Jack B. Newton

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John "Jack" Borden Newton (born 13 August 1942, Winnipeg, Manitoba) is a Canadian astronomer, best known for his publications and images in amateur astrophotography both in film and CCD.


Newton took his first astrophotograph when he was 13 years old of the planet Saturn. He invented "cold camera" astrophotography, allowing for substantially longer exposures on film.

In 1991 Newton became the first amateur astrophotographer to make full (RGB) color CCD images of celestial objects using a Santa Barbara Instruments Group ST-4 camera, making a full color CCD image of M57, the "Ring Nebula" and M27, the "Dumbbell Nebula". He took three separate black and white images, each taken with a separate filter in red, blue, and green, which were later combined in software that was being developed for amateur astrophotography by Richard Berry, then editor of Astronomy magazine. Berry published the first combined color CCD image of M27 as his magazine's cover.


Newton has published six books on amateur astronomy and astrophotography. His first book, Astrophotography: From Film to Infinity, was published in 1974.

He has had two books published by Cambridge University Press: the Cambridge Deep-Sky Album in 1983, ISBN 978-0521256681, and the Guide to Amateur Astronomy in 1995, ISBN 978-0521444927.

Awards and recognition[edit]

He received the Queen Elizabeth II Silver Jubilee Medal in 1977 for his contributions to science.[1] He is the Honorary Patron of the Cotswold Astronomical Society.

In 2005, Carolyn S. Shoemaker and David H. Levy named an asteroid, 30840 Jackalice = 1991 GC2, in honor of Newton's astrophotographic accomplishments and of Jack and Alice Newton's work in astronomy outreach.[2]

In 2006, Newton was selected by unanimous vote of the AL council for honorary membership in the Astronomical League, an association of over 200 local amateur astronomy societies promoting astronomy.

Newton is on the board of advisors of Meade Instruments' 4M Community Outreach program, which was established to help amateur astronomers.

In 2006, Newton was elected by membership of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific to a third term of office on its board of trustees. During an earlier term, he led the launch of Project Astro, which aims to assist astronomers and teachers in the classroom. Newton was the recipient of the Amateur Achievement Award of Astronomical Society of the Pacific in 1988 for his work in astrophotography.[1] This award "recognizes significant observational or technological contributions to astronomy or amateur astronomy by an individual not employed in the field of astronomy in a professional capacity".

He is a member of the Puckett Observatory World Supernova Search Team, and is officially credited with one pre-discovery, over 200 discoveries and co-discoveries, and one cataclysmic variable discovery in June 2010.[3]

Newton helped establish the astronomy program at Pearson College UWC, to which he donated his 25-inch Newtonian telescope. The Newtons are honorary patrons of the College.

Newton has been past-president of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada's centers in Winnipeg, Toronto, and Victoria, British Columbia. He was elected as a Life Member in 1978. His photos appear on the cover of the 2007 Observer’s Handbook, and in the RASC calendar. The Victoria Center created a "Newton/Ball" (Jack Newton/George Ball) award, which it gives annually as a service award.

Current work[edit]

Newton's photographs and articles appear frequently in Astronomy magazine and his images have appeared in Skynews (Canada) and in Sterne und Weltraum, a journal of the Max Planck Institute in Germany. His solar images appeared in National Geographic's 2004 special edition entitled Exploring Space - the universe in pictures, Time Inc.'s Life - the Year in Pictures (2003 & 2004), and in Sky & Telescopes 2004 Beautiful Universe issue. In 2007 one of his solar images was used for the lead-in to the science section in Life: Platinum Edition Anniversary Collection—70 Years of Extraordinary Photography.

His astrophotographs have appeared in the Audubon Field Guide to the Night Sky, and in Nightwatch, an astronomy book by Terence Dickinson, with whom Newton co-wrote Splendors of the Universe: A Practical Guide to Photographing the Night Sky, 1997, ISBN 978-1552091418.

The Newtons own and operate an astronomy-themed bed and breakfast near Osoyoos in the Okanagan Valley of British Columbia. Guests can receive optional tutorial sessions in astronomy. They are also co-founders of the Arizona Sky Village, an astronomy and nature-oriented development in Portal, Arizona.

He also campaigns for the dark-sky movement.

Preceded by
Clinton B. Ford
Amateur Achievement Award of Astronomical Society of the Pacific
Succeeded by
Paul Baize


  1. ^ a b "Jack Newton (1942- )". AstroLAB, Mont-Mégantic National Park. Retrieved 22 December 2014. 
  2. ^ "30840 Jackalice (1991 GC2)". JPL Small-Body Database Browser. Jet Propulsion Laboratory. 
  3. ^ "Puckett Observatory list of supernova". http://cometwatch.com/. June 23, 2013. Retrieved September 18, 2017.  External link in |website= (help)

External links[edit]