Overbeek Medal

Overbeek Medal

The Council of the Society established an award in October 2016 to be known as the Overbeek Award in honour of Daniel Michael Overbeek, one time President of the ASSA and prolific observer of variable stars.

Awards shall be made from time to time as the President and Vice Presidents, hereafter called the panel, shall decide.

Awards shall be made, without distinction of nationality or language, to any ASSA member and amateur astronomer whose observational astronomy has been published in a recognized astronomical journal, including MNASSA.

The panel shall evaluate the nomination and certificate to bear the citation to indicate for what the award is made.

The panel can consult suitably qualified referees to report on the nomination under consideration for an award.

Procedure for making an award: nominations substantiated by written reasons, in respect of observational astronomy to be published in a journal of recognised standing, including MNASSA, within the previous five years, may be made to the ASSA Secretary by any member of the ASSA in good standing.

  • Clyde Foster – 2021
  • Magda Streicher – 2020
  • Berto Monard
  • Andre van Staden
  • Tim Cooper

Citation for Overbeek Medal Award for Clyde Foster for 2021
Clyde Foster’s digital imagery of Shallow Sky objects, primarily that of the major planets and the occasional comet has grown enormously over the past few years. Partially due to his interaction with other amateur, and a few professional astronomers, both locally and internationally. His recent images of the planets Saturn and Jupiter, mainly the latter, where he has collaborated with the NASA’s Juno mission, have produced images with a resolution that almost challenges the laws of Physics!

He has been active member of the ASSA in promoting, and participating in, pro-am collaborations and been overseas several times to do this, where he has presented at international Conferences on Planetary imagery. His discovery of a feature on Jupiter’s surface, aptly named Clyde’s Spot, indicates the level to which his work has risen and been recognized. I cannot find a more deserving winner of the 2021 Overbeek Medal than Clyde Foster.

Citation for Overbeek Medal Award for Magda Streicher for 2020
Magda Streicher is South Africa’s doyen of deep sky observing and has been so for over 20 years. She has developed a unique way of recording her results; in an age when digital astrophotography dominates both amateur and professional observations, Magda still draws the most accurate and beautiful sketches of her observations. These are accompanied by a brief description and get published in MNASSA, Nightfall and several overseas journals as Deep Sky Delights. Her books and catalogues of her observations are well known; most recently her Astronomy Delights, published in 2012 is a beautiful miscellany of her Deep Sky Delights for which she was deservedly awarded the McIntyre award. This year she has added details of all 88 constellations that she has observed over the past many years, to her volume of Astronomy Delights, creating an incredible, massive volume of over 550 pages! Finally her observation of Sirius B after many years of eye watering attempts, turned to tears of joy when she succeeded recently; she regards this as her crowning glory. Many amateurs have imaged it digitally, with difficulty, but I cannot recall single amateur to have actually seen it! Being Magda, she spent a long time sketching what she saw and published it! Magda has observed the night sky in a way that would have made Jan Overbeek proud; I can think of a no more deserving person to receive the Overbeek Medal for 2020.

Citation for Overbeek Medal Award for Berto Monard
SN are massive stars that end their lives by exploding, and for a short time can outshine their
host galaxy. Berto has been searching for, and finding, SNe for over 16 years; first from his
Bronberg Observatory, and from 2010 from his Klein Karoo Observatory in Calitzdorp. To
date he has discovered nearly 150 SNe. What makes his work outstanding is that in an age
when massive, robotic surveys are done at professional observatories using telescopes with
huge CCD cameras, is that an amateur, using moderate equipment, can still discover SNe!
This is in large part due to finding, and using, niche areas and times; where and when to look.
To handicap amateur SN hunters even more, since 2010 discoveries needed to be
spectroscopically confirmed. This would need to be done by a professional observatory; who
often would not have the opportunity, or the inclination, to do the follow up in time. One
would like to think that in future, local amateurs might be able to do this! Berto is a
dedicated, committed and persevering observer; discovering SNe, and monitoring many other
variable stars, the results of which have been published several times in MNASSA and are
recognized by the AAVSO. These efforts makes him a worthy recipient of the Overbeek

Citation for Overbeek Medal Award for Andre van Staden
Pulsars are rapidly spinning neutron stars resulting from the collapse of a massive star. Rather
like the light beam from a lighthouse, the beam of radiation can be detected as the pulsar
rotates. Often the pulsar has a companion star forming a binary system known as Red backs.
The beam of radiation from the pulsar can heat the companion star, creating a hot-spot. Andre
monitored the millisecond pulsar, J1723-2837, and its companion star, photometrically,
continuously for over a year and plotted detailed light curves using his 300 mm telescope.
The detection of a hot spot on the companion star had not been detected before, probably due
to a lack of continuous observation.

His results were published in several issues of MNASSA and in collaboration with Dr John
Antoniadis from the Dunlap Institute for Astronomy and Astrophysics, University of
Toronto, Canada, published the results in the prestigious Astrophysical Journal, ApJ. This
makes Andre a worthy recipient of the Overbeek Medal.

Citation for Overbeek Medal Award for Tim Cooper
Tim has a been long standing member of the ASSA, having been awarded a Long Service Award,
(2008) along with Honorary Membership (2005) and a President’s Award (2006) of the ASSA.
His main interest has been in Comets, Meteors and Meteorites and he has made significant
contributions to our understanding of these objects through his meticulous observations and detailed recordings of a large number of these events. These have been published frequently in MNASSA and other publications; both nationally and internationally.

His presentation at the recent ASSA Symposium 2018 where he described his participation in the Cameras for All-sky Meteor Surveillance (CAMS) network in conjunction with the SETI Institute was one of the more significant papers at the Symposium. CAMS is to detect potentially hazardous asteroids/comets, PAHs, and this clearly demonstrated his capacity to develop observing equipment and his ability to collaborate internationally.

His recent outstanding efforts in tracking down a bolide over Botswana has given the ASSA a prominent standing internationally, after a press briefing in Gaborone, Botswana, highlighting the details of this remarkable event, to be published in MNASSA.

I can think of a no more deserving candidate for the Overbeek Award than Tim Cooper.