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Past Awards


2016 There were no awards given that year.

2015 Walter Scott Houston Award - DENNIS di CICCO

Dennis di Cicco's famous award winning photograph of the Sun's analemma in the 1970s was a milestone in his astrophotography career.  A long time Stellafane devotee, he was inspired to build his own backyard observatory which he would put to good use for many decades to come.  He was recognized for his observational talents in 1997 with the Astronomical League's Leslie C. Peltier Award for his significant observations of minor planets, lunar & planetary astronomy, and general astronomy.  In 1978 he was presented the Clifford W. Holmes Award at Riverside Telescope Makers Conference Astronomy Expo for his work popularizing astronomy.

Since then he has gone on to make great contributions as a writer and Senior Editor for CCD Astronomy quarterly and most notably for Sky & Telescope Magazine from 1974 through 2014.  His generosity in sharing his knowledge in articles, equipment test reports, eclipse trips and talks with the amateur astronomy community at clubs and star parties across the country makes him a star on our earthly sphere for which we are extremely grateful.
CLICK HERE to read the wording on the award.

2014 There were no awards given that year.

2013 Walter Scott Houston Award - DR. KRIS LARSEN

Dr. Kris Larsen is maybe best known to most Stellafaners as the person who teaches the Youth Astronomy Program at the McGregor Observatory during the Stellafane Conventions.  I remember back in 1995 when Dr. Larsen first started these Astronomy Activities for Kids on Saturday afternoon with innovative crafts to teach children the constellations.  Over the years she has expanded the program and this year at Stellafane on Friday and Saturday she will be teaching four different one hour classes to children ages 5-12 at the McGregor Observatory on the Solar System, Starhopping, Phases of the Moon, How Telescopes Work and "Phun with Photons" illustrating diffraction and lighting effects.  It is very significant to me that her vision back in 1994 was to bring more children into astronomy - and now already almost 20 years have passed for some of her young students! 
Dr. Larsen is also a highly prized Astronomy Professor at Central Connecticut State University, where she teaches Cosmology, Planetary & Stellar Astronomy, Earth Science and Astrophysics and a course on Contributions by Women to Stellar and Galactic Astronomy. In addition she runs observational programs including her "Night Sky" workshops, Planetarium events, and a "Partners in Science" series for middle school students.   She is particularly known for her very creative methods of incorporating movies, science fiction & fantasy, rock music and popular culture into her educational efforts.  Her books and scholarly writings also strive to bring science into the mainstream to inspire more girls and boys to be scientists in the future. Already she is creating a new history.  Her many writing credits include the books Cosmology 101 and Stephen Hawking: A Biography.

She has also been very active in the AAVSO for many years as a council member, curriculum adviser, solar observer and frequent contributor of articles that are viewable on the AAVSO website.  She recently joined the team as an Assistant Editor for the Astronomical League's 'Reflector' magazine.
CLICK HERE to read the wording on the award.

2012 NERAL Special Service Award - BOB CARRUTHERS

Bob Carruthers of Bethany, CT is maybe best known to Stellafaners for his use of recycled materials in his Amateur Telescope Making. He has used bowling balls, iron frying pans, rubber bladders, stainless steel mixing bowls, joint compound cans and a host of other materials in his innovative telescope designs.  The Mixing Bowl telescope was particularly useful for handicapped observers, in that the telescope could be rotated down to accommodate wheelchair height, as well as for children too young to climb ladders.  Some of Bob's designs, such as the bowling ball / frypan mount and diving board focuser (a.k.a. the 'long arm focuser') were highlighted in Sky and Telescope Magazine's 10 best ideas in telescope making.
 What many do not know about Bob is the many free telescope making courses that he has taught all over Connecticut, where he has passed on his zeal for ATM and sidewalk astronomy.  Bob is a past Vice President and current Secretary of the Astronomical Society of New Haven, a long time member of the Astronomical League.
CLICK HERE to read the wording on the award.

2011 There were no awards given that year.

2010 NERAL Special Service Award - SAM STORCH

This year we learned that a very valued person to the North East Region would be moving to Florida by the end of the Summer.  So we decided that we should recognize his contribution to the North East before he leaves.  SAM STORCH, another astronomy icon often seen at Stellafane, will be receiving the NERAL SPECIAL SERVICE AWARD for his work in Astronomy Education.  With his lectures at New York City's Hayden Planetarium and the Edwin P. Hubble Planetarium in Brooklyn, Sam has guided the careers of so many astronomy students and has pointed some of them to professional careers in astronomy.   His services as as Vice-president and newsletter editor of the Astronomical Society of Long Island, and as the Secretary of the Middle Atlantic Planetarium Society have been substantial.  So to Professor Storch, we say we will miss you very much here in the North East, but your service to astronomy in our region will not be forgotten.
CLICK HERE to read the wording on the award.

