Rolf Meier | The Canadian Encyclopedia


Rolf Meier

Rolf Georg Walter Meier, electronics designer, amateur astronomer (born 24 July 1953 in Goslar, West Germany; died 26 June 2016 in Ottawa, ON). Meier made unique discoveries of four new comets, all named after him.

Rolf Meier immigrated to Canada in 1958 and grew up in Ottawa. After receiving a Bachelor of Engineering from Carleton University in 1977, he was employed by Mitel Corporation, a telecommunications company (see Electronics Industry). Meier started building his own telescopes in the late 1960s and joined the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada (RASC) in 1970. In 1974, he began a systematic search for new comets using the 400 mm telescope of the RASC. He discovered Comet Meier 1978f on 26 April 1978, a first for a Canadian astronomer observing in Canada. He was awarded the Chant Medal of the RASC in 1979. He followed up his initial success with additional comet discoveries in 1979, 1980 and 1984. His total search time for all four comets was under 200 hours, a remarkable observational record that he attributed to using a larger aperture than normal in comet hunting.