CBC Digital Archives

Astronomy: Amateur astronomer discovers new comet

In 1609 Italian astronomer Galileo Galilei unveiled his first telescope. To mark the occasion, the United Nations declared 2009 the International Year of Astronomy. It is a year "to help the citizens of the world rediscover their place in the universe through the day and nighttime sky, and thereby engage a personal sense of wonder and discovery." The CBC Digital Archives looks at Canadian contributors to astronomy and our own trip through the cosmos.

For the amateur astronomer, patience is truly a virtue, and sometimes that patience eventually pays off. For Vance Petriew it came while taking just another couple of hours on the early morning of Aug. 18, 2001, to point his telescope toward the crab nebula. This time, by chance, he discoveres a comet. In this report from CBC News, we meet Vance Petriew and hear how finding a new comet rewarded his diligent gaze.
• Vance Petriew was born in Regina. In 2009 he was the president of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, Regina Centre. It is one of 29 centres across Canada whose members include amateur and professional astronomers as well as educators. 

• The crab nebula contains celestial remnants of a supernova, or a star that has imploded. Its mixture of interstellar dust particles, hydrogen gas, helium gas and plasma make it an interesting and important subject of study to learn about the formation of planets and stars.  

• Rick Huziak was born in Yorkton, Sask., in 1957. He was president of the Saskatoon chapter of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada for six years. In 2007, he was given an environmental award for his work in reducing light pollution and energy conservation in Saskatchewan.

Medium: Television
Program: The National
Broadcast Date: Aug. 21, 2001
Guest(s): Rick Huziak, Vance Petriew, Stan Shadick
Anchor: Alison Smith
Reporter: Jo Lynn Sheane
Duration: 2:26

Last updated: February 13, 2012

Page consulted on April 2, 2013

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