Skip to content

Explore Alliance Ambassadors - Dr. David H. Levy

Explore Alliance Ambassadors - Dr. David H. Levy
Vail, AZ USA
Contact this Ambassador


Born in 1948, David H. Levy is a legendary astronomer, renowned for his discoveries of comets and asteroids, and a dedicated astronomy educator. His prolific comet discoveries and extensive contributions to astronomical literature have solidified his legacy in the field. While his academic journey led him to earn bachelor's and master's degrees in English literature, Levy's passion for astronomy persisted from an early age.

In 1967, Levy faced a significant challenge when he found himself on the brink of expulsion from the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada's Montreal Centre due to a disagreement with some administrative members. Despite discouraging comments from a senior RASC official in 1968, Levy's perseverance prevailed. Subsequently, a transformative correspondence with Isabel Williamson, a key figure in his near-ouster, evolved into visits, the presentation of the National Service Award to Miss Williamson, and the naming of the Montreal Centre's Observatory in her honor.

Levy's astronomical journey soared as he collaborated with Gene and Carolyn S. Shoemaker, collectively discovering 23 comets, with nine of them being visual breakthroughs. His literary contributions to astronomy are equally noteworthy, with 34 books to his name. Among his notable works are "The Quest for Comets," a definitive biography of Pluto-discoverer Clyde Tombaugh (2006), and "Shoemaker by Levy," a tribute to Gene Shoemaker. Levy's insightful articles have graced publications like Sky & Telescope, Parade Magazine, Sky News, Astronomy Magazine, and the more recent Sky's Up magazine.

His comet discoveries include significant periodic comets such as 118P/Shoemaker-Levy, 129P/Shoemaker-Levy, 135P/Shoemaker-Levy, 137P/Shoemaker-Levy, 138P/Shoemaker-Levy, 145P/Shoemaker-Levy, and 181P/Shoemaker-Levy. Additionally, Levy stands as the sole discoverer of two periodic comets, P/1991 L3 and P/2006T1, showcasing his unique contributions in visual, photographic, and electronic comet discovery methods.

Beyond his individual achievements, David H. Levy has played a pivotal role in fostering a global appreciation for the wonders of the night sky, including his involvement in the Explore Alliance's Global Star Party.

On February 28, 2010, Levy was awarded a Ph. D. from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem for his successful completion of his thesis "The Sky in Early Modern English Literature: A Study of Allusions to Celestial Events in Elizabethan and Jacobean Writing, 1572-1620."

David Levy lives in Vail, Arizona, home of the Jarnac Observatory.


David Levy is a prolific speaker, writer, and public astronomy outreach enthusiast, where he often involved in showing the public the night sky. Levy is available for personal appearances and lectures.


The Asteroid 3673 Levy was named in his honor. Levy was awarded the C.A. Chant Medal of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada in 1980. In 1993 he won the Amateur Achievement Award of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific. In 2007, Levy received the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory's Edgar Wilson Award for the discovery of comets. In 2008, a special edition telescope, "The Comet Hunter" was co-designed by Levy and Scott Roberts, and manufactured by Explore Scientific. 


    Activities and Events

    David Levy's Gear Recommendations:

    [Return to Directory of Ambassadors]