Photostory #425: Canada's National Research Council Probes High -- at the North Magnetic Pole
National Film Board of Canada
September 13, 1966
Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography fonds, National Gallery of Canada Library and Archives
Two sleek Canadian-designed and built Black Brant III scientific rockets have been fired 100 miles high into the upper atmosphere at Resolute Bay, Cornwallis Island, adjacent to the north magnetic pole. The first rockets ever to be fired in the Canadian arctic, their sophisticated instrumentation primarily probed cosmic X-rays which are expected to have information on the origin of the universe, how it formed and whether it is expanding or contracting. Both rockets were launched by Bristol Aerospace Ltd. of Winnipeg under the direction of the National Research Council and contained special detectors developed by the University of Calgary. The measurement of cosmic X-rays, coming from sources deep in galactic space, is made difficult by contamination with radiation trapped in the earth's magnetic field which produces its own X-rays. At the north magnetic pole, however, the swirling lines of magnetic force produce a relative vortex which can be used as a small open window to sample the radiation of outer space. This latest inquiry into the mysteries of space is another example of the extensive and varied work underway by Canada's National Research Council and the nation's growing technological facilities for promoting scientific research.