Scott Duncan Tremaine was born in 1950 in Toronto. He obtained his bachelor’s degree from McMaster’s University in 1971, and his master’s and doctoral degrees in 1973 and 1975 respectively from the University of Princeton in the United States.

Upon obtaining his doctoral degree, he was hired as a researcher at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He stayed for two years and then moved to England in 1977 to become a research agent in the Institute of Astronomy at the University of Cambridge. One year later, he returned to the United States to be a researcher at the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton University in New Jersey.

Tremaine is an expert in cosmic dynamics; that is, the study of the effects of forces that move celestial objects. In simple terms, he is trying to determine the changes in speeds and directions that affect various bodies. He has applied this type of study to planetary rings, comets, planets, black holes, galaxies and galaxy clusters.

In 1979, he and Peter Goldreich predicted that the rings of Uranus (discovered in 1977) are kept in place by small moons that have not yet been detected. The proposal Read More
Scott Duncan Tremaine was born in 1950 in Toronto. He obtained his bachelor’s degree from McMaster’s University in 1971, and his master’s and doctoral degrees in 1973 and 1975 respectively from the University of Princeton in the United States.

Upon obtaining his doctoral degree, he was hired as a researcher at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He stayed for two years and then moved to England in 1977 to become a research agent in the Institute of Astronomy at the University of Cambridge. One year later, he returned to the United States to be a researcher at the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton University in New Jersey.

Tremaine is an expert in cosmic dynamics; that is, the study of the effects of forces that move celestial objects. In simple terms, he is trying to determine the changes in speeds and directions that affect various bodies. He has applied this type of study to planetary rings, comets, planets, black holes, galaxies and galaxy clusters.

In 1979, he and Peter Goldreich predicted that the rings of Uranus (discovered in 1977) are kept in place by small moons that have not yet been detected. The proposal met with scepticism from many astronomers, until the Voyager 2 spacecraft flew past the planet in 1986 and confirmed the prediction. It was quite a triumph.

Uranus and some of its satellites.He was a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology between 1981 and 1985, but left this prestigious post in 1985 to become a professor at the University of Toronto and the director of the new Canadian Institute for Theoretical Astrophysics. Thanks to his energy, the institute eventually carved itself an enviable position in the international scene.

In 1987, Tremaine wrote the book Galactic Dynamics with James Binney, which quickly became a reference work in the field.

In 1988, he and other collaborators demonstrated that comets with short periods (comets that visit us every 200 years or less) originate in the Kuiper belt and not the Oort cloud. This revelation proved to be another high point in his career.

In 1991, Tremaine and Michel Fich determined the mass of our galaxy, the Milky Way, by using information about satellite galaxies (those that orbit our own).

In 1996, he left his position as Director of the Canadian Institute for Theoretical Astrophysics to head the Cosmology and Gravity Program at the Canadian Institute for Advanced Studies. One year later, in 1997, he left the University of Toronto to become a professor at Princeton University in the United States where he remains today.

Tremaine has received many awards, including being elected as member of the Royal Society of Canada. Asteroid 3806 is named in his honour.

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

Black and white photo of Scott Duncan Tremaine

Scott Duncan Tremaine.

Scott Duncan Tremaine

© Scott Duncan Tremaine


Colour photo of Uranus and some of its satellites

Uranus and some of its satellites.

NASA Marshall Space Flight Center

© NASA Marshall Space Flight Center


Jaymie Mark Matthews was born in 1958 in Chatham, Ontario. He obtained his bachelor’s degree in 1979 from the University of Toronto and his master’s and doctoral degrees in 1982 and 1987 from the University of Western Ontario in London. In 1988, he undertook postdoctoral research at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver. In 1991, he was hired as a research agent at the University of Montreal. He then became a professor at the University of British Columbia.

Matthews is an asteroseismologist; that is, he specializes in the study of the vibrations (pulsations) that shake stars. All stars, like the Sun, vibrate at some time during their lifespan. The study of such vibrations holds great interest for researchers as it provides information on the internal structure of a star, and thus on its size, mass, composition and even age.

In addition to asteroseismology, Matthews has other interests. In 1987, he began studying Wolf-Rayet stars, which are stars that liberate colossal amounts of matter into space. In 1992, he tackled the job of mapping solar spots on stars using Doppler imaging. In 1994, he used open star clusters and groups of open star Read More
Jaymie Mark Matthews was born in 1958 in Chatham, Ontario. He obtained his bachelor’s degree in 1979 from the University of Toronto and his master’s and doctoral degrees in 1982 and 1987 from the University of Western Ontario in London. In 1988, he undertook postdoctoral research at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver. In 1991, he was hired as a research agent at the University of Montreal. He then became a professor at the University of British Columbia.

Matthews is an asteroseismologist; that is, he specializes in the study of the vibrations (pulsations) that shake stars. All stars, like the Sun, vibrate at some time during their lifespan. The study of such vibrations holds great interest for researchers as it provides information on the internal structure of a star, and thus on its size, mass, composition and even age.

