Ms. Hisako Koyama: From Amateur Astronomer to Long-Term Solar Observer

Delores Knipp, Huixin Liu, Hisashi Hayakawa

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debatepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


The path to science for a girl of any nationality born in the early twentieth century was formidable-to-nonexistent. Yet paths were forged by a few. We present the little-known story of one of Japan's premier solar observers and her contribution to the world's understanding of sunspots and space weather cycles. Ms. Hisako Koyama, born in Tokyo in 1916, became a passionate amateur astronomer, a dedicated solar observer, and a long-serving staff member of the National Museum of Nature and Science, Tokyo. As a writer for amateur astronomy journals she advised many on the details and joys of sky viewing. She created a consistent, extended record of sunspots. Her multidecade archive of sunspot drawings is one of the “backbones” for the recent international recalibration of the sunspot record that provides insight into space weather reaching back to the early 1600s. We detail her contributions to the citizens of Japan as an ambassador of astronomy and her international contribution to understanding the symmetries and asymmetries of the solar cycle. We comment on the value of her continuous record of sunspots and on her tenacity in promoting a science that links to space weather.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1215-1221
Number of pages7
JournalSpace Weather
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Atmospheric Science


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