All of us who work at Sky & Telescope are deeply saddened to receive news today that our long-time editor in chief, Leif J. Robinson, passed away yesterday at the age of 71. Leif died following a long illness at his home in Costa Rica, where he lived for most of the past decade.
Leif is a monumental figure in the history of S&T. He served on the editorial staff for 38 years, and was editor in chief from 1980 to his retirement in 2000. During his tenure S&T’s circulation grew significantly, and the magazine assumed a more prominent role in the amateur astronomy community.
Everyone who got to know Leif personally was touched by his passion for astronomy and birdwatching, his boisterous personality, and his lively sense of humor. Every one of us who worked with Leif was inspired by his strong leadership, which emphasized journalistic and ethical principles of accuracy and integrity. These core values continue to guide everything we do at S&T.
Even in retirement, Leif stayed active. He wrote the popular 50 & 25 column for S&T, and he continued to give talks to general audiences and amateur astronomers. Besides his immense contributions to S&T, Leif served on the Board of Directors of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific, and he wrote the critically acclaimed book Outdoor Optics.
Today is a day of mourning at S&T, but we are also celebrating his life and contributions. Leif’s legacy will always remain a part of who we are and what we do. We welcome reader comments about their memories of Leif and their feelings about his contributions to astronomy.
For more information and photographs, see our press release.