The Carol Ambruster Memorial Fund

Carol in Chaco Culture National Historic ParkResearch in cultural astronomy has lost a pioneer in this field. Carol Ambruster was active in both High Energy Astrophysics and the study of Cool Stars, as well as her contributions to archaeoastronomy. Her University of Pennsylvania dissertation (1984) was in space based X-Ray Astrophysics, working under Kent Wood at the Naval Research Laboratory. She especially enjoyed working at the telescope and co-authored several papers on spectro-radiometric light curves of classical novae. She took much satisfaction in public astronomy, participating in demonstrations at Philadelphia’s Franklin Institute Museum’s public observatory.
     

Following her dissertation, she received a post-doctorate fellowship at the Joint Institute of Laboratory Astrophysics at the University of Colorado, Boulder. It was during this period that she flourished within the field of archaeoastronomy, working with fellow pioneers Ray Williamson, Von del Chamberlain, and Kim Malville.  She participated in the survey of the large Yellow Jacket site and the re-discovery of the lunar standstill at Chimney Rock National Monument. She initiated solar marker studies at Holly Castle and Cajon in Hovenweep National Monument, and Casa Rinconada and Shabikeshchee in Chaco Culture National Historic Park.
        

Carol then joined the faculty at Villanova University in a tenure track position as Assistant Professor of Astronomy and Astrophysics, where she remained until her retirement in 2012. She was active in cool star research, and observed space objects of interest with International Ultraviolet Explorer, Hubble Space Telescope, and at Kitt Peak National Observatory. Her work on flares on young red dwarf stars is providing valuable information about habitability on exoplanets. Carol was the most thorough note taker one could imagine. Throughout her career, Carol took a profound interest in students, and often worked individually with them helping their understanding, while always keeping the academic standards high. Carol’s scholarship and love of cultural astronomy will be missed, but her influence will continue through this fund. Your donations will be invested to provide awards  for outstanding scholarship in cultural astronomy of the American Southwest, and field research support in her name.


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