A Broken Hill amateur astronomer has won a national award for his contributions to a wide range of planetary science, particularly his work observing Saturn.
- Trevor Barry has been named co-winner of the Astronomical Society of Australia’s 2022 Berenice and Arthur Page Medal.
- The prize recognizes amateur astronomers who have made significant contributions to science
- The company says Mr Barry’s work is helping scientists understand Saturn’s atmosphere
Trevor Barry received the Berenice and Arthur Page 2022 Medal from the Astronomical Society of Australia this weekend.
The prize is awarded to amateur astronomers who have made significant contributions to science.
Mr Barry said he was surprised to win the medal given his experience, which included working in local mines for several years.
“We’re such a small community, we’re very isolated, but the people of Broken Hill have actually excelled in such a wide range of areas…obviously mining, arts and sports,” he said. .
The other winner of this year’s award was the BOSS (Backyard Observatory Supernova Search) team – a group that found around 200 confirmed supernovae.
From ground to sky
Mr. Barry’s journey to national astronomy recognition is unusual.
The former mine worker is also a keen local gardener and was shortlisted in the Volunteer of the Year category at last year’s Bowls SA Awards.
He said he was also exploring the depths of space with his own custom-built observatory.
“I don’t do my work with professionally made equipment,” he said.
“I love what I do. I claim to be the only ‘astronomer-greenkeeper’ in Australia.”
Astronomical Society of Australia president John Lattanzio said Barry’s work on analyzing Saturn had contributed to a number of research papers.
Prof Lattanzio said the work was helping astronomers understand a hexagonal feature of the planet’s atmosphere.
“His data has been used by NASA and the Cassini mission in particular to fill in places where they can’t see things,” he said.
“It’s led to a huge amount of data. I think it’s almost nine years of monitoring.
He said that while Mr Barry might not be a professional scientist, he was still contributing to important scientific work.
“That’s kind of the point of this medal, to recognize people who aren’t being paid for it but are making significant progress, and that’s exactly what Trevor does,” he said.
“Heartfelt congratulations to him. He is a great role model for all of us.”