Image credit: NOAO/AURA/NSF

NOAO Astronomer Helmut Abt turns 90

The recipient in 1952 of the first doctoral degree in astrophysics awarded by Caltech for his work on the nature of W Virginis stars, Abt has studied many topics involving stellar spectroscopy. His work established the basic properties of B-G main sequence stars and guided subsequent developments in theories of binary star formation and the dynamics of stellar atmospheres. In the 1950’s Abt helped to select the site for a national astronomical observatory by conducting an aerial site survey and exploring potential sites by Jeep, pack horse, and on foot. From 1971-1999, Abt served as Managing Editor for the Astrophysical Journal. From 1980 onward, his interest in publication practices in astronomy led to a series of papers on topics such as the relative value of smaller aperture telescopes, the productivity of astronomers as a function of age, and the half-life of astronomical publications. Read more about Abt's scientific discoveries.

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