Albert F. A. L. Jones

Albert Francis Arthur Lofley Jones OBE (9 August 1920 – 11 September 2013) was a New Zealand amateur astronomer, and a prolific variable star and comet observer, a member of the Variable Star Section and the Comet Section of the Royal Astronomical Society of New Zealand.[1][2]


Albert Jones was born in Christchurch, New Zealand, in 1920 and was educated at Timaru Boys' High School. At the beginning of the Second World War he joined the army, but in 1942 he was classified unfit for overseas service.[1] He worked as a miller in a rolled oats mill, as a grocery shop owner and in a car assembly factory.[3] He died in Nelson, New Zealand, in 2013.[4][5]



In 1963 he became the sixth astronomer in history to make 100,000 observations of variable stars and by 2004 he became the first to make more than 500,000 observations.[2] His visual brightness estimates were very precise: most observers can distinguish variations of one tenth of a magnitude, but Jones' measurements were reported to show a standard deviation of about one twentieth of a magnitude.[1] In 1946 he discovered the comet C/1946 P1 (Jones) and in 2000 he co-discovered, together with Japanese astronomer Syogo Utsunomiya the comet C/2000 W1 (Utsunomiya-Jones), becoming the oldest comet discoverer. In 1987 he co-discovered the supernova SN 1987A in the Large Magellanic Cloud, which was the brightest naked-eye supernova explosion since 1604.[3]


His work has been widely acknowledged. In 1968 he received the Merlin Silver Medal and Prize of the British Astronomical Association for his work in establishing accurate magnitudes of comets.[1] In the 1987 Queen's Birthday Honours, he was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) for services to astronomy.[6] The following year, asteroid 3152 Jones was named after him.[3] He won the Amateur Achievement Award of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific for his variable star and comet observations in 1998.[7] The comet C/2000 W1 discovery brought him the Edgar Wilson Award, administered by the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, in 2001.[8] In 2004 he received an honorary Doctorate of Science from the Victoria University of Wellington.[3]


  1. ^ a b c d Austin, Rodney R. D. (December 1994). "Albert Jones – The Quiet Achiever" (PDF). Southern Stars. 36 (1&2): 36–42. Bibcode:1994SouSt..36...36A. Archived (PDF) from the original on 27 September 2007. Retrieved 14 August 2007.
  2. ^ a b Toone, John (March 2005). "Frank Bateson and the RASNZ Meeting at Tauranga in 2004" (PDF). Variable Star Section Circular (123): 6–11. Archived (PDF) from the original on 28 September 2007. Retrieved 14 August 2007.
  3. ^ a b c d "Albert Jones to Receive Honorary Doctorate". American Association of Variable Star Observers. Archived from the original on 5 April 2007. Retrieved 14 August 2007.
  4. ^ "Albert Jones: obituary". The Press. Retrieved 13 September 2013.
  5. ^ Moore, Bill. "City award-winning astronomer dies". Nelson Mail. Retrieved 14 September 2013.
  6. ^ 4th Supplement, London Gazette, No. 50950, 12 June 1987. Retrieved 17 January 2013.
  7. ^ "Past Amateur Achievement Winners". Astronomical Society of the Pacific. Archived from the original on 13 July 2007. Retrieved 14 August 2007.
  8. ^ "The Edgar Wilson Award Recipients". Retrieved 8 January 2011.

External links

Preceded by
Edward A. Halbach
Amateur Achievement Award of Astronomical Society of the Pacific
Succeeded by
Warren Offutt
Albert Jones

Albert Jones may refer to:

Albert Arthur Jones, British Conservative MP

Albert Beckford Jones (born 1958), American businessman

Albert Edward Jones (1878–1954), English silversmith and designer

Albert F. A. L. Jones (1920–2013), New Zealand astronomer

Albert F. Jones, member of the California Senate, 1887–1890

Albert Gamaliel Jones (1812–1880s), American architect

Albert Jones (footballer, born 1883) (1883–1963), Nottingham Forest F.C. and Wales international footballer

Albert M. Jones (1890–1967), American major general during World War II

Cowboy Jones (1874–1958), Albert Edward "Cowboy" Jones, baseball pitcher

Robert Albert Jones (1864–?), Welsh international footballer

Amateur Achievement Award of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific

The Amateur Achievement Award is one of nine annual astronomical awards managed by the Astronomical Society of the Pacific. It recognizes "significant contributions to astronomy or amateur astronomy by those not employed in the field of astronomy in a professional capacity." The contributions can be done in the fields of both observational astronomy or astronomical technologies. The award has been given to amateur astronomers from various countries since 1979 and has become one of the most geographically diverse astronomical awards.Amateur Achievement Award winners receive a commemorative plaque, which is presented at the Annual Meeting Awards Banquet. The monetary value of the award is US$500. Candidates can be nominated by any member of the astronomical community (with the exception of the nominees themselves and their families) and the nominations should be accompanied by other letters of support. All the nominations have to be delivered to the Astronomical Society of the Pacific by December 15 of the nominating year and remain valid for three years. The winners are selected by the Awards Committee appointed by the Board of Directors. The committee have the right not to award any of the nominees if they do not consider their achievements exceptional enough, which has already happened several times.

American Association of Variable Star Observers

Since its founding in 1911, the American Association of Variable Star Observers (AAVSO) has coordinated, collected, evaluated, analyzed, published, and archived variable star observations made largely by amateur astronomers and makes the records available to professional astronomers, researchers, and educators. These records establish light curves depicting the variation in brightness of a star over time.

