AAC Monthly Meeting

  • 8 Oct 2024
  • 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM
  • Kika Silva Pla Planetarium & Zoom




7:00 - 7:15 General Meeting & Announcements
7:15 - 7:30 Short topic presentation by a club member

7:30 - 7:45 Refreshment break

7:45 - Public Presentation

Speaker:  Dr. Hal McAlister

Title: Astronomical Interferometry at Mount Wilson

Abstract:  TBD

About the Speaker:

Hal received a B.A. in physics in 1971 from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, then his M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in astronomy in 1974 and 1975 from the University of Virginia. In 1977 Hal joined the faculty of the Department of Physics and Astronomy as an assistant professor at Georgia State University in Atlanta. Promotions to associate professor, full professor and designation as a Regents Professor came in 1982, 1987, and 1998. He retired from his faculty position as Regents Professor Emeritus in 2011.  At Georgia State University he founded the Center for High Angular Resolution Astronomy (CHARA) in 1983 and served as its director until he retired in 2015. He led the team that turned a dream for an astronomical interferometer into the reality of the CHARA Array, currently producing the world's highest resolution images of the surfaces and close environs of stars. During 2002–2014 he also served pro-bono as CEO of the Mount Wilson Institute and Director of Mount Wilson Observatory, the site of the CHARA Array. He has authored or co-authored some 450 scientific papers in the areas of binary star speckle interferometry and long-baseline optical/near-infrared interferometry.


UTC honored Hal as its commencement speaker in 2001 and as its Distinguished Alumnus for 2008. GSU designated him as its Alumni Distinguished Professor for 1996, its Doctoral Hooding Ceremony speaker for 2010, and as a Centennial Speaker for 2013. Hal's other awards include the 2007 Maria and Eric Muhlmann Award of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific and the Michelson Lifetime Achievement Award sponsored by Lowell Observatory and the Observatoire de la Cote d'Azur in 2017. Hal and Susan McAlister were jointly awarded the Double Star Award of the Los Angeles Astronomical Society in 2009 and the Clifford W. Holmes Award of the RTMC Astronomy Expo in 2010 for their efforts on behalf of Mount Wilson during the 2009 Station Fire. ​Citing his "pioneering work in high angular resolution astronomy including the discovery of thousands of visual binary stars; for founding the GSU Center for High Angular Resolution Astronomy; and for a decade of leadership of the historic Mount Wilson Observatory," Hal was designated as a Fellow of the American Astronomical Society in January 2022.

Research Interests:

Hal had a two-year postdoctoral research associateship at the Kitt Peak National Observatory during which he became deeply involved in optimizing the then very new technique of speckle interferometry for high angular resolution studies of binary star systems. That method is now the predominant means for measuring orbital motions of resolved binary star systems.

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