S. N. Johnson-Roehr

S. N. “JR” Johnson-Roehr has served as Sky & Telescope’s Observing Editor since September 2014. Her favored scopes are her 130-mm and her 10-inch reflectors, but since moving to Massachusetts, she's been doing a great deal of binocular observing as well.

JR at Kirkwood Observatory

Courtesy Kevin O. Mooney

JR began systematically sky watching the summer she turned twelve, when her family moved to a farm in north central Washington state. Her parents helped her buy her first telescope when she was fourteen (her mother worked in the apple orchard with her, her father matched her paychecks). Twin interests in astronomy and architecture eventually led her to a graduate program at University of Illinois, where she completed a doctoral dissertation on the astronomical observatories built by the Indian Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II in the eighteenth century.

After finishing her degree, JR held a Mellon Postdoctoral Fellowship at Rutgers University and an ACLS New Faculty Fellowship at University of Virginia, where she also served as Field Editor in South Asian Studies for Dissertation Reviews. She comments occasionally on the history of astronomy and architecture at her website, Observatories and Instruments, and tweets regularly @DocJuniorST. Look for her chapter on Sawai Jai Singh’s observatories in the Handbook of Archaeoastronomy and Ethnoastronomy (Springer, 2015).

When JR isn’t in the office, she can be found somewhere outdoors — on the trail, on the lake, or in a tent.