2010 Walter Scott Houston Award - JOHN BORTLE

John Bortle of Stormville, NY is probably best known for the "Bortle Dark Sky Scale" to categorize light pollution.  He has been to about 40 Stellafane Conventions, and has been extremely active in the AAVSO not only with his observations, but also as the editor of their newsletter for many years.  He is also known for his Comet Digest in Sky & Telescope magazine, and has contributed a great deal of data on comets to International Comet Quarterly.  As a prolific observer, author and astronomy educator and lecturer who knew Scotty Houston, we are very happy to present this award to this man who carries on Scotty's work so well.
CLICK HERE to read the wording on the plaque

2009 Walter Scott Houston Award - METEOROLOGIST JOE RAO

    Joe Rao is best known in the Greater NY Area as the Cablevision Meteorologist who brings more than the weather to the public. His great knowledge and love of astronomy are a frequent part of his broadcasts and special news packages on Solar Physics and Light Pollution. He has been an Associate and Guest Lecturer at New York's Hayden Planetarium, and has made appearances at many astronomy gatherings in the Northeast, US. He will be a speaker at the upcoming National Convention of the Astronomical League known as ALCON 2009 (www.alcon2009.org) on Saturday August 8, 2009 at Noon at Hofstra University in Hempstead, NY.  His talk is entitled "Great Comets of the Last 400 Years." 
Joe is a past president and now Lifetime Member of the Amateur Observers' Society of New York, which is the group actually hosting the ALCON 2009 Convention.  The Walter Scott Houston Award will be shown off at ALCON 2009 on Long Island, and will be 'officially' presented to Mr. Rao at the Stellafane Convention a week later in Springfield, Vermont. Besides being a great speaker, Joe also emulates Scotty Houston as a prolific writer and observer, as exemplified by his many articles, books, star parties and support for astronomy education.
We are very pleased to give this award to this professional meteorologist, who brings the zeal of the amateur astronomer to the public at large through his use of the media.
    CLICK HERE to read the wording on the plaque.

2008 Walter Scott Houston Award - MIKE MATTEI
Mike Mattei has been an active observer for many decades and a member of ALPO and AAVSO. He worked at Harvard Observatory's Agassiz Station (now Oak Ridge Obs.), and met his future wife (Dr. Janet Akyuz Mattei 1943 -2004) at AAVSO.  He became very active in optics and amateur telescope making, and later went professional, specializing in the fabrication of aspherical optics at Space Optics Research Labs, and Optical Systems and Technolgy Inc (O.S.T.I.). There he worked on optics for space exploration such as an Ultraviolet Telescope for Goddard Space Flight Center. Eventually Mike was asked to join the staff at Lincoln Labs to work on special Government 'Star Wars' projects using Laser Imaging Optical Radar Systems. He also worked at MIT's Wallace Astrophysical Observatory. He taught courses at University of Hawaii and spoke at local club events  Mike is possibly best known for his hundreds of nights teaching beginners the art and craft of mirror making at the ATMoB workhop in Westford, Massachusetts. He still works full time at Lincoln Labs, and continues to spend his nights searching for Novae for the AAVSO in his home-built observatory in Littleton, MA.

We are very pleased to give this award to this innovative, self-educated man who took the time to pass on his knowledge to so many amateurs, while he worked alongside many professionals and researchers in astronomy.
   CLICK HERE to read the wording on the plaque.

2007 Walter Scott Houston Award - DR. DAN  GREEN
    Dr. Dan Green is best known for his professional work as Director of the Central Bureau for Astronomical Telegrams, and his work with comets, he is also the principal founder of the New England Light Pollution Advisory Group (NELPAG). The awareness of the problem of light pollution in our region has been greatly influenced by the efforts of the NELPAG group. Dr. Green also helped revising the draft Massachusetts Outdoor Lighting Bill, which we hope will be passed in the not too distant future.
    CLICK HERE to read the wording on the plaque.

2006 Walter Scott Houston Award - PAUL ANTHONY VALLELI
    Paul Valleli has done so very much for the art of amateur telescope making, and has been a mentor to many opticians, amateur and professional alike. He has helped preserve our history, written articles, and been active in the Astronomical League for many years, having even served as a past NERAL Chairman. Paul is known to many as one of Stellafane's finest optical judges for many years, and he helped pass on the judging tradition that is still in use today at the Stellafane Convention.  He has been a professional optician himself for many years, and some of his handiwork has been sent into deep space...
    CLICK HERE to read the wording on the plaque.

2005 Walter Scott Houston Award - DR. MARIO MOTTA
    Mario Motta is an amateur telescope maker (32 inch), observatory builder, an observer/educator, a light pollution warrior (NELPAG), and a physician.
    He is a member and past president of the ATM's of Boston.
    CLICK HERE to read the wording on the plaque.

2004 Walter Scott Houston Award - BOB CRELIN   
    Ever hear of  The Glarebuster? Bob Crelin helped Bradford, CT get a light pollution law. He's an author, educator an avid amateur.
    CLICK HERE to read the wording on the plaque.

2003 Walter Scott Houston Award - DR. ARTHUR UPGREN
    Art Upgren helped Stellafane and many others with his famous dark sky studies. He is an author and professional astronomer. 
    CLICK HERE to read the wording on the plaque

2002 Walter Scott Houston Award - SUSAN ROSE
    Sue Rose has been president of the Amateur Observers Society of NY for many years. She is a great leader in many ways.    
    CLICK HERE to read the wording on the plaque

 2001 Walter Scott Houston Award - ANNA SUDARIC HILLIER
    Anna Hillier was Historian for many years for the ATM's of Boston.   
    CLICK HERE to read the wording on the plaque




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