Celebrating John Galt: a workshop and a telescope dedication

By Tim Robishaw and Sean Dougherty (DRAO)
(Cassiopeia – Winter 2014)

Sean Dougherty, Rena Galt & Tim Robishaw

Sean Dougherty, Rena Galt & Tim Robishaw

A workshop was held at Dominion Radio Astrophysical Observatory (DRAO) Sep 22 and 23 to celebrate the career of John A. Galt (1925-2012) and to dedicate the 26-meter telescope in his honour. John was the first employee of the observatory in 1957 and was its director from 1962 to 1981. Many former DRAO staff returned for the dedication ceremony to watch the Director General of NRC-Herzberg, Greg Fahlman, and John’s wife, Rena Galt, unveil a new sign on the tower of the 26-meter showing its new name, the “John A. Galt Telescope”. The new sign had been hidden behind a white sheet, held in place by a truly Galtian contraption of twine and paper clips. Plaques describing John’s accomplishments were mounted nearby.

DSC02309A number of distinguished visitors travelled to Penticton to provide an overview of the work that was done by John during his career as well as current work that has followed in the areas of John’s observational research. Topics covered included Zeeman splitting of the 21-cm line, the Dominion A catalog of 20-cm sources, protection of the radio spectrum, pulsars, fast radio bursts, long baseline scintillometry, radio observations of comets, diffuse polarized Galactic emission, and the CHIME telescope. Some of the first-time visitors to the observatory have suggested novel projects for the telescopes on site, including the new John A. Galt Telescope, with one researcher even planning to publish a paper using John’s extensive hydroxyl observations of Comet Halley using the 26-meter.

A website has been created collecting photos and presentations from the workshop, a historical timeline of John’s career, and a video interview with John.

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