A Star Among Men

Frank Bateson, one of the world’s most respected astronomers, has died in Tauranga aged 97. Born in Wellington in 1909, Bateson was the internationally acknowledged expert on variable stars (those which intermittently vary in brightness). His was an illustrious career that began early: he founded the Royal Astronomical Society of NZ in 1927 aged 18, was elected a fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society in 1933 aged 24 and, in 1970, was awarded the OBE for his services to NZ and international astronomy. In 1963, Bateson founded NZ’s first major observatory at Mt John in South Canterbury, where he reigned as astronomer-in-charge for six years until ill-health forced his retirement. When minor planet 2434 was discovered from Mt John in 1981, it was named “Bateson” to honour his work. “Frank was that rara avis, the untrained amateur who could foot it with the professionals,” writes Don Milne in the NZ Herald. “Everyone has their heroes … For me, well up there is a man called Frank Bateson.”

Frank Bateson: 31 October 1909 – 16 April 2007

Tags: Frank Bateson  Mt John Observatory  Royal Astoronomical Association  Sydney Morning Herald (The)  

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