The Royal Astronomical Society and the Haro Observatory
The Royal Astronomical Society, which was founded in 1820, provides support for astronomical studies and research. In 1959, Guillermo Haro became the first person from a developing country to be elected into the elite society of astronomers.
One year before his death, Haro had an observatory named after him by the National Institute of Astrophysics, Optics and Electronics. Planning for the observatory began in 1972, but the dedication in Haro’s name did not come until 1987. The primary use since beginning operations in 1992 is to measure atmospheric extinction and monitor pollution caused by light.
Haro was part of a power couple with wife Helene Elizabeth Louise Amelie Paula Dolores Poniatowska, known professionally as Elena Poniatowska. Haro met Elena while working at the Tonantzintla Observatory after World War II. The French-born Poniatowska was a well known Mexican journalist and author who worked with a focus on social and political issues. Elena started writing in 1953 at 21-years-old after publishing with the Excelsior newspaper.
Many of her most influential works were “testimonial narratives” that were told through historical facts and accounts by real people affected by the subject. As her career grew more prolific, Elena co-founded La Jornada, the feminist magazine Fem, the Siglo XXI publishing house, and Cineteca Nacional, a national film institute.
Elena is an award-winning author and became the first woman to win the National Journalism Prize in Mexico. She also received awards from Colombia and Chile, the International Women’s Media Foundation Lifetime Achievement Award, and Spain’s Premio Cervantes Literature Award.