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Carolyn S. Shoemaker

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Carolyn S. Shoemaker

Born June 24, 1929 (1929-06-24) (age 90)
Gallup, New Mexico, United States
Citizenship American
Nationality American
Fields Astronomy
Institutions California Institute of Technology,
Pasadena, California
Palomar Observatory, San Diego, California
Known for co-discoverer of Comet Shoemaker–Levy 9
Notable awards James Craig Watson Medal (1998)
National Aeronautics and Space Administration,
Exceptional Scientific Achievement Medal

Carolyn Jean Spellmann Shoemaker (born June 24, 1929) is an American astronomer. She is a co-discoverer of Comet Shoemaker–Levy 9.[1] She holds the record for most comets discovered by a single person.[2]

Personal life

Shoemaker was born Carolyn Jean Spellmann in Gallup, New Mexico, United States.[2] She is the widow of Eugene Shoemaker, a planetary scientist.[2]


Shoemaker started her astronomical career in 1980, searching for Earth-crossing asteroids and comets at the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, California, and the Palomar Observatory, San Diego, California.[3]

As of 2002, Shoemaker had discovered 32 comets and over 300 asteroids (counting the as-yet unnumbered ones).[2][3]


  1. Mestel, Rosie (9 July 1994). "Carolyn Shoemaker and 'Her Comet'". New Scientist 143 (1933): p. 23.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 "Carolyn Shoemaker". Astrogeology Science Center. USGS.
  3. 3.0 3.1 "She's Looking Out for Us". Explorer (American Association of Petroleum Geologists). May 2001.

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