Since professional astronomers do not have the time or the resources to monitor every variable star, astronomy is one of the few sciences where amateurs can make genuine contributions to scientific research. During 2011, the 100th year of the AAVSO's existence, the 20-millionth variable star observation was received into the database. The AAVSO International Database currently stores over 35 million observations. The organization receives nearly 1,000,000 observations annually from around 2,000 professional and amateur observers and is quoted regularly in scientific journals.The AAVSO is also very active in education and public outreach. They routinely hold training workshops for citizen science and publish papers with amateurs as coauthors. In the 1990s, the AAVSO developed the Hands-On Astrophysics curriculum, now known as Variable Star Astronomy (with support from the National Science Foundation (NSF)). In 2009, the AAVSO was awarded a three-year $800,000 grant from the NSF to run Citizen Sky, a pro-am collaboration project examining the 2009-2011 eclipse of the star epsilon Aurigae.The current director of the AAVSO is Styliani ("Stella") Kafka, who took over from Arne Henden in February 2015. The previous director of the AAVSO for many decades was Janet Mattei, who died in March 2004 of leukemia.The AAVSO headquarters were originally located at the residence of its founder William T. Olcott in Norwich, Connecticut. After AAVSO's incorporation in 1918 it de facto moved to Harvard College Observatory, which later officially provided an office as the AAVSO headquarters (1931–1953). After then it moved around Cambridge before purchasing their first building in 1985 - The Clinton B. Ford Astronomical Data and Research Center. In 2007, the AAVSO purchased and moved into the recently vacated premises of Sky & Telescope magazine.Minor Planet (8900) AAVSO is named for the organization.

C/2000 W1

C/2000 W1 (Utsunomiya-Jones) is a long-period comet discovered on November 18, 2000, by Syogo Utsunomiya and Albert F. A. L. Jones.The comet has an observation arc of 58 days allowing a reasonable estimate of the orbit. But the near-parabolic trajectory with an osculating perihelion eccentricity of 0.9999996 generates an extreme unperturbed aphelion distance of 2,034,048 AU (32 light-years). The orbit of a long-period comet is properly obtained when the osculating orbit is computed at an epoch after leaving the planetary region and is calculated with respect to the center of mass of the solar system. Using JPL Horizons, the barycentric orbital elements for epoch 2020-Jan-01 generate a semi-major axis of 832 AU, an aphelion distance of 1660 AU, and a period of approximately 24,000 years.C/2000 W1 disappeared in February 2001.

Edgar Wilson Award

The Edgar Wilson Award is an annual international award established in 1998 consisting of a monetary award and a plaque allocated annually to amateur comet discoverers. It is administered by the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory (SAO) through the IAU's Central Bureau for Astronomical Telegrams (CBAT).

Edward A. Halbach

Edward A. Halbach (April 5, 1909 – March 20, 2011) was an American amateur astronomer and prolific variable star observer.He developed his interest in astronomy in 1933. One year later he became a member of the American Association of Variable Star Observers (AAVSO). He was also one of the first members of the Milwaukee Astronomical Society and directed its observatory for 35 years. In 1947 he was elected the first official president of the Astronomical League. Besides his numerous variable star observations he was interested also in solar astronomy and occultations.

Jackson-Gwilt Medal

The Jackson-Gwilt Medal is an award that has been issued by the Royal Astronomical Society (RAS) since 1897. The original criteria were for the invention, improvement, or development of astronomical instrumentation or techniques; for achievement in observational astronomy; or for achievement in research into the history of astronomy. From 2017 onwards, the history of astronomy category has been removed and transferred to a new award, the Agnes Mary Clerke Medal.The frequency of the medal has varied over time. Initially it was irregular, with gaps of between three and five years between awards. From 1968 onwards it was awarded regularly every three years; from 2004 every two years; and since 2008 it has been awarded every year.

The award is named after Hannah Jackson née Gwilt. She was a niece of Joseph Gwilt (an architect and Fellow of the RAS) and daughter of George Gwilt (another Fellow); Hannah donated the original funds for the medal. It is the second oldest award issued by the RAS, after the Gold Medal.

List of people with surname Jones

Jones is a surname common in the English-speaking world. This list provides links to biographies of people who share this common surname.

Royal Astronomical Society of New Zealand

The Royal Astronomical Society of New Zealand (RASNZ) is the New Zealand national astronomical society. It is an association of professional and amateur astronomers with the prime objective to the promotion and extension of knowledge of astronomy and related branches of science.

Warren B. Offutt

Warren B. Offutt (born 1928) is an American amateur astronomer and amateur radio operator.Offutt is credited by the Minor Planet Center with the discovery of 17 asteroids and has notably collaborated with professional astronomers in observing Kuiper belt objects (KBOs). In 1999 he won the Amateur Achievement Award of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific.Offutt and his wife, Beverly (since deceased), moved from Illinois to New Mexico when he retired from engineering, specializing in precision astrometry of faint objects in the Solar System. He operates the W & B Observatory (709) in the U.S. village of Cloudcroft, New Mexico, in the Sacramento Mountains, at an altitude of 2500 m (8300 ft).In 1997, Offutt helped with three more major discoveries, among them confirmation of a then-newly discovered moon of Uranus, Sycorax.On 11 February 1998, the outer main-belt asteroid 7639 Offutt was named after him, just before his 70th birthday (M.P.C. 31297).

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