Stephen James O’Meara

Stephen James O'Meara (with Pele)
Steve O'Meara on the rim of Kilauea Crater in Hawaii with Pele and his Tele Vue Genesis refractor.
Photo by Donna O'Meara.
A superb writer, photographer, and naturalist, Steve O'Meara is also known worldwide for his legendary eyesight and observing prowess. Among his many astronomical achievements: he was the first to sight Halley's Comet visually on its 1985 return; he noticed the dark "spokes" in Saturn's B ring before the Voyager 1 spacecraft imaged them; and he was the first person to correctly determine the rotation period of the distant planet Uranus. His remarkable skills (including seeing 8th-magnitude stars with his unaided eyes) continually reset the standard of quality for other observers.

Steve earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Northeastern University and has spent most of his career on the staff of Sky & Telescope, where he is now a contributing editor. Among his many accolades, the Texas Star Party (TSP) gave him its highest honor, the Lone Stargazer Award, "for setting the standard of excellence in visual observing." The TSP also gave him its Omega Centauri Award for "advancing astronomy through observation, writing, and promotion, and for sharing his love of the sky," and the International Astronomical Union named asteroid 3637 O'Meara in his honor.

When not looking skyward from his home on the Big Island of Hawaii, Steve enjoys traveling the world with his wife, Donna, to document volcanic eruptions. National Geographic Explorer produced a movie ("Volcano Hunters") about the O'Mearas' research, and Sky Publishing Corp. published their book Volcanoes: Passion and Fury in 1994.

Steve is author, coauthor, or editor of many astronomy books, including Deep-Sky Companions: The Messier Objects, Deep-Sky Companions: The Caldwell Objects, Deep-Sky Wonders, and Mars: The Lure of the Red Planet (with William Sheehan)