John Barrie Hutchings was born in 1941 in Johannesburg, South Africa. He received his bachelor’s degree in 1962, his bachelor’s with Honours in 1963, and his master’s in 1964 from the Rand University of South Africa. He then obtained his doctoral The Large Cloud of Magellan.degree from the University of Cambridge in England in 1967. From 1967 to 1969, he took a position as a postdoctoral researcher at the Dominion Astrophysical Observatory in Victoria, British Columbia, and he remains there as a researcher to this day.

Hutchings specializes in the atmospheres of OB stars (very hot blue stars). In 1968, he discovered that these stars, which have very thick atmospheres, generate hot stellar winds.

In 1983, after ten years of research on binary stars, he made a major discovery: Hutchings, along with coworkers Anne Cowley and David Crampton, identified the first black hole located outside our galaxy.

Not even one year later, in 1984, he made a second remarkable discovery by proving, along with David Crampton and Bruce Campbell, that quasars are the centres of active galaxies. Active galaxies are those with centres marked by enormous e Read More
John Barrie Hutchings was born in 1941 in Johannesburg, South Africa. He received his bachelor’s degree in 1962, his bachelor’s with Honours in 1963, and his master’s in 1964 from the Rand University of South Africa. He then obtained his doctoral The Large Cloud of Magellan.degree from the University of Cambridge in England in 1967. From 1967 to 1969, he took a position as a postdoctoral researcher at the Dominion Astrophysical Observatory in Victoria, British Columbia, and he remains there as a researcher to this day.

Hutchings specializes in the atmospheres of OB stars (very hot blue stars). In 1968, he discovered that these stars, which have very thick atmospheres, generate hot stellar winds.

In 1983, after ten years of research on binary stars, he made a major discovery: Hutchings, along with coworkers Anne Cowley and David Crampton, identified the first black hole located outside our galaxy.

Not even one year later, in 1984, he made a second remarkable discovery by proving, along with David Crampton and Bruce Campbell, that quasars are the centres of active galaxies. Active galaxies are those with centres marked by enormous energy outputs. Over the years, the study of quasars became one of Hutchings specialties.

In 1987, he became part of the FUSE satellite science team as Canada’s Project Scientist (FUSE stands for “Far Ultraviolet Spectroscopic Explorer”).

Quasar M87In 1994, Hutchings became Chairman of the Hubble Space Telescope (HST). In 1997, thanks to a newly installed spectrograph on the HST, he and some of his collaborators were the first to observe plumes of matter emitted from the centres of active galaxies.

In 1998, he was named Canadian Principal Investigator for the proposed CUVIT space mission (Canadian UV Imaging Telescope). The CUVIT telescope will be about 35 centimetres in diameter. One of its objectives is to study galaxy shapes, hot stars and background cosmic radiation (microwave radiation left over from the Big Bang, the giant explosion that “gave birth” to the Universe).

In 2000, Hutchings became Canada’s Principal Investigator for ASTROSAT, a satellite launched by the Indian Space Research Organization to study galactic objects and distant extra-galactic objects.

One year later, in 2001, he became Canada’s Project Scientist for the James Webb Space Telescope, set to launch in 2013 and the successor of the Hubble Space Telescope.

Hutchings has published more than 400 scientific articles to date. He received numerous distinctions for his work, including his election as a member of the Royal Society of Canada.

© ASTROLab/Mont-Mégantic National Park

Colour photo of the Large Cloud of Magellan

The Large Cloud of Magellan.

Kuiper Airborne Observatory NASA-714

© Kuiper Airborne Observatory NASA-714


Colour photo of Quasar M87

Quasar M87 and a jet emitted from one of its poles

NASA

© NASA


Charles Thomas Bolton was born in 1943 at Camp Forrest, a World War II military base in Tennessee, United States. He received his bachelor’s degree in 1966 from the University of Illinois and his master’s (1968) and doctoral degrees (1970) from the University of Michigan.

From 1970 to 1972, he was a postdoctoral researcher at the David Dunlap Observatory of the University of Toronto astronomy department. He also taught at the David Dunlap Observatory from 1970 to 1972, at Scarborough College from 1971 to 1972, and at Erindale College from 1972 to 1973. He then became a professor in the astronomy department at the University of Toronto in 1973, and has remained there ever since.

In 1970, Bolton was the first to develop a computer model for stellar atmospheres that was able to generate large regions of the modeled spectrum with enough precision to allow comparison with the spectra from real stars.

In 1972, Bolton made a discovery in astronomy that was so important it guaranteed him a place in the history books: he was the first astronomer to present irrefutable evidence of the existence of a black hole. The black hole in question was Cygn Read More
Charles Thomas Bolton was born in 1943 at Camp Forrest, a World War II military base in Tennessee, United States. He received his bachelor’s degree in 1966 from the University of Illinois and his master’s (1968) and doctoral degrees (1970) from the University of Michigan.

From 1970 to 1972, he was a postdoctoral researcher at the David Dunlap Observatory of the University of Toronto astronomy department. He also taught at the David Dunlap Observatory from 1970 to 1972, at Scarborough College from 1971 to 1972, and at Erindale College from 1972 to 1973. He then became a professor in the astronomy department at the University of Toronto in 1973, and has remained there ever since.

In 1970, Bolton was the first to develop a computer model for stellar atmospheres that was able to generate large regions of the modeled spectrum with enough precision to allow comparison with the spectra from real stars.

In 1972, Bolton made a discovery in astronomy that was so important it guaranteed him a place in the history books: he was the first astronomer to present irrefutable evidence of the existence of a black hole. The black hole in question was Cygnus X-1, which lies at the centre of our own galaxy, the Milky Way. Bolton detected its presence by observing star HDE 226868 wobble as if it was orbiting around an invisible but massive companion. His calculations demonstrated that the companion could be nothing less than a black hole.

