Dominion Astrophysical Observatory (DAO)

Hear about the building of the telescope.

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© Canadian Heritage Information Network 2003



Almost as soon as the telescope had recorded its first spectrogram astronomers at DAO began establishing research landmarks. A comprehensive survey of pairs of stars in orbit around each other vastly expanded our knowledge of their sizes, temperatures and masses through study of their gravitational effects on each other. Discovery of the most massive binary star, and the most massive star known. Determination of the size and mass of the Milky Way galaxy, the beautiful system of stars, dust and gas which is home to our very own star, the sun, and its planets. Revelation of the two hundred and twenty million year orbit we follow above the center of the galaxy. Demonstration that matter is widely distributed between the stars, a fact that made us reconsider the true size of the galaxy. Discovery of the first molecules in interstellar space, including organic molecules that are central to life, and measurement of the temperature of inter-stellar space, warmed by heat left over from the birth of the universe some fifteen billion years ago.

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