Catalogs and Surveys Group
About Us
Sky Surveys
HST Support
Related Sites
Barry Lasker, 1939-1999

Dr. Barry Lasker was the most important single individual in the development of the Guide Star Catalogue and Digitized Sky Survey projects. He originated the concept of building a Guide Star Catalog to support guide star selection for HST. In the 1980s, he led the team that customized the Perkin-Elmer 2020G microdensitometers to bring them up to the positional and photometric accuracy standards required for the GSC-I, and in the 1990s, he led the team that redesigned them entirely to permit rapid scanning of the second epoch surveys, at even finer resolution, for the GSC-II. He was awarded the 1998 Van Biesbroeck Prize, which recognizes extraordinary service to the astronomical community, in recognition of his leadership and innovation in the production and distribution of the Digitized Sky Survey. He developed the international collaborations which have supported these projects. His creative scientific leadership of the GSC and DSS teams through the years was rivalled only by the generous friendship he shared with us all.

Barry's sudden passing, in February 1999, was a shock and a deep loss to all who knew him. We in the Catalogs & Surveys Branch were hit especially hard. The GSC2 project was still years from completion, and Barry was still deeply involved in almost every aspect of it. Somehow, we had to continue the work without his key insights and unfailing intuition (not to mention his uncanny knack with the scanning machines). It was a daunting prospect. But we were determined. Many of us said, in the first days after his death, that we were determined to do it *for* Barry: to pull it off somehow, to complete the grand project that was so much of his life's work. We did it!





Last Modified: 2016-06-20 14:42