A black hole is a celestial body that is so massive and dense that nothing can escape its gravitational pull (its attractive force), not even light. The name arises from the fact that it cannot emit light and thus appears black, and it traps all that falls into it, like a hole in space.

Cygnus X-1.In 1978, Bolton demonstrated that the nitrogen anomalies observed in the spectra of OBN stars are due to the transfer of material to a nearby neighbouring star. OB stars are very hot blue stars with thick atmospheres. OBN stars are a subclass of OB stars that are characterized by nitrogen anomalies in their spectra.

In 1981, he suggested that the ejections of material from Be-type stars – a subclass of B stars – are caused by non-radial pulsations (vibrations that shake Be stars in an irregular manner). B stars have similar properties to O stars (that is, they are very hot blue stars with thick atmospheres) but have lower surface temperatures. O and B stars frequently occur together in loose groupings, and are often collectively referred to as OB stars.

In 1985, Bolton and his colleague Douglas R. Gies demonstrated that not all “ejected” OB stars (runaway stars that travel at very high speeds through open space) are the result of the supernova explosion of a companion star. Instead, many are produced by gravitational interactions that occur within OB star clusters.

Bolton established a Canadian first in the 1990’s when he wrote a bylaw to regulate light pollution that was adopted by the town of Richmond Hill, Ontario, in 1994.

Bolton has received many awards for his work, including being elected as a member of the Royal Society of Canada.

© 2006 An original idea and a realization of the ASTROLab of Mont-Mégantic National Park

Colour Photo of Charles Thomas Bolton

Charles Thomas Bolton.

Charles Thomas Bolton

© Charles Thomas Bolton


Colour photo of Cygnus X-1

Cygnus X-1.

NASA

© NASA


Jean-René Roy was born in 1943 in Saint-Hyacinthe, Quebec. He received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Montreal in Quebec in 1969 before moving to the University of Western Ontario in London where he obtained his master’s and doctoral degrees in 1971 and 1973. Roy began studying stellar winds in 1970 before specializing in solar flares for his graduate work. He spent one year at the Solar Observatory at Sacramento Peak, New Mexico, to collect the necessary data for his university research.

In 1973, Roy joined the Solar Research Group at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) as a postdoctoral fellow to study X-ray solar flares. The following year, he pursued his work on X-ray flares at Utrecht University’s Laboratory for Space Research in the Netherlands.

He returned to Canada in 1975 as a research associate at the new Herzberg Institute of Astrophysics in Ottawa where he continued his studies of the Sun, focusing on the radio, visible light and X-ray portions of the electromagnetic spectrum. In 1977, he organized a workshop on the causes of the Cretaceous-Tertiary mass extinction that marked the disappearance of the d Read More
Jean-René Roy was born in 1943 in Saint-Hyacinthe, Quebec. He received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Montreal in Quebec in 1969 before moving to the University of Western Ontario in London where he obtained his master’s and doctoral degrees in 1971 and 1973. Roy began studying stellar winds in 1970 before specializing in solar flares for his graduate work. He spent one year at the Solar Observatory at Sacramento Peak, New Mexico, to collect the necessary data for his university research.

In 1973, Roy joined the Solar Research Group at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) as a postdoctoral fellow to study X-ray solar flares. The following year, he pursued his work on X-ray flares at Utrecht University’s Laboratory for Space Research in the Netherlands.

He returned to Canada in 1975 as a research associate at the new Herzberg Institute of Astrophysics in Ottawa where he continued his studies of the Sun, focusing on the radio, visible light and X-ray portions of the electromagnetic spectrum. In 1977, he organized a workshop on the causes of the Cretaceous-Tertiary mass extinction that marked the disappearance of the dinosaurs.

Jean-René Roy in front of the Gemini North Observatory in Hawaii.That same year, Roy became an astronomy professor in the physics department at Laval University in Quebec City and later contributed to the creation of the Mont-Mégantic Observatory, which was inaugurated in 1978. It was during the 1970’s that he began to focus more on the interstellar environment and less on solar research.

In 1982, Roy published his first book, L’astronomie et son histoire (“Astronomy and its History”). That same year, he and his colleagues, Yvon Georgelin and Jacques Boulesteix, designed a new Fabry-Perot interferometer for the Mont-Mégantic Observatory. Other instruments were to follow.

In 1997, he became a member of the board of directors for the Gemini Project, a proposal to construct the two largest telescopes in the world. One of the telescopes would be located in the northern hemisphere (Hawaii) and the other in the southern hemisphere (Chile).

In 1998, Roy published a critical essay about science titled Les héritiers de Prométhée (“The Heirs of Prometheus”) in which he discussed the roles of science in the development of cultures and civilizations.

In 2000, he left Laval University to become the scientific director for the Gemini North Observatory in Hawaii. His current research interests are spiral galaxies, the processes of massive star formation, and the chemical enrichment in galaxies.

© 2006 An original idea and a realization of the ASTROLab of Mont-Mégantic National Park

Colour photo of the sun with solar flares

Solar flares.

SOHO (ESA and NASA)

© SOHO (ESA and NASA)


Colour photo of Jean-René Roy

Jean-René Roy in front of the Gemini North Observatory in Hawaii.

Laval University

© Laval University


Learning Objectives

The learner will:
  • identify recent contributions, including Canada’s, to the development of space exploration technologies;
  • describe in detail the function of Canadian technologies involved in exploration of space;
  • draw a solar system with all its components;
  • establish the link between atoms and light using different instruments.

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