- describe the major astronomical organizations in Canada
- identify the some of the principal contributors to astronomy in Canada
There are three main astronomical organizations in
Canada: The Canadian Astronomical Society, the Royal Astronomical
Society of Canada, and the Canadian Space Agency.
The Canadian Astronomical Society
is a society of professional astronomers from across Canada.
These are the professors and academic students of the study of
astronomy. They are the primary instigators and developers of
astronomical research and the best sources of detailed knowledge about
any particular topic in Astronomy.
The Royal Astronomical Society of Canada
is an organization of amateur astronomers who perform many
public outreach activities, and simply love to go out and observe the
skies. They have 28 local centers across the country, in most major
cities, and have more than 4800 members. They also involve themselves
in some research, assisting the work of professional astronomers.
The Canadian Space Agency
is the governmental organization that supervises all aspects of
Canadian government activity in space. This includes selecting and
training astronauts, putting Canadian satellites in orbit and
maintaining them, working with professional astronomers, and of course,
Did You Know ?
oldest Astronomical Organization in Canada is the Royal Astronomical
Society, founded in 1902. It actually existed before this but as the
Astronomical Society of Toronto, and previous to that, the Physics and
Astronomy Society of Toronto.
As a country,
Canada has been very successful in making contributions to the field of
astronomy, and we have a strong reputation worldwide. A complete list
of major Canadian contributors to astronomy is not possible, however a
few of the major contributors throughout history are listed below:
- John S. Plaskett (1865-1941): First director of the Dominion
Astrophysical Observatory and known for research on radial velocities in
- Helen Hogg (1905-1993): Known for her work on globular
clusters, publications on the history of astronomy, and her astronomy column in
the Toronto Star which lasted for 30 years. (University of Toronto)
- Sidney van den Bergh (1929-): Known for his work on the
structure and evolution of galaxies. (University of Victoria)
- Dr. Jim Peebles (1935-): Known for his pioneering work in
cosmology and the origin of the universe and the Big Bang theory. (Princeton University)
- Dr. René Racine (1938-): Known for his work on globular
clusters and the invention of some astronomical instruments. (University of Montreal)
- Dr. Ian Shelton (1958- ): Discovered the first visible
supernova in modern history, supernova 1987A. (Athabasca University)
- Terrence Dickinson (1943-): Foremost amateur astronomer in Canada, editor
of Skynews magazine and many excellent books on astronomy. (St. Lawrence College) See Unit 10, Lesson 3
- David Levy (1948-): Discovered a large number of comets
including comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 that collided with Jupiter in 1994.
- Dick Bond (1950-): Known for his study of the structure of
the Universe. (University
- Dr. Jaymie Matthews (1958-): Chief researcher with the MOST
space telescope program. (University
of British Columbia) See Unit 7, Lesson 1
Did You Know?
- Wendy Freedman (1958-): Known for her work on measuring the
Hubble constant, and other research into the expansion of the universe.
of the major contributors have comets, asteroids or craters on the moon
named after them! It is one of the perks of being influential within a
field where there are new, unnamed things still being discovered!
Check It Out!
The Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, founded in 1868 is Canada's leading astronomy organization.
Launch the RASC website!