The reverse design by Alexandra Lefort is a re-interpretation of The Royal Astronomical Society of Canada’s sesquicentennial logo in a scientifically accurate, photorealism art style. The original logo features stars that allude to Canadian contributions to stellar spectroscopy and photometry, and a globular cluster that honours the scientific work of Helen Sawyer Hogg and Canada’s cooperative partnerships; both are colourfully re-imagined here as the Eagle Nebula—specifically the pillars of interstellar gas and dust known as the Pillars of Creation, where the formation of new stars is a symbolic representation of the RASC’s beginnings (and by extension, its anniversary).
A fixture in RASC public outreach efforts, the Moon was chosen to represent the lunar calendars of the First Nations peoples, and the navigational astronomy that guided many European discoverers during Canada’s early history. Beneath it, the Andromeda galaxy — the nearest major galaxy to our own — is a symbolic ode to Canadian contributions to cosmology.
Blazing as it burns through Earth’s upper atmosphere, the depiction of a meteor is topped by a genuine iron meteorite fragment sourced from the Campo del Cielo meteorite fields, where the impact craters date back an estimated 4,500 years. Both the meteorite and the view of the Manicouagan crater in Quebec are a nod to the RASC’s longstanding interest in the study of planet geology, meteor dynamics and impact cratering, and to the excellence of Canadian research in these fields. Always fascinating, the space-weather phenomenon of the aurora borealis adds a “True North” flourish that a design that encapsulates 150 years of exploring the cosmos. The reverse also includes the word “CANADA”, the double commemorative dates “1868 – 2018”, and the face value “20 DOLLARS”. The obverse features the effigy of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II by Susanna Blunt.