Biography Base Home
  Biography Base Home | Link To Us
Search Biographies:
Marc Aaronson Biography
Marc Aaronson (August 24, 1950 in Los Angeles - April 30, 1987 in Tucson, Arizona) was an American astronomer.

Aaronson was educated at the California Institute of Technology where he received a BSc in 1972. He completed his PhD in 1977 with a dissertation on the near-infrared aperture photometry of galaxies. Afterward he worked as Associate Professor for Astronomy at the University of Arizona. In 1984, Aaronson and Jeremy Mould received the Newton Lacy Pierce Prize of the American Astronomical Society.

His work concentrated on three fields: the determination of the Hubble constant H0, using the Tully-Fisher relation, the study of carbon rich stars and the velocity distribution of those stars in dwarf spheroidal galaxies.

Aaronson was killed during a tragic accident in the evening hours of 30 April 1987 in the dome of the 4-m Mayall Telescope of the Kitt Peak National Observatory. Aaronson was killed when he was crushed by the hatch leading out to the catwalk when the hatch was slammed shut on him by a ladder which extended down from the turning telescope dome. A switch on the hatch automatically shut down the dome rotation motor, however, the momentum of the dome kept it moving for a few moments allowing it to hit the outward opening hatch. Observers were not supposed to open the hatch while the dome was rotating because of that possibility, a design flaw which was corrected after the accident by trimming the ladder and redesigning the hatch to slide sideways, parallel to the dome wall.

Asteroid 3277 Aaronson is named in his honor.
Marc Aaronson Resources
Contact Us | Privacy Policy | Sitemap

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article Marc Aaronson.