The American Astronomical Society (AAS), one of the world's largest and most prestigious associations of professional astronomers, is now accepting nominations for the second annual Chambliss Amateur Achievement Award.Named for Carlson R. Chambliss (Kutztown University, Pennsylvania), who donated the funds to support it, the prize consists of a ½-pound silver medal and $1,000 cash. It will be given to a North American amateur for an achievement that contributes to the advancement of the science of astronomy. The first such award, given last year, went to Colorado stargazer Brian D. Warner for his many contributions to the photometric study of asteroids.
Equipped with computerized telescopes, ultrasensitive CCD cameras, powerful software, and plenty of time and energy to devote to their hobby, more and more amateur astronomers are making significant contributions to research. Among their many productive activities, backyard observers measure asteroid rotation rates, monitor the brightenings and fadings of variable stars, track exoplanets crossing their host stars, and record the visible-light counterparts of gamma-ray bursts in distant galaxies. Recognizing that amateurs and pros have much to offer each other, the AAS established its Working Group on Professional-Amateur Collaboration (WGPAC) in 1999 and made it permanent in 2003. Members of the WGPAC help choose recipients of the Chambliss Amateur Achievement Award.
Nominations are being accepted until October 1, 2007, via the AAS website, where you can also find detailed rules for the award. Only AAS members may submit nominations, so if you know of a prospective nominee (or consider yourself one!), you'll need to find a society member at a nearby university or through an affiliated organization like the Astronomical League, the Astronomical Society of the Pacific (ASP), the American Association of Variable Star Observers (AAVSO), the Association of Lunar and Planetary Observers (ALPO), or the Society for Astronomical Sciences (SAS).