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Astronomy Beat

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Astronomy Beat is a monthly, on-line column written by “insiders” from the worlds of astronomy research and outreach.

Current issue: August 30, 2016

The Bruce Medalists: Makers of Modern Astronomy

Joseph S. Tenn (Sonoma State University)

The ASP’s Catherine Wolfe Bruce Medal, first given in 1898, is the Society’s highest honor and one of the most coveted international awards in astron­omy. On October 22, 2016 we will award the Bruce Medal to Dr. Andrew Fabian for his groundbreaking work in high-energy astrophysics and defining the entire field of extragalactic X-ray astrophysics. Historian and former Chair of the ASP’s History Committee, Joseph Tenn, has devoted much of his life to creating a separate website for the Bruce Medal detailing the accomplishments of every recipient of the award since its inception. This month, we reprint his very informative article that describes the creation of Tenn’s informative website and the genesis of the Catherine Wolfe Bruce Medal itself.


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In 2014, the Astronomical Society of the Pacific celebrates its 125th anniversary year of communicating and educating about the universe around us. But back in 1889, the universe seemed a very different place–simpler, but perhaps no less mysterious. Jim Manning, departing executive director, takes a long moment to look the state of astronomy and the cosmos at the time of the Society’s founding, and how things have changed since then in the February 2014 issue of Astronomy Beat. Join him for a peek at the universe “125 years ago today.”

With our compliments, please enjoy the June 2013 issue of Astronomy Beat featuring Nancy Roman, an early pioneer in paving the way for female scientists at NASA. Among other accomplishments, and because of her tireless efforts in support of a space-based observatory, Nancy Roman is often considered the “mother” of the Hubble Space Telescope.

Download the following sample Astronomy Beat columns FREE to see what the series is like.

The Discovery of Pluto
by Clyde Tombaugh

The Discovery of the First Gravitational Lenses
by Ray Weymann

Origins of the Drake Equation
by Frank Drake and Dava Sobel

Stargazing Centaurs: The Astronomy of Harry Potter
by Kristine Larsen

And the Sun Stood Still: Dramatizing Copernicus
by Dava Sobel

How to Catch a Moon or Two of Pluto
by Mark R. Showalter