Monolith149 Daily

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So Long Walter H. Haas

Haas devoted his entire life to the study of the Moon and planets.

At a time when professional astronomers held little regard for amateur observers beyond their meteor and variable-star reports, Haas changed the paradigm. First, he published (in 1938, at age 21) his in-depth observations of brightness changes around major lunar craters. Then, four years later, he followed with a four-part, 76-page opus titled “Does Anything Ever Happen on the Moon?” that appeared in the Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada. These became the opening salvo in a lifelong quest “to arouse interest in a neglected branch of astronomy.”

On March 1, 1947, while still at UNM, he dispatched a self-produced 6-page newsletter titled The Strolling Astronomer. Haas already envisioned this simple missive becoming something bigger: it was subtitled “Association of Lunar and Planetary Observers” and branded with “Volume 1, Number 1.” By the second issue, a month later, the budding ALPO had grown to 41 members. Within six years, the association boasted 350 members from all around the world.

Walter H. Haas (1917–2015) by Kelly Beatty