ASSA Annual Awards

The Society has a number of awards to recognise the contributions of its members to astronomy in South Australia. The awards seek to encourage and recognise a diverse range of activities including notable contributions by amateur astronomers, the publication of original articles in the Society’s newsletter, outstanding astrophotography, and significant contributions to Society activities by its members.

Bill Bradfield Astronomy Award

The award is named after Bill Bradfield, a Past President and Honorary Life Member of the Society and discoverer of 18 comets - the most comet discoveries by an amateur astronomer in the 20th century. Bill developed a special interest in comets in 1970 when at the age of 43 he observed the bright Comet Bennett discovered by an amateur comet hunter in South Africa. Inspired by Bennett's discovery Bill set about to discover a comet of his own.

He purchased a 150mm diameter f/5.5 refractor telescope from a friend and started comet hunting on January 1 1971. He searched for 260 hours until on March 12 1972 he found Comet 1972f.

Bill became determined to find another comet to prove to himself and others that his first discovery was the result of more than some good luck. This he did time and time again. An inspiration to many amateur astronomers in Australia and overseas the Society is justifiably proud to have the award named in honour of its most famous member, Bill Bradfield.

The Bill Bradfield Astronomy Award is awarded at the discretion of Council in recognition of a notable contribution to Astronomy by an amateur astronomer either through astronomical discovery, research, or observational astronomy over an extended period of time. To be eligible for the prize, a recipient must be an amateur astronomer and a resident of South Australia. Professional astronomers are not eligible for the award.

Past recipients include:

Year Recipient Biography
2019 Andrew Cool Andrew worked with the Mid Murray Landcare SA consortium of local Councils and landcare environmentalists for more than 2 years to help establish a dark sky reserve in South Australia. Andrew established Sky Quality Meter data for the locations within the reserve area and compiled this into the submission for accreditation status.
2015 Robert Jenkins Robert received the Award in recognition of the excellent work he has done in the past few years in the area of variable star observing. Not only has he carried out valuable scientific observations to support various observing programs, but he has worked very hard to encourage others in ASSA to get involved as well.
2012 David Benn David received the Award for the creation and development of VStar. VStar is a variable star data visualisation and analysis software tool, which David has provided free to the astronomical community. Visit the VStar web site to download the software and for more information.
2011 Paul Haese Paul Haese received the Award in 2011 for his work on imaging Jupiter, and contributing to the JUPOS programme.
2010 Blair Lade Blair received the Award in 2010 for his observations of the Charon occultation. The Award was presented to Blair by Honorary Life Member Steve Cook.
2007 Terry Moon Terry was presented with the Award for his internationally acknowledged efforts in gathering visual and photometric observations/data of beta Gruis over the periond 23 September 2003 to 6 August 2005. His observations resulted in the reclassification of beta Gruis from "slow irregular" to that of a "semiregular with poor periodicity" class. Terry conducted observations from his roll-off-roof observatory at his home and his findings were published in the Journal of the American Association of Variable Star Observers.
2006 Blair Lade Bill Bradfield presented Blair with the Award for his scientific observations of Pluto. Blair co-authored a paper with the MIT which was submitted to Nature as a result of his observations.
2003 Michael Mattiazzo Michael has spent many nights of diligently searching for comets, doing variable star observations and occultation reports. Mike typifies the best of what we should all aspire to in observational astronomy, as Bill has before him. Too few members are involved in this, so to receive this is a great honour indeed.
2002 Jenni Kay Jenni has spent many years painstakingly studying deek sky objects. She has also written a book entitled "A Visual Survey of Star Cluster and Nebulae of the Magellanic Clouds".
2001 Justin Tilbrook At the 2001 Annual Dinner, Bill presented the award to Justin Tilbrook for his thorough research of the sky for comets. At the time the award was presented, Justin had discovered two comets and continues to search for them.
2000 Fraser Farrell

Fraser Farrell was presented with the first award by Bill Bradfield in 2000. He received the award for:

  • consistent observation and reporting of variable stars,
  • publishing Binocular Variables for Southern Observers, a collection of observing charts and notes for neglected bright southern variables (The Dot Book), and
  • participation in international observing campaigns through the VSS, RASNZ, AAVSO and VSNET.

Craig Richardson Memorial Award

The late Craig Richardson was a keen and active member of the ASSA from the late 1980's until 2001. Craig was probably best known for his enthusiastic approach to the observation and photography of the Aurora Australis, or Southern Lights. The Richardson family offers a $100 award to be used for the purchase of astronomy equipment by the ASSA member who, in the opinion of the judging panel, enters the best wide-field image (incorporating foreground land or sea-scapes) of an astronomical phenomenon such as an aurora, lunar or planetary conjunction, comet, constellation or the Milky Way taken in the preceding months.

Download the Application Form & Conditions of Entry

Astrophotography Award

This award is presented to the best astrophotography, as deemed by the council, of a deep sky, planetary, lunar, solar or wide field nature taken in the preceding months .  This award is intended to complement the Craig Richardson Award.

Download the Application Form & Conditions of Entry

Annual Service Awards

The Service Award is given to individual members in recognition of considerable  contribution to the Society over several years up to and including the current  membership year. To be eligible for the Award, a recipient must be a member in good standing.

Nominations for members are welcome - please e-mail your nomination to together with a brief description of why the nominated member deserves the award.

Editor's Award

The Editor's Award is given annually for the best original article or original series of articles published in the Society's newsletter in the membership year. The article (or series of articles) must be of single authorship of 500 words or more. To be eligible for the award, a recipient must be a member in good standing.