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  • Tim Cole

2017 Ruth Northcott Memorial Lecture presented by the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada

The Royal Astronomical Society of Canada's Ottawa Centre is is proud to announce the 2017 Ruth J. Northcott Lecture at Algonquin College, 1385 Woodroffe Avenue, in Salon “A”. The presentation is on Saturday, July 1 at 1:30 pm.

This talk is open to the general public at no charge.

Dr. Eric Steinbring—Astronomy from Coast to Coast to Coast

Winter in the Far North is dark, cold, and dry. These are harshly beautiful conditions for both people and telescopes. Come along to Eureka, on Ellesmere Island, at the tip of Canada. Here, coastal mountains rise into in calm, clear air, and stand in a special polar window from which we can see the glow of cosmic events.

Dr. Eric Steinbring is an astronomer with the National Research Council of Canada, working in high-resolution imaging of distant quasars and galaxies. This combines space-telescope data with the technology of adaptive optics from the ground. It is a technique possible only from the best astronomical sites, taking him to the forefront observatories of Hawai'i and Chile, and even to the High Arctic.

The Ruth Northcott Lecture Series

The RASC hosts the biennial Ruth Northcott Memorial Lecture in conjunction with its annual General Assembly. This lecture is offered to the general public, and can cover any facet of astronomy.

This lecture series commemorates Canadian astronomer Ruth Josephine Northcott (1913–1969). She was a graduate of the University of Toronto in Astronomy (BA 1934, MA 1935) and a member of the staff from then until her death in 1969. After being awarded her MA in 1935, she was appointed as a computer (a research assistant) at the University's David Dunlap Observatory in Richmond Hill. She was subsequently appointed Lecturer in 1944, Assistant Professor in 1954, and Associate Professor in 1962.

In the early years, she compiled meteor and variable star observations from amateurs. Working with R.E. Williamson, whe produced what was probably the first radio map in galactic co-ordinates, based on Grote Reber's pioneering observations. But throughout her academic career, her main research interests were in determining the radial velocities of stars and the orbits of spectroscopic binary stars.

Professor Northcott taught an Extension Course for teachers for nearly 20 years and was completely responsible for the laboratory work for astronomy students at the University. She took a rare personal interest in her students, photographing her classes and keeping in touch with many graduates.

In 1935, Miss Northcott joined the RASC nd held office in the Toronto Centre as Recorder, Vice-Chairman and ultimately Chairman in 1943. She also made significant contributions as assistant editor (1951–1956) and editor (1956–1969) of the Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada (RASC) and of the RASC's annual Observer's Handbook.

Miss Northcott was elected RASC National President from 1963 to 1965, and served on the RASC National Council for many years. She frequently spoke at meetings on a wide variety of topics, served on the Public Star Night Committee, answered queries from the question box, reviewed current astronomical happenings at each meeting, and gave a series of short lectures intended to acquaint new members with the use of the RASC Observer's Handbook.

Outside of astronomy, she was an avid photographer and naturalist, and a skilled painter in the style of the Group of Seven. She travelled widely, both for astronomical business, and for pleasure.

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