Chuck Wood

Resume,  Publications,  Public Appearances

Thanks for visiting my lunar web site - I hope you discover much useful and new information, and that you may have some additional information or images to contribute to it. One of the problems with web sites is in judging the truth of what they contain - and the best way is to check the credentials of the author. This page provides such background on who I am and includes information on my writing and public speaking. Here is a summary of my life and links to more formal documents. If you just need the facts, check the resume, but here follows details that I enjoyed writing and reliving; rather than reading it all, you may want to live your own life!


My interest in astronomy began when I saw a lunar eclipse when I was 9 or 10 years old. At that time I was already reading science fiction stories and had seen the famous Colliers magazine articles by von Braun and Wily Ley about going into space and to the Moon and Mars. While in junior high school one Christmas I received a 7 power telescope which astonished me when I looked at the Pleiades and later the Moon. In high school, four of us built telescopes and sometimes snuck onto the grounds of Mt Wilson and Palomar observatories so that we could spend the night observing in the shadow of the giant domes. Ironically, the mirror I ground and polished in the late 50s was 5" diameter - the same size telescope I use now!


I chose the University of Arizona for college because the observatory there had a 36" telescope on campus.

Steward Observatory, University of Arizona 36" telescope.Chuck Wood at eyepiece, Ewen Whitaker with crossed arms and Alika Herring in white shirt and no hat.

Although I used the 36" monthly following the astronomy club meeting, I had much better access to the Astronomy Department's wonderful Alvin Clark 4.3" refractor. That is where I learned to observe and make drawings and take photos of the Moon and planets. I still have my observing notebook - some of the illustrations here are from it.


The 4.3" James refractor, the crater Davy and Jupiter, all in 1962.

Lunar Lab

What really launched my career was being hired as employee number 7 at the newly established Lunar & Planetary Lab at UA. Gerard Kuiper, in many ways the founder of modern planetary science, was director of LPL and Ewen Whitaker, Dai Arthur and Alika Herring made up the lunar team I worked with. My friends and fellow students were Bill Hartmann, Alan Binder and Dale Cruikshank - all leading planetary scientists today.  

I learned the Moon by working 3 years on the System of Lunar Craters, a catalog of crater diameters, positions, and characteristics based on measurements on the Kuiper Photographic Lunar Atlas. Although we had  3-4 undergrad assistants, like me, measuring craters, I looked at every one - all 11,200 craters - to make sure of consistency. As part of the catalog we made a map in 44 sections.

Next: Africa and the Peace Corps