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Meteorite fragment part of design

Reverse of Canada’s proof $20 celebrating the 150th anniversary of the founding of The Royal Astronomical Society of Canada. Note fragment of Campo del Cielo iron. (Image courtesy Royal Canadian Mint)

This year marks the 150th anniversary of The Royal Astronomical Society of Canada. It began life in 1868 as the Toronto Astronomical Club. In 1890, it became legally incorporated as The Astronomical and Physical Society of Toronto.

A petition to King Edward VII saw the group granted use of the prefix “Royal” in its name. On March 3, 1903, it was officially renamed The Royal Astronomical Society of Canada. At the time, it had 120 members. Today, branches can be found in every Canadian province with the exception of Prince Edward Island.

To mark the 150th anniversary, the Royal Canadian Mint has produced a colored 38 mm, 31.39 g .9999 fine silver $20 proof. The reverse design by Alexandra Lefort provides a scientifically accurate rendering of the RASC’s 150th graphic logo.

The logo makes several references to Canadian contributions to stellar spectroscopy and photometry. These have been interpreted on the coin as the Pillars of Creation in the Eagle Nebula where the formation of new stars symbolizes both the RASC’s beginnings and its anniversary.

The Moon eclipsing the Sun acknowledges the lunar calendars of the First Nations and the role astronomy played in guiding early European explorers in Canada. Beneath, the Andromeda galaxy salutes Canada’s observational cosmologists.

Planet Earth itself is topped off by the Aurora Borealis that is an essential part of Canada’s space-weather.

The coin’s design includes an iron meteorite fragment from the Campo del Cielo strewn field. The meteorite and Quebec’s Manicouagan crater give more than a passing nod to the RASC’s longstanding interest in planetary geology, meteorite dynamics and impact cratering.

Mintage is 5,500. The coins proved an instant sellout at the RCM online shop, and those missing out will need to go to their favorite dealer.


This article was originally printed in World Coin News. >> Subscribe today.


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