R. Jay GaBany

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Robert Jay GaBany
Robert Jay GaBany.jpg
Born (1954-09-17) September 17, 1954 (age 64)
Alma materMarshall University B.A.
Known forAstrophotography
AwardsChambliss Amateur Achievement Award
Scientific career
FieldsAstrophotography, Stellar streams

Robert Jay GaBany (born September 17, 1954 in Charleston, West Virginia) is an American amateur astronomer and astrophotographer who is also known for his work with an international team of astrophysicists led by Dr. David Martínez-Delgado (Max Planck Institute for Astronomy). GaBany helped pioneer the use of modest size telescopes and off the shelf CCD-cameras to produce long exposure images that revealed ancient galactic merger remnants in the form of star streams surrounding nearby galaxies that were previously undetected or suspected.


Using a half-meter telescope at the remote Black Bird Observatory, GaBany has been one of the world's leading amateur astrophotographers for the past decade. In recent years, GaBany has devoted hundreds of hours to work with a team of astronomers led by Martínez-Delgado of the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy in Germany to produce ultra-deep CCD images of galaxies far beyond the Local Group.

GaBany's images have revealed faint tidal streams and rings in the outer halos of large spiral galaxies, indicative of recent and ongoing gravitational interactions with dwarf satellite galaxies. These images are helping scientists better understand how large galaxies such as our own Milky Way are built up through the collisions and mergers of many smaller galaxies.

Observing under very dark skies, and using very sensitive cameras, long exposure times, and advanced imaging and processing techniques, GaBany has managed to capture details not seen in professional images. Papers based on GaBany's images have been published in leading scientific journals such as the Astrophysical Journal, the Astronomical Journal, and Astronomy & Astrophysics, with GaBany listed as a coauthor.[1]

Scientific collaborations[edit]

GaBany's scientific collaboration with professional astronomers has resulted in his participation as co-author of 16 peer-reviewed papers including the discovery of stellar rings around NGC 4013,[2] NGC 5907[3] and NGC 5055 (M63);[4] the discovery of extended spiral arms around NGC 4736 (M94);[5][6] the identification of Arps Loop as Milky Way cirrus;[7] a summary of stellar stream discoveries around nearby galaxies;[8] techniques that enable modest instruments to be used for science;[9] a study of the Perseus galaxy cluster core in xrays;[10] the formation of galactic shells from stars and dark matter clumps in a CDM Universe;[11] an investigation into the first discovered stellar stream associated with a dwarf galaxy (NGC 4449).;[12] an investigation of the stream surrounding NGC 4651, the Umbrella Galaxy, that also identified the progenitor's core;[13] the discovery of a new star forming region where a stellar stream intersects with the disk of NGC 5387;[14] the discovery of a stellar tidal stream around NGC 4631, the whale galaxy;[15] the discovery of 11 satellite systems around nearby galaxies with modest telescopes[16] and the discovery of a stellar stream around NGC 253.[17]

Honours and awards[edit]

GaBany was awarded the 2010 American Astronomical Society (AAS) Chambliss Amateur Achievement Award for his work with Dr. David Martínez-Delgado (MPIA) into detection of stellar streams around nearby galaxies. Recognizing the contribution of non-professionals to the advancement of astronomical research, the AAS gave the Chambliss Amateur Achievement Award to R. Jay GaBany of San Jose, California, "who has single-handedly, through his dedicated and careful work, spawned a new research direction in the exploration of galaxy evolution via low-surface-brightness imaging of galaxy halo substructure." GaBany has devoted hundreds of hours working with professional astronomers to make deep images that reveal faint tidal streams and rings in the outer halos of galaxies, indicative of recent and ongoing galaxy interactions with dwarf satellites, supporting studies of galaxy formation.[18] He was also inducted into the SBIG Hall of Fame for astrophotography.