In addition to asteroseismology, Matthews has other interests. In 1987, he began studying Wolf-Rayet stars, which are stars that liberate colossal amounts of matter into space. In 1992, he tackled the job of mapping solar spots on stars using Doppler imaging. In 1994, he used open star clusters and groups of open star clusters to calibrate a scale for cosmological distances.

Jaymie Matthews and the MOST satelliteThe year 1997 was a particularly significant year for Matthews. The Canadian Space Agency agreed to send a small telescope dedicated to asteroseismological studies into space. The space telescope is known as MOST (Microvariability and Oscillation of Stars) and Matthews was named Principal Investigator and Mission Scientist.

In 2003, after six years of preparation, the MOST satellite was launched. The satellite is the size and shape of a large suitcase, and is equipped with an ultra sensitive telescope that measures only 15 centimetres across. Despite its small size, it is ten times more sensitive than the Hubble Space Telescope in detecting tiny variations in the luminosity of stars caused by pulsations that shake their surface.

Since 2004, the discoveries made by Matthews and the MOST satellite regularly make the headlines in the media around the world.

In addition to his research activities, Matthews is constantly involved in all sorts of activities related to popularizing science: newspaper interviews, radio and television appearances, public conferences, telescope tours, supervising students in high school, evening courses, summer camps, work sponsorships, etc. Particularly popular with young people, he received awards for excellence in teaching in 1999 and 2002.

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

Colour photo of Jaymie Matthews and the MOST space telescope inside laboratory

Jaymie Matthews and the MOST space telescope.

Canadian Space Agency/www.space.gc.ca

© Canadian Space Agency/www.space.gc.ca


Jack Newton was born in 1942 in Winnipeg, Manitoba. He obtained a diploma in business administration during the 1970’s from Red River Community College and became manager for the stores Sears and Marks & Spencer.

His interest in astronomy began in 1954 at the age of 12. Four years later, in 1958, he joined the Winnipeg Centre of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada. In 1969, he constructed a 32-centimetre telescope and installed it under a dome in his backyard. He then started up an astrophotography section with the Winnipeg Centre and became the president from 1970 to 1972.

In 1973, Newton’s work required him to move to Toronto. He began to test different film types for his photography work and one year later, in 1974, he published Astro Photography: From Film to Infinity.

In 1975, he was elected president of the Toronto Centre of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada. Still passionate about photography, he published An Introduction to CCD Astronomy and Deep Sky Objects: A Photographic Guide for the Amateur in 1977.

In 1979, Newton moved again for work-related reasons, this time to Victoria in British Columbia. He Read More
Jack Newton was born in 1942 in Winnipeg, Manitoba. He obtained a diploma in business administration during the 1970’s from Red River Community College and became manager for the stores Sears and Marks & Spencer.

His interest in astronomy began in 1954 at the age of 12. Four years later, in 1958, he joined the Winnipeg Centre of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada. In 1969, he constructed a 32-centimetre telescope and installed it under a dome in his backyard. He then started up an astrophotography section with the Winnipeg Centre and became the president from 1970 to 1972.

In 1973, Newton’s work required him to move to Toronto. He began to test different film types for his photography work and one year later, in 1974, he published Astro Photography: From Film to Infinity.

In 1975, he was elected president of the Toronto Centre of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada. Still passionate about photography, he published An Introduction to CCD Astronomy and Deep Sky Objects: A Photographic Guide for the Amateur in 1977.

In 1979, Newton moved again for work-related reasons, this time to Victoria in British Columbia. He continued to pursue his astrophotography activities and became the president of the Victoria Centre from 1980 to 1981. He wrote two books with Philip Teece: Cambridge Deep-Sky Album in 1983, and The Guide to Amateur Astronomy in 1988.

From 1990 to 1991, he again became president of the Victoria Centre and, in 1995, he and Philip Teece wrote a second edition to their book The Guide to Amateur Astronomy. In 1997, he joined forces with Terence Dickinson and published Splendors of the Universe: A Practical Guide to Photographing the Night Sky.

Throughout his career as an amateur astronomer, Newton regularly contributed to the magazines Astronomy, Sky & Telescope and SkyNews, and his photographs could be found in many popular media magazines like Newsweek and Canadian Geographic, or in books like The Audubon Society Field Guide to the Night Sky. He also organized a number of trips around the world to view astronomical events, such as solar eclipses. One of his more ambitious trips was in 1986 when he headed a contingent of more than 300 people to see Halley’s comet over Peruvian skies!

Newton received the Queen Elizabeth II Silver Jubilee Medal in 1977, the Ken Chilton Prize from the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada in 1978, the Amateur Achievement Award from the Astronomical Society of the Pacific in 1988, and the Chant Medal from the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada in 1989.

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

Colour photo of Jack Newton with a telescope

Jack Newton.

Jack Newton

© Jack Newton


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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