Arthur Covington

(1913-2001) Canada's first radio astronomer; Service Award 1981; RASC Honorary President (1986-89).

ARTHUR E. COVINGTON (1913-2001) joined the Vancouver Centre as a high-school student. He built and operated amateur radio station VE55 from 1930-32 and made his own 13 cm reflecting telescope, two hobbies which would later merge to make him Canada's pioneer radio astronomer.

After earning his B.A. and M.A. degrees from the University of British Columbia, he went in 1940 to the University of California in Berkeley. The War effort, however, brought him back to Canada and he accepted a position at NRC working on the development of radar. As he himself wrote, "When the opportunity to do other than radar investigations occurred at the cessation of hostilities, I presented a short account of the possibilities of research in cosmic noise to my immediate superior." His proposal was accepted and by 1946 Covington was doing his first solar microwave astronomy.

As a member of the Ottawa Centre, he published his first RASC paper in the Journal in 1951 and gave his first RASC speech to the Montreal Centre on the Reception of Radio Noise from the Sun, Moon and Galaxy. The same year, his wife was mentioned as a member of a string quartet playing for the Ottawa Centre Annual meeting. In 1954 he became the 1st Vice-President of the Ottawa Centre and the first Chairman of the Observers' Group. He was Centre President in 1956-57.

Over the years, dozens of papers by Arthur Covington appeared in the Journal. Most were naturally connected with his research at NRC, but many were of a historical nature. His concern for our astronomical heritage was a great asset to the RASC Historical Committee of which he was a member and Chairman for a number of years. He received the Service Award in 1981 and he was an active and interested Honorary President 1986-89.

Peter Broughton (from Looking Up)


Further Reading


Covington, Arthur E.