This week the American Astronomical Society's Division for Planetary Sciences (DPS) presented the 2005 Harold Masursky Award for outstanding service to planetary science and exploration to J. Kelly Beatty, executive editor of Sky & Telescope magazine and editor of Night Sky magazine. Outgoing DPS chairman William McKinnon (Washington University, St. Louis) presented the award to Beatty on Wednesday at the Division's annual meeting, held this year in Cambridge, England.
At the presentation, McKinnon read from an official DPS citation praising Beatty for his more than three decades of meritorious work in planetary science.
"For more than 30 years, Beatty has been a leading communicator and interpreter of planetary science through his writing, editing, broadcasting, and public speaking. He has been equally adept at explaining the results of professional research and enabling his audience to vicariously experience the excitement of doing that research. It is a testament to his deep understanding of planetary science, and his accuracy and integrity in reporting it, that numerous researchers have invited him to participate in their observing campaigns and trusted him to report on them from 'the inside.' The New Solar System, a book that Beatty conceived and edited and that has been translated into several languages over the past two decades, is one of the most comprehensive and accessible overviews of planetary science for the public.
"Beatty has also played a key role in the training and mentoring of other journalists through his internship program at Sky & Telescope and his exemplary leadership of the press at meetings. Often he will ask a key question that focuses the attention of the rest of the press, and indeed of many researchers, on the true significance of a new scientific result. Beatty serves as a vital link between planetary scientists and the public that supports them."
Beatty joined the staff of Sky & Telescope in 1974. Asteroid 2925 Beatty was named on the occasion of his marriage in 1983.