Cassiopeia Newsletter – 2014 Winter Solstice


FSR 584 - Pouponnière d'étoiles ou vieil amas globulaire dans la plan galactique? Cette image prise avec la caméra infrarouge WIRCam au télescope Canada-France-Hawaï réfute l'hypothèse de l'amas globulaire car le nombre d'étoiles comprises dans FSR 584 est trop faible pour maintenir une cohésion gravitationnelle à long terme. (de/from Loïc Albert, U. de Montréal)

FSR 584 – Pouponnière d’étoiles ou vieil amas globulaire dans la plan galactique?
Cette image prise avec la caméra infrarouge WIRCam au télescope Canada-France-Hawaï réfute l’hypothèse de l’amas globulaire car le nombre d’étoiles comprises dans FSR 584 est trop faible pour maintenir une cohésion gravitationnelle à long terme.
(de/from Loïc Albert, U. de Montréal)

In this issue:

President’s report
Celebrating John Galt: workshop and telescope dedication
ALMA Update
Arctic Update
Astrosat News
CSA Update/Compte rendu de l’ASC
Gemini News / Nouvelles de Gemini
Herschel-HIFI News
Nouvelles du CNRC Herzberg / NRC Herzberg News
A Final Dispatch from the JCMT
Modèle d’évolution de galaxies pour simulations cosmologiques à grande échelle (résumé de thèse doctorale)

Editors: Magdalen Normandeau & Joanne Rosvick

Cassiopeia is CASCA’s quarterly Newsletter, published on or near the solstices and equinoxes (March 21, June 21, September 21 and December 21). To submit a contribution please email All submissions must be received at least one week in advance to be published in the next edition. We accept plain text and Word documents. Note that the formatting of your document will not be preserved. Please include any images as attachments in your email, not embedded in the text. Please include URLs in parentheses next to the word or phrase that you wish to act as link anchors.

President’s report


By Chris Wilson, CASCA president
(Cassiopeia – Winter 2014)

Hi, everyone,

This has been a busy fall for CASCA, ACURA, and the Coalition for Canadian Astronomy, with major lobbying efforts on behalf of the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT). The three Coalition co-chairs (Don Brooks representing ACURA, Guy Nelson representing industry, and myself representing CASCA) traveled to Ottawa on October 20 to meet with staff members in the offices of the Minister of Industry, the Minister of Finance, and the Privy Council Office. We will be going back to Ottawa for additional meetings reaching out to different branches of the government on December 16. In November, Guy Nelson joined a Canadian trade mission to China, which gave him additional opportunities to raise the need for TMT funding with politicians involved in that visit. The individual co-chairs have also been busy writing letters to provide updates on the TMT project to other high-level politicians and their staff. In parallel, individual astronomers have had considerable success meeting with their university presidents and raising the TMT issue with them. Several of the key university presidents are now engaged with the TMT issue and are working to make this project a reality. The rules and application deadlines for the first round of the Canada First Research Excellence Fund (CFREF) were published in early December, which has been very helpful in clarifying the structure of this new funding program. While it may be that some part of the TMT funding can ultimately flow from CFREF, it seems clear that CFREF funding is unlikely to be the sole or even a major source of funds for the TMT construction project.

You might be wondering whether, with all the work we have been doing, we have been given any hints as to the likely success of obtaining TMT construction funding. The reality is that we will only learn whether or not we have been successful on the day that the 2015 federal budget is announced. The secrecy surrounding the federal budget is not new; indeed, we were in a similar situation in 2003 when we needed additional funding for ALMA. I remain cautiously hopeful that we will be successful in obtaining funding for the TMT.

Another important focus of our community this year is the Mid-Term Review (MTR) of the 2010 Long Range Plan, which is now well under way. There have been a very good number of white papers submitted to the MTR panel, with just a few late ones expected as I write this. The white papers are available in the MTR area of the CASCA web site and I urge you to have a look at the ones the overlap with your particular interests.

The MTR panel will be holding three town hall meetings in late March: in Montreal on Tuesday, March 24; in Toronto on Wednesday, March 25; and in Victoria on Thursday, March 26. Please try to attend one of these town hall meetings if you can; they are an important opportunity for you to raise issues with the MTR panel and for the panel to hear about the concerns and priorities of our wider community.

