Leslie C. Peltier Monument
Backstory and Context
Peltier was raised on a small farm in Delphos, surrounded by forests and bordered by the Auglaize River. With just a tenth grade education, he became known as the world’s greatest non-professional astronomer. Peltier joined the American Association of Variable Star Observers (AAVSO), an amateur astronomy group. From the age of 18 until his death at 80, Leslie Peltier never missed sending in a monthly report to the AAVSO.
Peltier mad many of his first observations with a borrowed 4-inch telescope from his father's farm. By 1921 his father helped him acquire a 6-inch telescope on loan from Princeton University. In 1925, this telescope revealed something among the stars. After a week of research at Harvard College Observatory, Peltier confirmed that he had discovered a new comet.
In 1937, Peltier designed and built his ground-breaking Merry-Go-Round observatory. This design marked the first time that an entire observatory rotated to follow the stars. During his lifetime Peltier discovered 11 more comets, two novae, and contributed over 132,000 observations to the AAVSO.
On November 25, 1933 Peltier married Dorothy Nihiser and they moved to his uncle’s house before moving to a small house in Delphos. He lived in Delphos until 1980, and was honored by his hometown with this memorial sun dial at the public library. In addition to his work as an amateur astronomer, Peltier served on the library board for more than 30 years.