Jay Pasachoff, a photo voltaic astronomer who witnessed 74 photo voltaic eclipses over the course of his life, died at his residence in Williamstown, Massachusetts, on Sunday, Nov. 20. He was 79 years outdated.
Pasachoff was Area Memorial Professor of Astronomy and Director of the Hopkins Observatory at Williams School. He was not solely recognized for his skilled information of eclipses, but additionally for his useful climate predictions. By combing via obtainable knowledge corresponding to climate almanacs, Pasachoff had a powerful monitor report for figuring out one of the best eclipse viewing websites primarily based on how seemingly they have been to host clear skies throughout totality.
“Jay Pasachoff was a towering determine within the astronomical group. Moreover his scientific achievements, Jay was an exemplar in selling citizen science and selfless along with his time,” Michael Zeiler, a maker of eclipse maps, tells Astronomy. “What I’ll miss most about Jay is his humanity and infectious enthusiasm about sharing the splendor of complete photo voltaic eclipses.”
An early begin in astronomy
Born July 1, 1943, in Manhattan, Pasachoff’s mom was a instructor, whereas his father was a surgeon who later served within the Military Medical Corps throughout World Battle II.
Pasachoff’s curiosity in astronomy developed at a younger age. After shifting to the Bronx, Pasachoff would take journeys to the Hayden Planetarium. And as a excessive schooler, he would start tinkering with constructing telescopes.
Then, as a freshman at Harvard (at age 16), Pasachoff took an astronomy course taught by photo voltaic eclipse skilled Donald Menzel. Pasachoff witnessed his first complete photo voltaic eclipse just some weeks later, when Menzel secured entry to a airplane to let his scholar’s expertise totality from the sky.
Inside a decade, Pasachoff earned his bachelor’s, grasp’s, and Ph.D. in astronomy from Harvard. And over the subsequent 50 years, he made each effort to make sure he may view greater than 70 photo voltaic eclipses.
A half-century of eclipses
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