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At the 13th AAS meeting, held in Washington, DC, in December 1911, the Council (now the Board of Trustees) approved an amendment to the Society's constitution establishing a class of membership known as Honorary Member: “Upon nomination by not less than five members of the Society, the Council may elect to honorary membership one astronomer of distinction at each annual meeting. American astronomers shall not be eligible to [sic; should be "for"] honorary membership. Honorary members shall be exempt from assessments [e.g., dues], and shall be entitled to all the privileges of the Society.”

Patron and Honorary Member history

Nominations for honorary membership may be submitted at any time throughout the year to the AAS Secretary and should be signed by no fewer than five members of the Society.

The following list of Honorary Members elected since the Society was founded is incomplete; we are scouring the Society's historical documentation to look for any Honorary Members we may have overlooked. If you know of any Honorary Member who is not on this list, please send an email with their name and year of election (if known) to aas@aas.org.

*Deceased

Honorary Member Year of Election
Mario Hamuy 2019
João Steiner 2018
Françoise Combes 2017
Beatriz Barbuy 2016
Jocelyn Bell Burnell 2015
Michel G. E. Mayor 2015
Henny J.G.L.M. Lamers 2014
Ewine van Dishoeck 2013
Yasuo Tanaka* 2012
Malcolm Longair 2011
Sir Martin J. Rees 2006
María Teresa Ruiz 2004
Catherine Cesarsky 2003
Donald Lynden-Bell* 2001
Rashid Sunyaev 1997
Lodewijk Woltjer 1994
Adriaan Blaauw* 1985
Michael J. Seaton* 1983
Manali Kallat Vainu Bappu* 1982
Bengt Strömgren* 1973
O. Heckman* 1970
Jan H. Oort* 1970
Pol Swings* 1970
Viktor A. Ambartsumian* 1947
Thomas G. Cowling* N/A
Iosif S. Shklovsky* N/A
Willem de Sitter* 1931
Henri-Alexandre Deslandres* 1928
Max Wolf* 1927
Sir Frank Watson Dyson* 1921
Jacobus Cornelius Kapteyn* 1916
Oskar Backlund* 1915
Arthur Auwers* 1914
Sir David Gill* 1912
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