Many of you may have heard the sad news that Albert Jones has passed away. Please visit Albert's page to read Arne Henden's post and for links to a 2009 interview by Mike Simonsen and some photographs of Albert.
This thread will serve as a place for those who knew Albert to share their memories and photos. Simply reply to this topic to include your stories.
I first learned of Albert when I was working on my astronomy undergrad degree. We were assigned to read a book about SN 1987a and Albert (and the AAVSO!) were mentioned numerous times.
A couple of years later, now graduated and working for the AAVSO, I met Albert and Carolyn at the AAVSO meeting in Sion, Switzerland. Albert seemed amused that I treated him like a bit of a celebrity. He was such a humble and kind person. He shared some stories over the banquet dinner about things that the book had left out. I was so thrilled to be an "insider!"
At that time I was a 24-year-old who was abroad for the first time and in charge of only my second meeting ever. I think that Albert and Carolyn realized that this could be an overwhelming situation for someone so young. They were so kind and supportive during that trip. I still think about how much their friendship during that week helped me.
It is rare that someone comes along who gives so much to his field. It is even more rare to find that this person, who is so skilled & so accomplished, is also so humble, so joyous, and so very kind... a wonderful example for us all.
Albert, you will be missed and remembered.
My wife and I were deeply saddened when we learned of Albert's passing Wednesday evening.
I never met Albert in person, but his warmth and good humor were always present during our correspondence over the years. I have a few messages from him self-deprecatingly signed by "Gerry Atrick" and "Tad C. Nile", but he was far from either even when he stopped observing in 2011. Every once in awhile we would trade emails about interesting astronomical happenings or his extensive archives, but less so over time -- most recently it was simply a pleasure to hear about his many activities on the other side of the world. In our exchange of holiday greetings in December of 2012, he offered his warm congratulations to my (now) wife and I on our recent engagement, saying "...we wish that your coming marriage will be as happy as ours is. The best years of our lives." Their holiday newsletter was full of their activities in 2012, and even though he no longer observed, he kept a full slate of both family and scientific activities during the year. I'm sure he took great pleasure in both.
His observing totals were and possibly will be unrivaled by anyone, but my admiration for Albert comes more from his character, kindness, and humility than from his light curves. I think his work wasn't about how much he observed, but why; it was about the work itself, and his love for the stars. I'll always remember him for his patience, good humor, and warmth, as well as his diligence in doing work that he knew was so valuable. Albert embodied all that is good about our field, and will always be an inspiration. We've all lost a wonderful colleague and friend.
Leaf and I extend our condolences to Carolyn, and their family and friends.
First of all I would like to extend my condolences to Carolyn, and their family and friends.
Needless to say that it is very sad to hear about Albert's death. Albert, an amiable man, has inspired us, observers, for many years and will do so for many years to come.
In 1997 we had the pleasure with the VVS Workgroup Variable Stars to meet Albert and his wife Carolyn in the public Observatory Beisbroek in Brugge, Belgium.
After Albert and Carolyn attended the AAVSO meeting in Sion, Switzerland, they were visiting Christiaan Sterken who invited us to meet with Albert and Carolyn.
Personally I had the pleasure to meet Albert again in Brussels, on a Workshop organised by Christiaan Sterken.
Sporadically we exchanged some emails, and I was always happy to hear from Albert. In his emails Albert always mentioned the highlights of his most recent observations, together with other interesting information, and sometimes his personal concerns.
As a tribute to Albert I would like to cite from an email he sent me on August 3rd 2007, and which illustrates his passion for variable star observing and his fine sense of humour:
"I am afraid that I cannot observe from dusk to dawn - after 3 to 4 hours, I
feel so tired, and after I make an estimate and go to the log-book to write
it down, I cannot remember the estimate and have to go back to the telescope
to refresh my memory. Then I know that it is time for me to go to bed for
some sleep and get up again an hour or so before dawn to observe the morning
stars in the east. My excuse for not observing for longer sessions is that
I was born in 1920 so next week I shall be 87 - even after all those years
of observing, I still get a thrill when a variable star does something
crazy - so perhaps Iam addicted"
"Now it is my turn to get some sleep although I do not have to go to work in
the morning. It is so nice to be retired, so keep on living Eric, you
will get your reward later on as you can read below:
Life After 80
I have good news for you. The first 80 years are the hardest.. The
second 80 are a succession of birthday parties.
Once you reach 80, everyone wants to carry your baggage and help you
up the steps. If you forget your name or anybody else's name, or an
appointment, or your own telephone number, or promise to be three places at
the same time, or can't remember how many grandchildren, or even
great-grandchildren you have, you need only explain that you are 80.
Being 80 is a lot better than being 70. At 70 people are mad at you
for everything. At 80 you have a perfect excuse no matter what you do
If you act foolishly, its your second childhood. Being 70 is no fun at all.
At that age they expect you to retire to a house in Arizona and complain
about your arthritis (they used to call it lumbago) and you ask everyone
to stop mumbling because you can't understand them. (Actually, your
hearing is about 50% gone)
If you survive until you are 80, everyone is surprised that you are
still alive. They treat you with respect just for having lived so long.
Actually, they seem surprised that you can walk and talk sensibly.
So please, folks, make it to 80. It's the best time of life.
People forgive you for anything. If you ask me, life begins at 80.
Kindest regards and best wishes Eric
All the best,
I was fortunate enough to spend a few days with Albert and Carolyn in 1990 and it was a wonderful time. Nelson is a lovely place and is surrounding by some great forests and scenery. I still remember going for a long walk with Albert through this area and even though by that stage he was in his seventies and I was in my twenties, he managed a very brisk pace and was not as red faced and sweaty as I was! Apart from being a very friendly guy, what amazed me was the simplicity of his observing equipment and programme. His telescope and eyepieces were a fair age but, it was pretty simple, they worked! He was an icon for all variable star observers, but in particular for those of us who persevere with slightly old telescopes and eyeballs!
Andrew Pearce (PEX)
I never had the pleasure of meeting Albert in person, but we certainly exchanged a lot of emails over the years and it always brought a smile to my face when I received something from him. I loved how he was able to intertwine the technical and the personal so seemlessly and expressed everything with grace and humour. What a lovely person. He shall be deeply missed... maybe even by some stars!
Below are light curves of T Cha and VW Hyi with Albert's observations highlighted.
I had been observing variables for a few years when to my surprise I recieved an email from Albert. He was happy that I was observing faint dwarf novae as the light pollution in Nelson was increasing and he could not observe these stars. Over the years Albert told me quite a few stories about his early observing when he virtually had the southern sky to himself.
Albert recently asked me if I could observe some of his stars as he was worried that they would not be observed. These stars have a lot more meaning now because when I observe them they will always remind me of Albert Jones.
Rest in peace, Albert.
Albert is a hero to all visual observers. We corresponded a few times about sequences and suchlike and although I never met him, his humble but friendly demeanour, not to mention his obvious enthusiasm and love for his subject were always evident. A great observer who it will be hard to replace.
Moe mai, Albert.