Home Page of Slavek Rucinski

Professor Emeritus at the Department of Astronomy

Updated December 2013

I have been retired since July 2009, but I try to continue research (see below). If you are interested, you may wish to peruse my shortened CV. In short, my professional life spanned between Warsaw, Poland (1965 - 1984) and Toronto, Canada (1984 - now), but with several longer stays in other places: Post-Doc in Gainesville, Florida (1970 - 1971), the Plaskett Fellowship (apparently the first awarded) in the Dominion Astrophysical Observatory, Victoria, B.C. (1975 - 1977), Max Planck Institute, Munich (1980 - 1982), and the Institute of Astronomy, Cambridge University (1982 - 1984). In 1997 - 1998, I worked as the Canadian Resident Astronomer at the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope in Hawaii. In Toronto, I worked in the Institute for Space and Terrestrial Science (1987 - 1997), but over most of the years (1984 - 2009) I was associated with the University of Toronto; in particular, in 1999 - 2008, I managed the David Dunlap Observatory (DDO) before its closure on July 2, 2008.

Here are some pictures collected over the years.

A Wikipedia article (in Polish)

Research activities

My research is related mostly to the problem of the angular momentum evolution in stars, from the stage of formation to coalescence. I have worked some time ago on the interstellar polarization, star formation, proto-stellar disks and stellar atmospheres, but most of my work currently is related to binary stars, especially contact binary stars. A larger recent project involved the use of the DDO 1.88m telescope for spectroscopic observations of close binary stars. For this and similar work I developed the Broadening Function approach which gives far superior results to the Cross-Correlation Function. I am currently very much involved in the MOST and BRITE satellite projects. My other interests are large variable-star databases, including those from micro-lensing surveys such as OGLE or MACHO. For more details on my work, please see my publications as listed below.

A successful proposal to the Canadian Space Agency in 1997 (with Dr. Kieran Carroll of Dynacon, Toronto and University of Toronto Institute for Aerospace Studies (UTIAS)) initiated the MOST micro-satellite project. The MOST project is led by Prof.J.Matthews at the University of British Columbia MOST operations centre, UTIAS Space Flight Lab and Dynacon in Toronto. The satellite was launched in 2003 and still performs very well. In addition to ~200 primary-target pointings lasting typically a few weeks, the satellite has observed >2000 secondary targets.

In 2003, prompted by a question of Dr.R.Zee from the UTIAS Space Flight Lab, I initiated a project to develop a very small nano-satellite for astronomy, the "BRIte Target Explorer", BRITE. A single BRITE is a cube 20cm in size with a small lens telescope to observe variability of at least 300 brightest stars with accuracy better than 0.1%. Paradoxically, variability of the brightest stars is currently relatively poorly known due to difficulties with relative photometry over large angular distances in the sky, in the presence of atmospheric extinction. BRITE is one (CanX-3) in the series nano-satellites, built at UTIAS. A PPT presentation from 2005 gives a description of the original idea; for newer design features, please consult other pages given there.
The BRITE project has received funds in Canada in December 2010 for a launch planned for 2014. The Austrian colleagues have been able to arrange funding for two BRITE satellites , which were launched in the Spring of 2013. In December 2009, Poland decided to add two more satellites to join the BRITE constellation. The first, "Lem", was launched in 2013. There have been interest from other countries in joining the constellation. At the time of writing (December 2013) the BRITE Constellation will consist of 6 satellites.

PDF documents describing the early history of the BRITE project.

I have been the member of the Polish Astronomical Society since 1966, of the International Astronomical Union since 1973 and of the Canadian Astronomical Society since 1985. I was the Vice President (2003) and then President (2006) of the International Astronomical Union Commission 42 (Close Binary Stars).


I teach occasionally in the Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics and in the School of Continuing Studies (Life formation in the Universe, extra-solar planets, etc.). I have been also a MSc Co-advisor in the Space Flight Laboratory of UTIAS. Over the recent years, I have typically one Post-Doctoral collaborator working with me at the Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics of University of Toronto.

Publications and citations

Publications since 1966, listed in a reverse chronological order, but apparently not all (297) because the NASA-ADS database lists 373 publications. This list is not going to be updated (it shows papers to April 2012) because all papers can be easily found using the ADS database.

As of December 2013:
- Published papers: 402
- Citations: 7712.
- The Hirsch index "h": 46
- Normalized citations: 3946.
- The Hirsch normalized index "h(norm)": 32.

Material related to my research

How to Contact Me:

The postal address is:
Department of Astronomy & Astrophysics
University of Toronto
50 St. George Street
Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5S 3H4.

Better than using my UofT postal address, please contact me using my e-mail: rucinski_AT_astro.utoronto.ca
(replace _AT_ by the correct character) because I work mostly at home.

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