During the fall of 2012, the Editors of Time (magazine) included GaBany with their compilation of The 25 Most Influential People in Space in the New Space Discoveries[19] Special Edition. During the summer of 2013, GaBany was again cited as one of The 25 Most Influential People in Space by authors Jeffrey Kluger and Michael D. Lemonick in their book titled New Frontiers of Space- From Mars to the Edge of the Universe.[20] Shortly afterward, the editors of Parade (magazine) included GaBany in their list of the 10 Most Influential People in Space.

NASA collaboration[edit]

NASA selected GaBany's image of NGC 3521, the Bubble galaxy, as the uncredited back drop for the official crew portrait of Expedition 30 to the International Space Station.

NGC 3521- the Bubble galaxy in Leo
International Space Station Expedition 30 crew portrait


GaBany's images have appeared in many of the world's leading astronomical magazines including Astronomi (Norway), AstronomíA (Spain), Astronomie (France), Astronomy (USA), AstronomyNow (UK), Beautiful Universe (USA), CIEL et Espace (France), Ciencia Hoy (Argentina), Coelum Astronomia (Italy), Hoshi Navi (Japan), Le Estelle (Italy), Nojum (Iran), Populär Astronomi (Sweden), Practical Astronomer (UK), SkyNews (Canada), Sky & Telescope (USA), Spectacular Universe (USA) and Sterne Und Weltraum (Germany). His images have also appeared in the journal Nature, the journal Science and on the cover of the journal Astronomy and Astrophysics. Several articles discussing astro-photographic techniques and his scientific collaborations have also appeared in print.

Many of his images have also been featured on the Astronomy Picture of the Day (APOD) web site.


In addition to over 50 published articles in numerous popular astronomical magazines and on-line blogs, GaBany published his first book titled Breakthrough-100 Astronomical Images that Changed the World[21] with co-author Robert Gendler in the fall of 2015. The book explores the history of astrophotography through the lens of 100 ground breaking images that altered humanity’s perception of its place in the universe.

Professional career[edit]

In addition to his private pursuit of astronomy and astro-photography, GaBany has consulted businesses in the travel sector and managed corporate travel services provided by the American Automobile Association and Carlson Wagonlit Travel for companies throughout the east, northeast, mid-west and southern United States. Since the mid-1990s, he has served as an eCommerce software product manager in California's Silicon Valley and has been the recipient of five patent awards: 8,117,073, 7,925,540, 7,711,586, 7,660,743 and 7,493,261. GaBany currently works as a product manager for Wells Fargo in San Francisco, California.


