Entry content

Creation date: ,   Archive date:

Prof. Janusz Kałużny passed on

Profesor Janusz Kałużny passed on. He has left a legacy fitting for the most eminent Polish observer astronomer. As student of Slavek Rucinski Janusz Kałuzny started from studying of W UMa binaries still employing photoelectric photometer. Than primitive manual equipment forced an observer to check everything by himself, and so he learned the hard way to perform observations carefully, in a systematic way. These inlearned skills enabled him later to excell in more modern observing techniques. Janusz Kaluzny was among first in Poland to master CCD photometry. Theese skills enabled him to contribute his part into infant OGLE project. Prof. Kaluzny employed all modern computer techniques for analysis of observations, yet his main interest was in stars and not software development. At his most productive time, in '90s he would routinly publish over 15 papers a year, including few within OGLE project. yet, his life achievement were studies of globular clusters (GC). For two decades Janusz collaborated with Carnegie Observatories. Alan Sandage, the guru of cosmic distance scale, remarked to Slavek Rucinski on Janusz Las Campanas Variable Star Survey (LCVSS):


“Kaluzny is the greatest living photometrist”. At the time all great Polish optical observing projets implemented ideas invented by Bohdan Paczynski and so Janusz turned to finding precise distances from solution of detached eclipsing binary stars. In application to GC this method required large telescopes and perfect spectroscopic techniques. He learned the trade at Las Campanas from the best experts. In my opinion, this ability to excell in wide range of observing techniques put him on the top position among polish observers. That does not contradict him beeing outdone in some narrow applications by couple distinguished collegues. Thanks to Janusz Kaluzny work we learned distances of a few globular clusters with so far unattainable precision. He also for the first time obtained accurate parameters of the population II star. In the process he discovered a whole zoo of new variable stars in GC. Beeing careful observer, Janusz Kaluzny became discoverer of non-radial oscillations og RR Lyr stars.


In terms of number of publications and citations his legacy is spectacular. Yet still in his drawers remain a hundred or so tapes wchich could yield more discoveries for years to come. The fate had it differently.


By friends he was called Jasio (Yasho). As a human Jasio was an extraordinarily endearing person, fundamentaly very friendly to people and full of optimism, till subdued by the cruel illness. At closer familiarity under careless cover Jasio revealed his fundamental integrity and solid nature. Jasio did not fit particularly well to the new epoch calling for selfishness, euphemistically called 'initiative'. When asked for opinions and reports, he seemed to think 'is it good for all?' and not 'does it benefit me personaly?'. Jasio avoided self promotion, he simply sticked with doing best his work. Yet he was not a shy person. He was very social with trusted friends and liked joking, with a shade of irony. These skills were particularly noticable on his traditional excursions with the Habazie 'gang' of travellers. While he was already seriously ill, we both listened in silence in Mazurian lake district to the clang of cranes flying overhead in hundreds towards the roost at the nearby marsh. It is worth to live to meet such people like Jasio. Yet he too has flown away.