Astronomical League

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The Astronomical League is an umbrella organization of amateur astronomy societies.[1] Currently their membership consists of over 240 organizations across the United States, along with a number of Members-at-Large, Patrons, and Supporting members.[2]

The mission of the Astronomical League is to promote the science of astronomy by (1) fostering astronomical education; (2) providing incentives for astronomical observation and research; and (3) assisting communication among amateur astronomical societies.[3]

The Astronomical League provides a number of observing awards to members locating and describing certain specified astronomical objects or events, and produces a periodical publication, The Reflector.


The beginning of the Astronomical League dates back to 1939 when members of eleven amateur astronomical societies met at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. Similar meetings followed in Pittsburgh, 1940, Washington D.C., 1941, and Detroit, 1946. At the last meeting, final plans laid the foundation for a permanent organization constituting a nationwide federation of societies. The next convention took place in Philadelphia, July 4, 1947, where the federation came into being with the adoption of bylaws were adopted, the election of officers, and the name "Astronomical League" wsa selected. Shortly thereafter, the organization was incorporated as a non-profit organization.[4]

In 2003, The Astronomical League achieved the long-sought goal of a permanent, National Office. Finally, we had a central location for communications, file storage and general operations, and we hired our first employee, an office manager. The National Office is located at 9201 Ward Parkway, Suite 100, Kansas City, MO 64114.[5]


Awards given by the league include the Leslie C. Peltier Award, the Jack Horkheimer Award and the National Young Astronomer's Award.

Leslie C. Peltier Award[edit]

The Leslie C. Peltier Award is an annual award given by the Astronomical League to an amateur astronomer who has contributed observations of lasting significance. It was created in 1980 and was first awarded in 1981.[6]

The award is named in honor of Leslie Peltier, an amateur astronomer from Delphos, Ohio, who was described by Harlow Shapley as "the world's greatest nonprofessional astronomer".[7]

National Young Astronomer's Award[edit]

The National Young Astronomer Award is an award given by the Astronomical League to students of high-school age who have excelled in astronomical research.[8]

Observing Awards[edit]

One of the important programs of the Astronomical League is the Observing Awards. The first such program was the Messier Observing Award, which was created in 1967. Originally called "Observing Clubs," these awards have grown, and continue to grow in number. As of 2018, there were 65 awards, many of which had more than one level.

The most popular award is the Outreach Award, which exists in three levels: Outreach, Stellar, and Master. The Outreach Award is designed to recognize the work of those astronomers who are involved in programs designed to introduce astronomy to the general public. The 1000th Outreach Award was awarded in February. 2018, to Sim Picheloup, a member of the Fort Bend Astronomy Club. At that time, the 1,000 awardees reflected 23,700 events, with 74,122 volunteer work hours with over three million participants being welcomed to look through amateur telescopes.

See also[edit]


  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^ By Laws of the Astronomical League
  4. ^ Astronotes Note 4: Astronomical League History and Organizationl
  5. ^ Astronotes Note 4: Astronomical League History and Organizationl
  6. ^ "Peltier Award". Astronomical League. Retrieved 12 August 2015. 
  7. ^ Ferris, Timothy (2002). Seeing In The Dark. Simon & Schuster. p. 158. ISBN 0-684-86579-3. 
  8. ^ "National Young Astronomer Award | The Astronomical League". Retrieved 2016-10-23. 

External links[edit]