19 September 2019

Erik Høg receives prestigeous scientific prize for a lifelong commitment to measuring the Universe


Preis der Astronomischen Gesellschaft für Instrumenten-Entwicklung 2019 goes to Erik Høg, 87, as one of three beneficiaries. Erik Høg receives the prize along with researchers Lennart Lindegren and Michael Perryman. Erik Høg has, as the one third of this collaboration, worked with astrometry for the duration of what is now a very long career in research. Astrometry is the scientific measuring of distances in the Universe, and it may not sound as fashionable as research in exploding stars or supermassive black holes, but the accuracy in the measurements available are absolutely crucial for our ability to make new discoveries in space. It is one of the most basic tools of astronomy, and many other parts of astrophysics depend heavily on it.

Erik Høg photographed by Ola Jakup Joensen

The award honours “Design, development, construction and/or significant development of astronomical instruments, leading to significant progress in astrophysical research”. The prize committee continues with the reason for awarding Erik Høg, Lennart Lindegren and Michael Perryman the 2019 award: “You will receive this award for the enormous and wonderfully successful work you did in designing, planning and preparing the instrumentation of the Gaia-Mission. As you know better than anyone else, the Gaia results already now have led to enormous progress in astronomical research, Gaia DR2 has influenced almost all parts of astronomy, from the solar system and the Inter Stellar Medium, through stellar physics, Milky Way science, nearby and distant galaxies to quasars and cosmological questions, with much more to come! 

Throughout his career, Erik Høg has been deeply involved in designing and constructing the satellites performing the astrometric measurements. This goes for the Hipparcos satellite, launched in 1989 and its successor, Gaia, launched in 2013. It is still operational. Erik Høg receives the prize together with the two other beneficiaries and gives a talk at the annual meeting of Astronomische Gesellschaft in Stuttgart, Germany.