  1. ^ Naeye, Robert (January 18, 2011). "California Astrophotographer Wins American Astronomical Society (AAS) Chambliss Amateur Achievement Award". Sky & Telescope.
  2. ^ Martínez-Delgado, David; Peñarrubia, Jorge; GaBany, R. Jay; Trujillo, Ignacio; Majewski, Steven R; Pohlen, Michael (2009). "Discovery of a Giant Stellar Tidal Stream Around the Disk Galaxy NGC4013". Astrophysical Journal. 692 (2): 955–963. arXiv:0801.4657. Bibcode:2009ApJ...692..955M. doi:10.1088/0004-637X/692/2/955. Retrieved February 23, 2009.
  3. ^ Martínez-Delgado, David; Pohlen, Michael; GaBany, R. Jay; Majewski, Steven R; Peñarrubia, Jorge; Palma, Chris (2008). "The ghost of a dwarf galaxy: fossils of the hierarchical formation of the nearby spiral galaxy NGC5907". Astrophysical Journal. 689 (1): 184–193. arXiv:0805.1137. Bibcode:2008ApJ...689..184M. doi:10.1086/592555. Retrieved August 12, 2008.
  4. ^ Chonis, Taylor; Martínez-Delgado, David; GaBany, R. Jay; Majewski, Steven R; Hills, Gary; Gralak, Ray; Trujillo, Ignacio (2011). "A Petal of the Sunflower: Photometry of the Stellar Tidal Stream in the Halo of Messier 63 (NGC 5055)". Astronomical Journal. 142 (5): 166. arXiv:1109.0019. Bibcode:2011AJ....142..166C. doi:10.1088/0004-6256/142/5/166. Retrieved 17 October 2011.
  5. ^ Trujillo, Ignacio; Martinez-Valpuesta, Inma; Martínez-Delgado, David; Peñarrubia, Jorge; GaBany, R Jay; Pohlen, Michael (2009). "Unveiling the Nature of M94's Outer Region: a Panchromatic Perspective". Astrophysical Journal. 704 (1): 618. arXiv:0907.4884. Bibcode:2009ApJ...704..618T. doi:10.1088/0004-637X/704/1/618. Retrieved September 24, 2009.
  6. ^ Chonis, Taylor; Martínez-Delgado, David; GaBany, R. Jay; Majewski, Steven R.; Hill, Gary J.; Trujillo, Ignacio (2011). "Photometry of the Stellar Tidal Stream in the Halo of Messier 63". Proceedings of the Frank N. Bash Symposium 2011, Held October 9–11, 2011, Austin, Texas. arXiv:1207.2115. Bibcode:2012arXiv1207.2115C.
  7. ^ Sollima, Antonio; Gil de Paz, A; Martínez-Delgado, David; GaBany, R Jay; Gallego-Laborda, J J; Hallas, Tony (2010). "A Multi-wavelength analysis of M81(NGC3031): insight on the nature of Arp's loop". Astronomy & Astrophysics. 516: A83. arXiv:1004.1610. Bibcode:2010A&A...516A..83S. doi:10.1051/0004-6361/201014085. Retrieved July 20, 2010.
  8. ^ Martínez-Delgado, David; GaBany, R. Jay; Crawford, Ken; Zibetti, Stefano; Majewski, Steven R; Rix, Hans-Walter; Fliri, Jürgen; Carballo-Bello, Julio A.; Bardalez-Gagliuffi, Daniella C; Peñarrubia, Jorge; Chonis, Taylor S; Madore, Barry; Trujillo, Ignacio; Schirmer, Mischa; McDavid, David A (2010). "Stellar Tidal Streams in Spiral Galaxies of the Local Volume: A Pilot Survey with Modest Aperture Telescopes". Astronomical Journal. 140 (4): 962. arXiv:1003.4860. Bibcode:2010AJ....140..962M. doi:10.1088/0004-6256/140/4/962. Retrieved September 9, 2010.
  9. ^ GaBany, R. Jay; Martínez-Delgado, David (2011). "Good Science with Modest Instruments". The Society for Astronomical Sciences 30th Annual Symposium on Telescope Science. SAO/NASA ADS Astronomy Abstract Service. 30: 1. Bibcode:2011SASS...30....1G.
  10. ^ Fabian, Andrew; Sanders, J S; Allen, S W; Canning, R E A; Churazov, E; Crawford, C S; Forman, W; GaBany, R Jay; Hlavacek-Larrondo, J; Johnstone, R M; Russell, H R; Reynolds, C S; Salome, P; Taylor, G B; Young, A J (2011). "A wide Chandra view of the core of the Perseus cluster". Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. Oxford Press. 418 (4): 2154–2164. arXiv:1105.5025. Bibcode:2011MNRAS.418.2154F. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2966.2011.19402.x. Retrieved July 7, 2011.
