John Davis

John Davis is seen here with one of his custom-machined German equatorial telescope mounts. Davis won the top prize for the Astronomical League's 2004 National Young Astronomer Award.

Courtesy Astronomical League.

Each year since 1993 the Astronomical League has recognized outstanding astronomy achievements by US high-school students through its National Young Astronomer Award. This year's top winner is John Davis, a senior at Penfield High School in Penfield, New York.

A member of the Rochester Astronomy Club, Davis is cited for his accomplishments in telescope making and astrophotography. In addition to grinding 10- and 12.5-inch primary mirrors and building a backyard observatory, at age 14 he began to machine telescope parts and mounts from scrap in his school's workshop as well as his family's basement. Soon he turned this after-school hobby into a successful commercial enterprise. His company, Gemini Instruments, has sold custom-made equipment to amateur astronomers in the US, Hong Kong, Canada, and Australia.

Davis's NYAA prize consists of a plaque, an all-expense-paid trip to the League's 57th national convention in Berkeley, California, this July, a 10-inch LX200 GPS telescope donated by Meade Instruments Corporation, a lifetime observing pass to McDonald Observatory, courtesy the University of Texas, and complimentary membership to the International Dark-Sky Association.

Second- and third-place honors went to Morgan MacLeod (Greely High School, Cumberland, Maine) and Yvette Cendes (The Ellis School, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania), respectively. For more information about the NYAA, go to the Astronomical League's Web site.


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