Ordinary Meeting and Exhibition Meeting, 2002 September 21
The Merlin Award
The Merlin Medal was awarded to Mark Armstrong, who had previously won the Stevenson award in 1997 for his discovery of the first UK supernova. Since then, he had made the exceptional achievement of discovering 39 supernovae to date, many as faint as mag 19. Such objects are incredibly challenging to identify, and their discovery surely identifies Mr Armstrong as a world leader in this field. His work has come despite the competition from large teams of organised searchers who often dishearten amateurs. The President believed that Mr Armstrong's work had undoubtedly raised the profile of UK amateur astronomy, which has always been dogged by the poor climate.
Mr Armstrong commented that it is always good to keep the past in mind, observing that the Merlin medal was first awarded to George Alcock, who later won it on two further occasions. It had since been received by Brian Marsden, Richard McKim and Richard Miles to name but a few. Mr Armstrong was honoured to be added to this list.