Awards for 2008
President’s Award for Service to the Centre
Orla Aaquist

2008_service_to_centreI started my term as president with a mutiny so it only seems fitting that I end it with a mutiny. For this award, the Award Committee had selected a potential candidate. I had someone else in mind. So I went behind the back of my own committee and chose the recipient of this award. The person I chose rather reluctantly joined Council several years ago. Despite his reluctance, he jumped into the duties rather than just slacking off until the term ended. He also signed up for several committees (including Black Nugget Lake Observatory, By-Laws, Web Site, and International Year of Astronomy committees) and even as chair for some and took on additional portfolio duties when there were obvious gaps in crucial spots. He has put much time and effort into making sure these committees and portfolios achieved their objectives. And despite the many frustrations he encountered in the process, he always seems to have a quip from his deadpan sense of humour at the ready.

So with a hearty har har, the President’s Award for Service to the Centre goes to Orla Aaquist.

Awards for 2008
Observer of the Year Award
Jnani Cevvel

2008_observer_of_the_yearThis year’s Observer of the Year is what can only be described as “dedicated”. He is a regular fixture at Blackfoot, working on his many observing projects. I had the honour of presenting him the Finest NGC Certificate in 2007, and in the past year he has completed 4 other certificates and is currently working on 4 others. The clincher for me, however, in considering him for this award was this e-mail that he posted to the astro list on December 21, 2008 (while most of us were either staying snug in our homes or preparing for Christmas:

“I got to Blkft. last night (Sat.) at 6pm. Humidity 35%, Temp -28C, no wind. Set up the tripod and 15×70 bino’s. Seeing 4/5 good. Transparency 3/5 average. Logged 8 Messier Bino objects. M33 was impressive. I was not successful with M77. Transparency went down hill and by 10pm was below average. Humidity did not change but the temp was at -30C. Left at 10:30pm.”

With this kind of dedication, there should be no doubt that Jnani Cevvel deserves the Observer of the Year award.

Awards for 2008
Angus Smith Award for Excellence in Telescope Making and Design
Barry Arnold

This year several of the awards are going to people whose contribution may have been overlooked in previous year’s awards. This award is one of them. The recipient of this award has received this award in the past for a telescope he designed and constructed in the mid-90’s. The Awards Committee felt, however, that his contribution to this field greatly exceeds the construction of a single telescope. He has helped numerous members design, build, repair and restore telescopes over the years and his expertise in the field of optical design and manufacture has put exceptional mirrors in many of our member’s scopes.

Since so many member (including I suspect many other previous recipients of this award) have benefitted from his advice and may have one of his mirrors built into their telescopes it seems fitting to award this year’s Angus Smith Award For Excellence in Telescope Design and Construction to Barry Arnold.

Awards for 2008
Bryce Heartwell Memorial Award for Excellence in Astroimaging
Luca Vanzella

2008_astro_imager With the wealth of wonderful astrophotographers in the Edmonton Centre it is perhaps not surprising that the work of some of our members who do not put themselves forward might be missed. This member has shown a few of his photos in our meetings, but usually in tandem with other photographers so his personal achievement is underplayed. He specializes in lunar photography and solar events (eclipses and transits) as well as planetary conjunctions and atmospheric phenomena. Most of his photographs are not taken through a telescope and are wonderful examples of what can be done with just a camera and tripod (and in some cases some stitching software).

So it is my pleasure to award the Bryce Heartwell Memorial Award for Astrophotographer of the Year to Luca Vanzella.

Awards for 2008
George Moores Memorial Award for
Excellence in Public Education
Larry Wood

2008_public_educationThis is another award where the efforts of a particular member have been overlooked. This member has been a fixture of our sidewalk astronomy efforts for many years. Except when scheduled to work, he always signs up for Astronomy Day and other sidewalk astronomy events. He has even been known to take the initiative of setting up his telescope on the Promenade on nice evenings to share the skies with passers-by. He is always willing to let others take a peek through his eyepiece and to explain what they are seeing. In all the years he has been doing this, he’s certainly provided many Galileo Moments to members of the public.

As it is now the International Year of Astronomy with one of the key initiatives to encourage more Galileo Moments it seems fitting to present the George Moores Award for Excellence in Public Education to Larry Wood.

Awards for 2008
Franklin Loehde Award for Project of the Year
Web Page Committee

2008_project_of_the_year_1 Of all the projects underway in the past year, some were only in the early planning stages and others were either complete or have already been recognized by this award. There was one where a significant effort was put in by a group of people over the past couple of years with the results of this effort being presented to the membership early last year. In this case the project was one of re-design and re-building and I’ve heard many comments complimenting the results.

2008_project_of_the_year_2In recognition of the efforts put in to create the new design and organization of our web page I’d like to present the Franklin Loehde Award for Project of the Year to the Web Page Committee chaired by Howard Gibbins and with (in alphabetical order) Orla Aaquist, Harris Christian, Patrick Earl, Mark MacDonald, Bruce McCurdy, and Luca Vanzella as members.