Honorary Member: Carolyn Shoemaker

Born in New Mexico, Carolyn Shoemaker was one of the world's foremost Solar System astronomers. She was a Guest Observer at Palomar Observatory for 12 years, and was Research Professor of Astronomy at Northern Arizona University and a staff member at Lowell Observatory. For 14 years, Carolyn worked with her late husband, Eugene, on the Palomar Asteroid and Comet Survey, a project of rare vision, of uncommon dedication, and of profound significance regarding the long-term future of life on this planet. Carolyn Shoemaker discovered more than 800 asteroids, including 44 near-Earth asteroids. Also, she found 32 comets, more than anyone else in history. One of her discoveries was Shoemaker-Levy 9, the first comet observed to collide with a planet. The spectacular impact of SL9 with Jupiter in 1994 was one of the defining moments in the history of astronomy. For 17 years, Carolyn spent several months each year with Eugene in the Australian Outback searching for and studying craters from earlier impacts. They carried out one of the most scientifically fruitful pioneering efforts of our time, amassing data relevant to estimating the rate of large impacts on Earth. Carolyn and Eugene participated in two RASC General Assemblies: Windsor in 1995, and Kingston in 1997. Carolyn gave the Ruth Northcott Lecture at the Windsor GA.

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