The CASCA Board has been hard at work for you this fall. We sent out a call to Canadian astronomers who were not yet members of the International Astronomical Union inviting them to apply for membership in advance of the 2015 IAU General Assembly, and over 40 people responded positively. We committed some of the surplus that had built up in the Westar fund to supporting the “Discover the Universe” initiative for the next three years, providing some much needed continuity as they wait to hear the results of the next round of NSERC PromoScience grants. We are also working with the EPO committee to decide how to rejuvenate the Westar public lecture series. We are continuing to work on completing the translation of key pages for the French version of the website and trying to do a better job keeping the English and French websites synchronized, for example by posting English-language press releases and job advertisements on both websites. We have completed the renewal of the members of the various CASCA committees and are starting to explore possible areas for collaboration with the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada (RASC).

I also want to draw your attention to the 2015 CASCA annual meeting, which will be hosted by McMaster University. The dates of the meeting are May 24-27, with an MTR session held for part of the day on May 28. You can expect to hear more information about the meeting in February via the email exploder. The 2016 AGM will be hosted by the University of Manitoba and Brandon University in Winnipeg.

Finally, congratulations to Sara Ellison, who in October was awarded the Rutherford Medal in Physics from the Royal Society of Canada.

Postdoctoral Position in Galaxy Clusters and Galaxy Evolution

Due by January 9, 2015.

Applications are invited for a postdoctoral position in the areas of high-redshift galaxy clusters and galaxy evolution at the Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics (DAA), University of Toronto. The successful candidate will work with Prof. Howard Yee and key team members (e.g., M. Balogh, U.Waterloo; A. Muzzin, Cambridge) on the analysis of high-redshift galaxy cluster observations from the GOREEN (Gemini Observations of Galaxies in Early Rich Environments) project.  GOGREEN is an ongoing Gemini Large Program which will obtain optical spectroscopy on hundreds of cluster members at z>1. The candidate is also expected to lead deep multi-band imaging observations to support this program. Additional scientific projects using data from the SpARCS and GCLASS surveys are also available, and the candidate will be encouraged to pursue his/her own research in related areas.  The position requires a PhD in astronomy/astrophysics. Expertise in optical/IR imaging and/or spectroscopic
data is required. The initial appointment is for two years, renewable for a third depending on performance.

The DAA has strong ties to the recently-found Dunlap Institute for Astronomy and Astrophysics and CITA.  The successful candidate will have access to Canadian national facilities such as CFHT and Gemini on a competitive basis.

Applicants should provide a cover letter, a CV, and a summary of research interests and accomplishments (3 pages maximum), and arrange to have three letters of reference sent to the above address, by January 9, 2015. Only electronic applications (in pdf files) are accepted.

McGill Space Institute Coordinator

Deadline is January 30, 2015.

McGill University has recently created the McGill Space Institute ( and requires a dynamic, outgoing individual to coordinate internal centre interactions and events, workshops, do administration including assistance with grant applications, reports and logistics, as well as organizing outreach events and initiatives for the McGill community and the general public.  The successful candidate with have a PhD in a field related to astrophysics, planetary science or astrobiology, and will be granted 25% of their time to work on research of direct relevance to cosmology, astrophysics, planetary science, or astrobiology.  Excellent communication skills are required; ability to communicate effectively in French is a strong asset.   Experience in outreach at all levels is also a strong asset. The position is for 2 years, with renewal by mutual agreement and contingent on funding.  Salary will be commensurate with experience.

Please email a CV, a 1-page written statement of interest, and names and contact information of 3 references, bundled into a single pdf file, to:

The deadline for applications is January 30, 2015.

All qualified applicants are encouraged to apply; however, in accordance with Canadian immigration requirements, Canadians and permanent residents will be given priority.

Stage postdoctoral en astrophysique à l’Université de Montréal

Prière de faire parvenir avant le 1er avril 2015.

