I have been an active amateur astronomer since the early 1980s, am a life member of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada (RASC), and am a past-president of the Halifax Chapter and of the national Society.
From 1992-2022 (now retired), I was employed as the Astronomy Technician (later Observatory Director) and Systems Administrator at the Department of Astronomy and Physics at Saint Mary's University (Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada) where I was responsible for:
- the Burke-Gaffney Observatory (all aspects - director, technician, outreach delivery, and snow remover)
- the development of the world's first observatory with a fully automatic social media interface
- the department's computing infrastructure (Solaris Unix, then later Linux and even Windows!)
- the High-Performance Computing administrator for the Institute for Computational Astrophysics and a founding technical architect for ACEnet
Prior to working at SMU, I developed instrumentation systems for oceanography and meteorology and led the "hardware group" at Seimac Limited (later Cobham Tracking & Locating - no longer in business).
My primary astronomical interests are observatory automation, contributing to amateur astronomical science projects (such as variable star observing), public outreach, and deep sky observing.
I also operate the very-part-time business, Nova Astronomics, whose primary work involves the development and distribution of The Earth Centered Universe (ECU), a Planetarium and Telescope Control Program for Microsoft Windows.
I also hold the distinction, along with Paul Gray of being the first and second Canadians to discover any supernovae (1995F in NGC 2726 and 2005B in UGC11066) from within Canada.
Outside of astronomy, I am a sailor that races and cruises a 30-foot C&C 30-2 sailboat. I also volunteer in several capacities at the St Margaret Sailing Club.
Notable Awards and Recognition
- From the RASC
- Chant Medal (1996) - the highest award for amateur contributions to astronomy in Canada.
- Ken Chilton Prize (1995 and 2010) - awarded annually to an amateur astronomer resident in Canada, in recognition of a significant piece of astronomical work carried out or published recently.
- Service Award (1998) - recognizes the contributions of members who, at either the National or Centre levels, have made a significant contribution to the life and vitality of the Society.
- President's Award (2013) - given at the President's discretion to a member who has made an important contribution to the Society.
- Fellowship Award (2015) - acknowledges the work of long-serving members. It recognizes those outstanding members who have made extraordinary contributions to the Society over the long term, much of which service has been rendered at the national level.
- From SMU
- The President's Award for Exemplary Service (2008)
- From the Discovery Centre
- Science Champion (2007) - awarded to a working scientist, technology professional, full-time science teacher/professor, journalist, radio or TV personality who devotes time to the promotion of science and technology to the public.
- From the IAU
- Asteriod (117032) Davidlane was named after me - the citation reads: David Lane (b. 1963) is the author of The Earth Centered Universe, a brilliantly easy-to-use planetarium and telescope-control program. With Paul Gray, Lane has discovered three supernovae---SN1995F, 2005B and 2005ea. He is scheduled to assume the presidency of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada in June 2008.