Canadians in Radio Astronomy

University of Alberta observatory domes


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Updated March 14, 2011

Under construction.

Canadians have made a number of significant contributions to the field of radio astronomy. 

Forward Scatter Meteor detection:

During the mid-1970's, the advent of the personal computer made it possible for amateurs to establish forward-scatter data collection systems for infalls of meteors into the Earth's atmosphere. The American Meteor Society established the Radio Scatter Program in 1977. It created a network of receiving stations to automatically collect data  24 hours per day. In 1984 Kenneth Pilon, a Canadian amateur, conducted ground breaking experiments using a TRS-80 personal computer to detect and make graphic printouts of meteor events. (Source:

The Sun

In 1946, Canadian scientists led by Arthur Covington began a solar observing program that has since run continuously and has provided a daily baseline of solar flux emission measurements since then.

At the Ottawa Radio Field Station on November 23, 1946, this program established the temperature of the Sun's corona over sunspots at 1.5 million degrees Kelvin.

Canada's solar observatory operated at the Algonquin Radio Observatory until 1991 when it was moved to the Dominion Radio Astrophysical Observatory in Penticton.

Primary solar telescope and backup system. Graph of cumulative daily solar flux readings since 1946.

See more information about Canada's radio astronomy observatory at Penticton.

Very Long Baseline Interferometer

The 46 meter telescope of the Algonquin Radio Observatory began operating in May of 1966. This telescope, pictured below, was used in the Very Long Baseline Interferometry (VLBI) project in 1967. In 1991, the National Research Council terminated its support for the Algonquin Radio Observatory and transferred responsibility for it over to Natural Resources Canada, which now uses this telescope in VLBI projects to measure the movements of continental plates in Geodetic surveys.

Canadian Radio Telescopes

Dominion Radio Astrophysical Observatory

Algonquin Radio Observatory

Canadian Amateur Radio Astronomers

More information to follow.


Copyright 1999-2015 by Sky Scan, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. 

We gratefully acknowledge the financial support of the 

Edmonton Centre of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, Department of Physics (University of Alberta)

and the

Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada

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