The International Astronomical Union’s Minor Planet Center based at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics today named an asteroid after Dr. James E. Hesser of Canada’s National Research Council (NRC). The asteroid was discovered on August 13, 1997, by David Balam of the University of Victoria, using NRC’s 1.8m Plaskett telescope in Victoria, British Columbia.

Dr. Hesser is one of Canada’s leading astronomers. He has contributed significantly to a number of research areas, such as stellar populations and chemical evolution in nearby galaxies with emphasis on the cosmologically interesting oldest stars and star clusters. He is renowned for promoting interest in astronomy among B.C. schoolchildren and received the Michael Smith Award for Science Promotion in 1997. Dr. Hesser is acting Director General of the NRC Herzberg Institute of Astrophysics (NRC-HIA).

“Dr. Hesser is a great scientist and a great Canadian,” said Dr. Arthur Carty, NRC President. “We are certainly proud of his role as a leader and researcher at NRC and join in celebrating this recognition from the international astronomy community.”

NRC is mandated to operate and manage Canada’s national astronomical research facilities. Canadian astronomy ranks among the top three nations in the world in terms of the quality, output and impact of the publications and other contributions of its scientists. The National Research Council has played an important role in creating and managing key astronomy facilities and programs around the world.

Recognized globally for research and innovation, Canada’s National Research Council (NRC) is a leader in the development of an innovative, knowledge-based economy for Canada through science and technology.

For more information, please contact:

Lise Lafontaine
National Research Council
Tel: (613) 990-4234
Cell: (613) 297-0599

Kevin Farris
NRC Herzberg Institute of Astrophysics
Tel: (250) 363-6951