995, a scientific revolution has revealed more than 900 confirmed “extrasolar planets” and more than 3,000 strong candidates. These worlds exhibit a much wider diversity of properties and orbits than those in our solar system, and they have taught astronomers a great deal about how planetary systems form and evolve.
Incredibly, and against all expectations, amateur astronomers have participated in this revolution. Observing with their own backyard telescopes, amateurs have played a key role in the discovery and characterization of several extrasolar planets.
Professional research astronomers have come to deeply respect the skill of these amateurs, and amateurs are listed as coauthors of numerous papers published in the leading astronomical journals. These contributions demonstrate how dedicated amateurs, using relatively inexpensive equipment, can advance human knowledge in one of the most important areas of modern scientific research, a field of research that bears directly on the question of whether or not we are alone in our galaxy. Join Sky & Telescope Editor in Chief Robert Naeye as he shares the remarkable story of how amateur astronomers are contributing to one of the most exciting fields in science.
Bob Naeye, owns five telescopes and more eyepieces than he can count. His favorite deep-sky activity is perusing the ghostly tendrils of the Veil Nebula using an OIII filter. Bob is editor in chief of Sky & Telescope magazine and SkyandTelescope.com, and a proud member of the American Astronomical Society, the Astronomical Society of the Pacific, the Amateur Telescope Makers of Boston, and the Astronomical Society of Harrisburg, which is based near his hometown of Hershey, Pennsylvania.
Besides his S&T experience, Bob worked as a researcher/reporter at Discover magazine, senior editor at Astronomy magazine, editor in chief of Mercury magazine (the membership magazine of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific), and as senior science writer in the Astrophysics Science Division at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center.
He has been honored by the Astronomical Association of Northern California with its Professional Astronomer of the Year Award, and also by the American Astronomical Society’s High Energy Astrophysics Division with its David N. Schramm Award for Science Journalism. Bob has also authored two books and contributed to two others.