#astronomy Remembering Dr. Michael D. Reynolds, 1954 – 2019
Mike Reynolds, passionate astronomy educator and former govt director of the Affiliation of Lunar & Planetary Observers (ALPO), handed away all of a sudden on October 15th. Portrait of Michael David Reynolds of Duncan U. Fletcher Excessive Faculty, ca 1986. Taken after Reynolds was awarded Florida Trainer of the Yr. Mike Reynolds, passionate astronomy educator
Mike Reynolds, passionate astronomy educator and former govt director of the Affiliation of Lunar & Planetary Observers (ALPO), handed away all of a sudden on October 15th.
Portrait of Michael David Reynolds of Duncan U. Fletcher Excessive Faculty, ca 1986. Taken after Reynolds was awarded Florida Trainer of the Yr.
Mike Reynolds, passionate astronomy educator and former govt director of the Affiliation of Lunar & Planetary Observers (ALPO), handed away all of a sudden on October 15th. Mike constructed a permanent legacy of constructing the world extra scientifically literate by way of the larger understanding of house exploration and astronomy. He labored tirelessly on applications in formal schooling, public academic outreach, and recognition awards.
Born on March 30, 1954, to Ruth and Raymond Reynolds in Jacksonville, Florida, Mike was the oldest of three youngsters. Whereas in elementary faculty on Could 5, 1961, seven-year-old Mike watched the stay broadcast of Alan Shepard flew on Friendship 7 — NASA’s first human spaceflight. He later pointed to this as one of many seminal moments of inspiration that led to his lifelong curiosity in astronomy and house exploration. It was additionally round 1961 that he bought his first telescope, a Three-inch Gilbert Newtonian. He saved the telescope for the remainder of his life.
Mike lived his childhood in Jacksonville, graduating from Duncan U. Fletcher Excessive Faculty, the place he met the love of his life, Debbie Thompson. They married quickly after commencement, and Debbie recounts one in every of favourite reminiscences of Mike from simply after their wedding ceremony:
“On our honeymoon, we traveled to Winnipeg within the lifeless of winter to witness a grazing occultation. It was freezing chilly, however Mike had grow to be fascinated by watching a star blink out and in because it crossed the sting of the Moon’s mountains and valleys. You already know, many wouldn’t have discovered this to be [a] notably memorable or fulfilling solution to spend a honeymoon . . . however although I wasn’t an astronomer, I liked it.”
A younger Michael Reynolds in Jacksonville, Florida.
As they settled in to construct their lives in Jacksonville, Mike labored three day jobs (instructing, UPS, and yardwork) whereas learning at evening to earn his bachelor’s diploma in pure sciences at Thomas Edison State School. He then bought a grasp’s diploma in science from College of North Florida in Jacksonville. In 1981 he started his profession as an educator on the similar highschool he graduated from, and in 1986 he was awarded Florida Trainer of the Yr.
In 1984, President Ronald Reagan introduced the Academics in Area Program to fly educators aboard NASA’s Area Shuttles. Mike Reynolds utilized together with 40,000 different candidates. By the subsequent 12 months, Reynolds was chosen as a number one candidate and commenced astronaut coaching at NASA services. His fellow educator and pal, Christa McAuliffe, was chosen to fly; he was watching from the launch web site when she and 6 different crew members misplaced their lives within the Area Shuttle Challenger catastrophe in 1986. It was a turning level for him: With a brand new sense of how treasured every day is, he left his instructing place at the highschool and took an outreach place created in McAuliffe’s honor by the Florida Division of Schooling and NASA. Later, Mike turned Planetarium Director on the Museum of Science and Historical past in Jacksonville.
Mike completed his doctorate in science schooling and astronomy in 1990, and he, Debbie, and their two youngsters, Aimee and Jeremy, moved to California in 1991. There, he turned CEO and govt director of the Chabot Area and Science Middle and modernized and resurrected the services, serving to to acquire tens of millions of to relocate the unique historic telescopes and construct an 88,000-square-foot state-of-the-art museum in Oakland that has served untold numbers of holiday makers.
“On the awards ceromony on the Winter Star Celebration: Dr. Mike Reynolds (left), Tippy D’Auria, Alan Traino (on behalf of the Rockland Astronomy Membership), and Scott W. Roberts (for David and Wendee Levy)
Astronomy Outreach Community”
I met Mike and Debbie once I visited the science middle in 2001. I used to be working in gross sales for Meade Devices on the time, and Mike was concerned about promoting telescopes within the reward store. We hit it off instantly, and I visited Chabot as usually as my schedule allowed.
It was throughout one in every of these visits that I prompt to Mike that the annual Astronomical League Convention (of which Mike and I had already attended many) can be extra dynamic if a number of organizations got here collectively without delay. Ever keen to tackle a challenge, Mike agreed and in 2004 he pulled collectively the American Affiliation of Variable Star Observers, the Affiliation of Lunar and Planetary Observers, the Astronomical Society of the Pacific, and the Astronomical League. This mega convention was hosted by three astronomical societies, and the speaker’s record learn like a who’s who of astronomy and house exploration. Individuals who had been there nonetheless discuss it as a mind-blowing expertise.
Mike was a meteorite knowledgeable and even found a uncommon meteorite buried within the ice in Antarctica. He additionally ready museum-quality meteorite specimens, a few of which had been displayed at Chabot. Collectively we developed a meteorite package that we bought by way of Meade Devices and later by way of Discover Scientific. Mike supplied the meteorites and the technical particulars about them, and I researched and wrote the tales behind the meteorites.
Chabot was working easily, with Mike heading up arguably the crown jewel of science facilities in California. One would suppose that his life was set. However each Mike and Debbie’s moms had been experiencing well being points again in Jacksonville, and finally they determined to return dwelling. I nonetheless bear in mind when he known as to inform me. Household comes first, he mentioned. Six months after transferring again, Mike was employed as an astronomy professor at Florida State School.
Michael Reynolds gained the Peltier Award in 2016 in recognition of his work in astronomy schooling.
The Astronomical League
Mike’s accolades would fill paragraphs. He was president of the Vintage Telescope Society, a member of the American Astronomical Society, and a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society. He served on the boards of a number of nationwide nonprofits, coordinating the Astronomical League’s Outreach Award Program till 2015. He wrote many articles as a corresponding editor of Astronomy journal in addition to in style books on eclipses, binocular astronomy, and meteoritics, and he led eclipse and meteorite expeditions world wide. He additionally obtained many recognitions and awards, together with the G. Bruce Blair Medal, a Fellowship with the Royal Astronomical Society, and the Leslie Peltier Award. Mike was additionally honored with asteroid 298877 Michaelreynolds, that was found at Jarnac Observatory by David Levy, Wendy Levy, and Tom Glinos on September 24, 2004.
My friendship with Mike began with a shared ardour for academic outreach and astronomy, however as I bought to know the person, I developed nice respect and admiration for him. Wanting over all of his accomplishments, dedication, loyalty, sacrifices, and onerous work, it’s onerous to think about that somebody might achieve this a lot in such a short while, and it’s humbling while you understand the sum of his legacy. I can consider no higher solution to honor Mike’s life than to proceed to share the expertise of wanting on the stars, and to encourage others to see life from a perspective that helps them understand that something within the universe is feasible.