  11. ^ Cooper, Andrew; Martínez-Delgado, David; Helly, John; Frenk, Carlos; Cole, Shaun; Crawford, Ken; Zibetti, Stefano; GaBany, R Jay; Carballo-Bello, Julio (2011). "The formation of shell galaxies similar to NGC 7600 in the cold dark matter cosmogony". Astrophysical Journal Letters. 743 (1): L21. arXiv:1111.2864. Bibcode:2011ApJ...743L..21C. doi:10.1088/2041-8205/743/1/L21. Retrieved November 21, 2011.
  12. ^ Martínez-Delgado, David; Romanowsky, Aaron; GaBany, R. Jay; Annibali, Francesca; Arnold, Jacob; Fliri, Juergen; Zibetti, Stefano; van der Marel, Roeland; Rix, Hans-Walter; Chonis, Taylor; Carballo-Bello, Julio; Aloisi, Alessandra; Maccio, Andrea; Gallego-Laborda, J; Brodie, Jean; Merrifield, Michael (2011). "Dwarfs Gobbling Dwarfs: A Stellar Tidal Stream Around NGC 4449 and Hierarchical Galaxy Formation on Small Scales". Astrophysical Journal Letters. 748 (2): L24. arXiv:1112.2154. Bibcode:2012ApJ...748L..24M. doi:10.1088/2041-8205/748/2/L24. Retrieved December 9, 2011.
  13. ^ Foster, Caroline; Lux, Hanni; Romanowsky, Aaron; Martínez-Delgado, David; Zibetti, Stefano; Arnold, Jacob A.; Brodie, Jean; Ciardullo, Robin; GaBany, R. Jay; Merrifield, Michael R.; Singh, Navej; Strader, Jay (2014). "Kinematics and simulations of the stellar stream in the halo of the Umbrella Galaxy". Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. Oxford Journals. 442 (4): 3544–3564. arXiv:1406.5511. Bibcode:2014MNRAS.442.3544F. doi:10.1093/mnras/stu1074. Retrieved July 2, 2014.
  14. ^ Beaton, Rachael L.; Martínez-Delgado, David; Majewski, Steven R.; D'Onghia, Elena; Zibetti, Stefano; GaBany, R. Jay; Blanton, Michael; Verbiscer, Anne (2014). "Cannibalization and rebirth in the NGC 5387 system. I. The stellar stream and star-forming region". Astrophysical Journal. Oxford Journals. 790 (2): 117. arXiv:1312.0585. Bibcode:2014ApJ...790..117B. doi:10.1088/0004-637X/790/2/117. Retrieved July 11, 2014.
  15. ^ Martínez-Delgado, David; D'Onghia, Elena; Chonis, Taylor S.; Beaton, Rachael L.; Teuwen, Karel; GaBany, R. Jay; Grebel, Eva K.; Morales, Gustavo (2015). "A stellar tidal stream around the whale galaxy, NGC 4631". Astrophysical Journal. Oxford Journals. 150 (4): 116. arXiv:1410.6368. Bibcode:2015AJ....150..116M. doi:10.1088/0004-6256/150/4/116.
  16. ^ Javanmardi, B; Martínez-Delgado, David; Kroupa, P.; Henkel, C.; Crawford, Ken; Teuwen, Karel; GaBany, R. Jay; Hanson, Mark; Neyer, Fabian (2016). "DGSAT: Dwarf Galaxy Survey with Amateur Telescopes I. Discovery of low surface brightness systems around nearby spiral galaxies". Astronomy & Astrophysics. 588: A89. arXiv:1511.04446. Bibcode:2016A&A...588A..89J. doi:10.1051/0004-6361/201527745.
  17. ^ Romanowsky, Aaron; Martínez-Delgado, David; Martin, Nicholas F.; Morales, Gustavo; Jennings, Zachary G.; GaBany, R. Jay; Brodie, Jean P.; Grebel, Eva K.; Schedler, Johannes; Sidonio, Michael (2015). "Satellite accretion in action: a tidally disrupting dwarf spheroidal around the nearby spiral galaxy NGC 253". Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. Oxford Journals. 457 (1): L103–L107. arXiv:1512.03815. Bibcode:2016MNRAS.457L.103R. doi:10.1093/mnrasl/slv207.
  18. ^ "Astronomers Honored for Excellence in Research, Education, Writing & More". American Astronomical Society press release. January 18, 2011.
  19. ^ "The 25 Most Influential People in Space" (PDF). New Space Discoveries (TIME Special Edition): 90. September 2012.
  20. ^ Kluger, Jeffrey; Lemonick, Michael D. (2013). New Frontiers of Space- From Mars to the Edge of the Universe. New York, New York: Time Home Entertainment, Inc. p. 100. ISBN 9781618930521. Retrieved June 15, 2013.
  21. ^ Gendler, Robert; GaBany, R. Jay. Breakthrough-100 Astronomical Images that Changed the World. North America: Springer. ISBN 978-3-319-20972-2.

External links[edit]