Monty Leventhal in full flight talking about his solar images. Image Nick Lomb on 2 May 2005
Monty Leventhal OAM is a keen amateur astronomer whose images and drawings of the Sun have often been featured on the pages of this blog. Recently his work was recognised by the award of a Medal (OAM) in the General Division of the Order of Australia. Now he has received another award for his careful and conscientious observations of the Sun for almost two decades – the Steavensen Award from the British Astronomical Association.
The Steavensen Award is in memory of Dr William Herbert Steavensen (1894-1975) a medical practitioner who was a lifetime astronomical observer. He was such a serious observer that he was allowed to use professional instruments such as the 71-cm Grubb lens telescope at Greenwich Observatory and the world’s largest lens telescope, the 102-cm, at Yerkes Observatory near Chicago. Moreover, he served as President of the prestigious Royal Astronomical Society from 1957 to 1959.
The citation for the award states:
This award shall consist of a book whose value shall decided by the Council; its cost shall be met from the general funds of the Association.
It shall be awarded to a member who has made an outstanding contribution to observational astronomy.
Previous recipients have included in 1993 Harold Hill who is well-known for his lunar drawings published by Cambridge University Press in 1991 and in 1998 Albert Jones the prolific New Zealand observer of comets and variable stars – he made over 500 000 observations of variable stars, a feat no one had previously achieved. Monty is in good company!
A Hydrogen Alpha image of a prominence on the edge of the Sun on 3 April 2010. Image Monty Leventhal OAM
The citation to the Council of the British Astronomical Association about Monty’s observing work was prepared by myself and Michael Chapman, the President of the Sydney City Skywatchers, formerly the NSW Branch of the British Astronomical Association. Here is an extract:
For the past 16 years on every clear morning Monty has been conscientiously observing and making detailed drawings of the Sun. The drawings record the exact positions of the various activities that do occur on the Sun, such as sunspot groups, flares, filaments, surges and prominences using full aperture white light and H-alpha filters. He has also taken valuable images of the phenomena visible through the H-alpha filter.
He writes up all the data that he collects from his observations and distributes monthly reports to a wide range of relevant groups, the foremost of which is the Solar Section of the BAA. Other groups are: CV-Helios in Norway, the American Association of Variable Star Observers, the Intersol Program in Germany, the Solar Observers Society in Poland, the Royal Astronomical Society of New Zealand, the Association of Lunar and Planetary Observers in the USA (ALPO) and the Astronomical Association of Queensland in Australia. He has received certificate awards from a number of these organisations: AAVSO, ALPO, CV-Helios Network and the Solar Observers Society. Moreover, recognising his expertise, the ALPO commissioned him to write a manual on observations of the Sun in H-alpha and on solar photography; this was completed and published in 2005.
This data is exceptionally valuable as it comes from a longitude from which the Sun is less commonly observed than, say, from the UK. Also because Monty has now been making observations for a fair length of time his observations form a highly consistent and reliable data set.
Congratulations Monty! Keep observing the Sun!