Imelda B. Joson

Imelda Joson
Sky & Telescope photo by Chuck Baker.
Imelda Joson joined Sky Publishing in February 1995. She brings an extensive background of astronomical and business skills to the company. As Sky & Telescope's Photo Editor she not only edits the magazine's Gallery department but manages our extensive library of astronomical photographs and diagrams as well. Her responsibilities also include researching and obtaining high-resolution images for use in the magazine.

Before coming to Sky & Telescope, Imelda and her husband, Edwin L. Aguirre, were freelance science writers for many years to major daily newspapers in Manila, Philippines, and Los Angeles, California. In 1985 the couple authored a 335-page reference book on Halley's Comet, which was published by the National Research Council of the Philippines. For their book and observations of Halley, they were given the 1986 Padre Faura Astronomy Award by the Philippine Astronomical Society as well as resolutions of commendation by the California State Assembly in Sacramento.

In the early 1990s Imelda and Edwin conducted research on high-vacuum metal coating of telescope mirrors at the Jesuit-run Manila Observatory. There they aluminized mirrors ranging in size from 6 to 12 inches, including the observatory's spectroheliograph. They also designed and constructed two 17.5-inch f/4.5 Newtonian reflectors – for a private observatory in Mount Tamborine, Queensland, Australia, and for the Philippine Department of Science and Technology.

To date, they have led seven successful solar-eclipse expeditions: to the total eclipses in Java, Indonesia (June 1983); Mindanao, Philippines (March 1988); Baja California, Mexico (July 1991); Caribbean Sea (February 1998); Harput, Turkey (August 1999), and Zambia, Africa (June 2001); and to the annular eclipse in New Mexico, USA (May 1994).

They proposed and designed two astronomical stamps issued by the Philippine Postal Service – in 1986 to commemorate Halley's Comet and in 1988 to mark that year's total solar eclipse. For the latter event they also served as technical consultants to the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration's Solar Eclipse National Committee.

In 1990 they obtained from then-president Corazon C. Aquino an executive proclamation declaring the country's first National Astronomy Week. The event has been celebrated annually ever since.

In November 1995 the International Astronomical Union named asteroid 6282 Edwelda in their honor. In July 1998, on the occasion of the Philippine centennial celebration, the Department of Science and Technology gave them the first Casimiro del Rosario Astronomy Award for "exemplary achievements in the science of Astronomy."

Imelda and Edwin live in the suburbs of Boston with their pet cocker spaniel, Bernie. When the weather and their work schedule permit, the couple can be found observing with their 10-inch LX200 telescope at their backyard observatory. In 1999 Imelda joined the U.S. Naval Reserve.