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John Stanley Plaskett CBE FRS[2] (November 17, 1865 – October 17, 1941) was a Canadian astronomer.

John Stanley Plaskett
BornNovember 17, 1865 (1865-11-17)
DiedOctober 17, 1941 (1941-10-18) (aged 75)
AwardsBruce Medal (1932)
Flavelle Medal (1932)
Scientific career
InstitutionsDominion Astrophysical Observatory

He worked as a machinist, and was offered a job as a mechanician at the Department of Physics at the University of Toronto, constructing apparatus and assisting with demonstrations during lectures. He found this so interesting that at the age of 30 he enrolled as an undergraduate in mathematics and physics. He stayed at the university until 1903, doing research on color photography.

His formal astronomical career did not start until 1903, when he was appointed to the staff at Dominion Observatory in Ottawa, Ontario. He measured radial velocities and studied spectroscopic binaries, and performed the first detailed analysis of galactic structure.[3] His mechanical background was very useful for constructing various instruments. He became first director of the Dominion Astrophysical Observatory in Victoria, British Columbia in 1917 (not to be confused with the old Dominion Observatory in Ottawa).

His son, Harry Hemley Plaskett, also pursued a very successful career in astronomy, winning the Gold Medal of the Royal Astronomical Society in 1963, thereby making the Plasketts one of the very few families to boast more than one Medal winner. [4]

An authoritative biography of JS Plaskett was published in 2018[5], coinciding with the centennial of the Dominion Astrophysical Observatory.



Named after himEdit


  1. ^ a b Rice, Hugh S. (1976). "Plaskett, John Stanley". In William D. Halsey (ed.). Collier's Encyclopedia. 19. New York: Macmillan Educational Corporation. p. 128.
  2. ^ Jones, H. S. (1942). "John Stanley Plaskett. 1865-1941". Obituary Notices of Fellows of the Royal Society. 4 (11): 67–69. doi:10.1098/rsbm.1942.0007.
  3. ^ "Died this day", The Globe and Mail, October 16, 2004; page F-10
  4. ^ "Presidential Address on the Award of the Gold Medal to Professor Harry Hemley Plaskett". Quarterly Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society. 4: 176. 1963. Bibcode:1963QJRAS...4..176.
  5. ^ Broughton, R. Peter (2018). Northern Star:J.S. Plaskett. University of Toronto Press.
  6. ^ "Winners of the Gold Medal of the Royal Astronomical Society". Royal Astronomical Society. Archived from the original on 25 May 2011. Retrieved 24 February 2011.
  7. ^ "Past Recipients of the Rumford Prize". American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Retrieved 24 February 2011.
  8. ^ "Past Winners of the Catherine Wolfe Bruce Gold Medal". Astronomical Society of the Pacific. Retrieved 24 February 2011.
  9. ^ "Henry Draper Medal". National Academy of Sciences. Archived from the original on 26 January 2013. Retrieved 24 February 2011.
  10. ^ NRC-HIA Plaskett Fellowship / Bourse Plaskett de l'IHA-CNRC Archived 2008-06-23 at the Wayback Machine at
  11. ^[permanent dead link]
  12. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2009-05-14. Retrieved 2009-09-08.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)

External linksEdit