Le Centre de recherche en astrophysique du Québec (CRAQ) offre un stage postdoctoral en astrophysique à l’Université de Montréal (Québec, Canada). Le CRAQ est un organisme interuniversitaire regroupant les astrophysiciens de l’Université de Montréal, de l’Université Laval, de l’Université McGill et de l’Université Bishop’s. Les candidats devront œuvrer dans un domaine de l’astrophysique rejoignant les intérêts de recherche des professeurs du groupe d’astronomie de l’Université de Montréal, qui incluent l’astrophysique stellaire, les exoplanètes, la physique solaire, les trous noirs, l’astronomie extragalactique et l’instrumentation astronomique (voir pour des informations additionnelles). Le candidat doit posséder un Ph.D. en physique ou en astronomie.

Les candidats possédant l’expérience requise sont encouragés à postuler. Prière de faire parvenir avant le 1er avril 2015 votre CV, une description de vos projets de recherche, une lettre de présentation ainsi que les coordonnées de deux répondants (incluant les adresses courriel) au soin de Dr. Pierre Bergeron ( Le poste est ouvert dès le 1er septembre 2015 et doit être comblé avant le 1er janvier 2016. La durée du stage est de deux ans avec un prolongement possible d’un an.

2015 U de T Programme de recherche de premier cycle d’été

Date limite des candidatures est le 30 Janvier 2014.

La troisième édition du Programme d’été de Recherche pour premier cycle Summer Undergraduate Research Program (SURP) en Astronomie et Astrophysique, à l’Université de Toronto est une chance unique offerte aux étudiants pour préparer leur carrière dans le domaine de la recherche scientifique.

Pendant le programme de 16 semaines, les étudiants pourront:

• Acquérir de l’expérience en vue d’une carrière en recherche scientifique, en conduisant un projet relié à la recherche effectuée à l’Université de Toronto (UdeT)
• Collaborer avec des astronomes de l’ UdeT
• Perfectionner leurs compétences informatiques
• Améliorer leurs compétences en matière de communication et rédaction
• Mieux connaitre les recherches effectuées à l’UdeT
• Participer aux activités d’information destinées au grand publique

Les étudiants obtenant une bourse du programme travailleront avec des astronomes de l’Institut Dunlap (Dunlap Institute), du Département d’Astronomie et d’Astrophysique (Department of Astronomy & Astrophysics DAA), ou l’Institut Canadien d’Astrophysique Théorique (Canadian Institute for Theoretical Astrophysics CITA), en fonction du projet de recherche des étudiants et de leurs intérêts.

Le programme SURP offre aux étudiants une opportunité unique de travailler dans un
groupe constitué de trois unités ayant des expertises complémentaires en recherche
observationnelle, en instrumentation astronomique (Dunlap), et en astrophysique
théorique (CITA).

Le programme aura lieu du 4 Mai au 21 Août 2015.

La date limite d’application au programme est le 30 Janvier, la date d’offre officielle sera
envoyée le 6 Février.

Pour plus de détails, merci de visiter les sites:

Faculty Position in Exoplanetary Science at McGill University

Review of applications will begin 15 January 2015

The Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences ( and the Department of Physics ( at McGill University invite applications for a joint tenure-track position at the rank of Assistant Professor, beginning as early as September 2015 in the area of Exoplanetary Sciences. We encourage qualified individuals with relevant research interests in experimental, instrumentation, observational or theoretical aspects of exoplanetary sciences to apply.

This is the first of two faculty positions being created in support of the new McGill Space Institute, bringing together researchers in astrophysical, geological, atmospheric and astrobiological areas from multiple departments on campus. Existing complementary research strengths at McGill include early Universe cosmology, galaxy evolution and compact objects in the Department of Physics, as well as geology, astrobiology and atmospheric sciences in Earth and Planetary Science and other departments.

We seek candidates with a proven record of excellence in research and the capacity for excellence in teaching. The successful candidate will be supported by a generous start-up package. Applicants should submit a detailed curriculum vitae, a statement of teaching interests, and a research plan. They should also arrange for three letters of reference. All of these materials should be uploaded to

Review of applications will begin 15 January 2015, and continue until the position is filled. McGill University is committed to equity in employment.

All qualified applicants are encouraged to apply; however, in accordance with Canadian immigration requirements, Canadians and permanent residents will be given priority.

e-News: November 2014



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