Name: Bessell, Michael S. Professor


Qualifications: BSc Hons1 UTas 1964; PhD ANU 1968.


Current employment: RSAA, ANU, 1969; Professor, 1998.


Relevant employment history:

Senior Fellow ANU 1978, Associate Director RSAA, ANU, 1994.

Post-doc at Yerkes Observatory, USA, 1967-69.

Short-term visiting positions at KPNO, USA; Landesternwarte Heidelberg, Germany; Observatoire de Paris, Meudon, France; Canterbury University, NZ; SAAO, Capetown, SA;


Six significant publications from last 5 years:

  1. Bessell, M.S., Castelli, F., Plez, B., 1998, A&A 333, 231. Model Atmosphere Broad-Band Colors, Bolometric Corrections and Temperature Calibrations for O-M Stars. .
  2. Keller, Stefan C., Bessell, M. S., Da Costa, G. S., 2000, AJ, 119, 1748. Wide Field Planetary Camera 2 Imaging of Young Clusters in the Magellanic Clouds.
  3. Bessell, Michael S., 2000, PASP, 112, 961. The Hipparcos and Tycho Photometric System Passbands
  4. Keller, Stefan C., Da Costa, G. S., Bessell, M.S., 2001, AJ, 121, 905. Young Clusters in the Magellanic Clouds. II.
  5. Zuckerman, B., Song, Inseok, Bessell, M. S., Webb, R. A., 2001, ApJ, 562, L87. The Beta Pictoris Moving Group.
  6. Christlieb, N.; Bessell, M. S.; Gustafsson, B.; Korn, A.; Barklem, P. S.; Karisson, T.; Mizuno-Wiedner, M.; Rossi, S. A stellar relic from the early Milky Way 2002 Natur, 419, 904
  7. Four additional career best publications:

  8. Wood, P.R., Bessell, M.S., Fox, M.W., 1983, ApJ 272, 99-115. Long-period variables in the Magellanic Clouds: Supergiants, AGB stars, supernova precursors, and enrichment of the interstellar medium.
  9. Bessell, M.S., Brett, J.M., Scholz, M., Wood, P.R., 1988, A&A, 213, 209-225. The effects of atmospheric extension upon the spectra of M-type Mira variables.
  10. Bessell, M.S., 1991, AJ, 101, 662-676. The Late-M Dwarfs.
  11. Bessell, M.S., Sutherland, R.S., Ruan, K., 1991, ApJ, 383, l71-74. The Oxygen Abundance of Halo Stars.

Two book chapters (Encyclopedia of Astronomy and Astrophysics) 2001

Thirty three refereed research publications 1998-2002.

Fourteen research papers in conference proceedings 1998-2002.


Professor Mike Bessell is a recognised world expert in stellar spectroscopy and photometry. He has specialized in observational aspects of stellar evolution and in providing temperature calibrations and bolometric corrections for many kinds of stars.

He has long worked with echelle spectrographs to measure the precise abundances of elements. His understanding of stellar photometry and photometric systems is extensive and he is currently writing a review of standard photometry for Annual Review of Astronomy and Astrophysics. He has also been involved in astronomical instrumentation for many years, most recently as associate director for instrument development at the RSAA. He built and installed (with Harvey Butcher the echelle spectrograph at the 74 inch telescope and has been responsible for the CCD program at the RSAA for 10 years.


Some highlights of his scientific research are