The specter of laboriously hand-calculated astrology charts is
mercifully fading from our collective memory, but were it not for the
hard and meticulous work of brilliant computer programmers like Neil
Michelsen, we would be permanently stuck in that era. Astrology software
has given our field a tremendous leap forward in terms of mathematical
accuracy and the capacity to do solid research. Neil was one of the
first to create these programs, which he did in his spare time while working for
IBM for 17 years.
The company he founded, Astro-Computing Services, published the first computer-generated ephemeris
in 1976, setting new standards. ACS became the leading source of computerized calculations for astrology.
Their important reference work, the American Atlas,
replaced older, less complete time changes books. A computerized
version, continually updated is now available.)
In addition to his immense technical contributions, Neil contributed
substantially to our community life and to individuals within it.
To name only one instance of his generosity and helpfulness,
he put the resources of ACS behind the Gauquelin's work, enabling
them to streamline their research, previously hand-calculated.
He played a very important role in our organizations, especially with NCGR,
where he served as chairman and supported many of their projects beneficial to the
astrological community as a whole. After his
death, NCGR established the Neil Michelsen Memorial Fund to continue such
projects. There is also a Building Fund in his name. Neil was one of the co-founders of UAC and played an important role
in the formation of AFAN.
This giant of a man recieved many honors during his lifetime, including the Marc Edmund
Jones award. At the Regulus awards ceremony at the United Astrology Congress1992, he was
posthumously given a Lifetime Achievement Award.
BIRTH AND DEATH DATA: AstroDatabank gives the
following information, rated A from him to Lois Rodden. He was born
May 11, 1931, at 5:34 AM, Chicago, IL, which he specified was CST.
He died of cancer on May 15, 1990, in
To See His Chart
BOOKS AND TAPES BY NEIL MICHELSEN:
Along with Thomas Shanks, Rique Pottenger, and other members of the ACS staff,
Neil produced more than 20 of today's most accurate sets of emphemerides and
tables, including house tables, asteroids, heliocentric, sidereal, and planetary
phenomena. Many of these important reference works are available at local
new age books stores and on line at major chains, or they can be ordered directly
from the ACS website.
With his wife,
Maria K. Simms, he also wrote Search for the Christmas Star
Finally, we cannot neglect to mention that he and ACS encouraged, supported,
and were the publishing home for other astrologers on this memorial page, including
Michel Gauquelin, Joan Negus, and Joyce Wehrman.
As a long-time member of the NCGR Board, he spoke at many of
their conferences, so there are still tapes available on the NCGR
Tributes to Neil
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More New York Astrologers
DO YOU HAVE ANYTHING TO ADD? This memorial is interactive, and we welcome
your memories and tributes, which we will add to the page in the order
received. They may be edited for length, grammar, or suitability. If there are any additional
contributions we should mention or any inaccuracies
in the memorial, please bring them to our attention. We would also love
to have photos to bring back vivid memories. (Photos will be scanned and returned.) To suggest names, share memories, create tributes, or volunteer,
send us an e-mail.
CREDITS: Neil's photo came from his wife, Maria. Biographical
information for this memorial came from AstroDatabank and The
Encyclopedia of Astrology.
The background is part of a collection of graphics and web design
utilities at Cameo Hut. Most book covers on this site are courtesy of AstroAmerica
or the publishers.