Thursday, December 21, 2017

American astronomer: Carolyn Shoemaker

Carolyn Shoemaker is an observational planetary astronomer who has discovered more than 30 comets and 800 asteroids, more than any other astronomer. She was one of the co-discoverers of the comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 that collided with Jupiter and split apart in 1992.

Carolyn Jean Spellman Shoemaker was born June 24, 1929 in Gallup, New Mexico. She received a bachelor’s degree from Chico State College in California in 1949 and a master’s degree in history and political science in 1950.

After a spell as a schoolteacher, she married the astrogeologist Gene Shoemaker in 1951, and settled down eventually in Flagstaff, Arizona.

Since 1980, Shoemaker has been a visiting scientist at the US Geological Survey’s Center for Astrogeology in Flagstaff, Arizona, where her husband was a founding director.

In 1993 the husband and wife team, working with David Levy, discovered the comet Shoemaker-Levy 9. This achieved international prominence when its remnants collided with Jupiter in 1994, a rare event witnessed by astronomers around the world, and by the Voyager 2 spacecraft.
American astronomer: Carolyn Shoemaker
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