Tier 1 CRC at Saint Mary’s University

Tier I Canada Research Chair – Astronomy

The Saint Mary’s University Department of Astronomy and Physics invites applications from researchers in any area of astronomy and astrophysics to be the University’s nominee for our Tier I Canada Research Chair (CRC) in Astronomy. The successful candidate will be nominated by the University to the CRC Secretariat and, if approved, will be appointed as a regular faculty member to a tenure-track position at the Associate or Full Professor level. The CRC Program was established by the Government of Canada to enable Canadian Universities to achieve the highest levels of research excellence in the global, knowledge-based economy. Tier I CRCs are awarded to individuals who are outstanding researchers in their fields, acknowledged as world leaders (see www.chairs.gc.ca for details). The University has identified astronomy, computational sciences, and subatomic physics as one of its five major research themes. More details may be found at http://www.smu.ca/webfiles/SRP-Senateappro
ved.pdf. Saint Mary’s University recognizes the long and continuing record of excellence from the Department in this area of research and accordingly has allocated astronomy researchers two CRCs (this position and a Tier II Chair, already occupied).

The Department is the regional centre for astronomy in Atlantic Canada, and consists of ten faculty members, all with active research efforts in observational astronomy, theoretical and computational astrophysics, and experimental subatomic physics. The Department offers both M.Sc. and Ph.D. degrees in astronomy, as well as undergraduate physics and astrophysics programs. The University also hosts the Institute for Computational Astrophysics (ICA). The ICA is an institute promoting computational astrophysics in the broadest possible terms; tackling complex astrophysical phenomena through numerical simulation, and advancing discoveries utilizing “big data” from large multinational observational facilities. The Tier I CRC candidate may be considered for directorship of the ICA. Observers in the Department are active participants in Astro-H, JWST, and users of many international observatories. ICA members are active in the local HPC consortium, ACEnet, as well as Compute Can
ada, while the subatomic physicists are frequent users of TRIUMF, Jefferson Lab, and other world facilities. For a more complete account of departmental activities, see www.ap.smu.ca.

Saint Mary’s is located in the historic port city of Halifax, Nova Scotia, a vibrant, urban community of over 350,000 people. Halifax is a major educational and economic centre for Atlantic Canada and is home to five universities. It is conveniently located close to recreational areas and to other major urban centres in Canada and the Northeastern United States. A public university with over 7,000 students, Saint Mary’s University offers a variety of undergraduate and graduate degree programs. The university is committed to serving the local, regional, national, and international communities, and integrating such activity as part of the learning environment for undergraduate and graduate students. The University has gone through significant renewal in the past decade, with over 250 full-time faculty involved in innovative teaching, research and service. Interdisciplinary studies are a prominent feature and strength of the University. For information about the University a
nd the Faculty of Science, please see our website at http://science.smu.ca/.

Saint Mary’s University hires on the basis of merit and is committed to the principles of employment equity. Saint Mary’s University encourages applications from qualified women, visible minorities, Aboriginal people, and people with disabilities. Preference will be given to Canadian citizens and permanent residents of Canada.

The search committee will begin considering applications on August 17th, 2015. Interviews of short-listed candidates will commence in September. Please submit your C.V. along with a statement of research interests, a research proposal (maximum of five pages) for the purpose of the CRC nomination, a teaching dossier, and the names and addresses of four referees to:

Chair, Search Committee – Tier I CRC
Department of Astronomy and Physics
Saint Mary’s University
Halifax, Nova Scotia B3H 3C3
Fax: (902) 496-8218
Web: www.ap.smu.ca
Email: CRCsearch@ap.smu.ca

Research Associate in Radio Astronomy (104-15-0056)

November 2nd 2015 deadline.

Help bring research to life and drive your career forward with the National Research Council of Canada (NRC), Canada’s premiere research and technology organization.

We are looking for a dynamic Research Associate to support the Radio Astronomy team within the Herzberg Astronomy and Astrophysics (HAA) portfolio. You are someone who shares our core values of impact, accountability, leadership, integrity and collaboration.

The successful candidate will be an outstanding recent doctoral graduate in astronomy or astrophysics who is highly motivated to exploit facilities administered by NRC for Canadian astronomers and contributes to projects underway at NRC Herzberg. We are particularly seeking a candidate with research interests in one or more of the following areas:
• The study of magnetic fields in the Milky Way Galaxy through radio-polarimetric observations or via Zeeman splitting
• Wide-field radio continuum surveys with an emphasis on polarization imaging
• Observations of nearby galaxies
• Transient and highly variable sources, including Pulsars
• Observational Cosmology.

The successful candidate will be expected to make use of radio facilities at DRAO, the Synthesis Telescope and the John A. Galt Telescope, as well as many others around the world, such as the Jansky VLA, ALMA, GBT, CHIME, ATCA, Arecibo, LOFAR, MWA, and the SKA precursors ASKAP and MeerKAT.

The successful candidate is expected to work independently and perform original research as well as work in collaboration with NRC Herzberg staff members associated with projects most relevant to his or her area of expertise. Additionally, the candidate is expected to actively engage with the Canadian astronomy community in support of community use of Canada’s astronomy facilities. The candidate will be expected to organize the DRAO seminar series.

The work is performed in a stimulating, collegial environment. The Research Associate will have access to the astronomical facilities operated by NRC, as well as to other facilities with open competition.

Candidates with strong instrumentation backgrounds are encouraged to apply.
Please note that a cover letter, CV, publication list, and a research proposal no longer than 3 pages must be attached to your online application. If at all possible, the proposal should highlight areas that are relevant to one or more of the research areas listed above. In addition, please have at least two letters of reference sent by email in confidence to NRC.ExtHiring-EmbaucheExt.CNRC@nrc-cnrc.gc.ca by the November 2nd 2015 deadline quoting #104-15-0056 in the subject line. Unique to this RA competition, transcripts and copies of degrees will only be required to be submitted at the offer stage. For background information on the RA program, please go to: http://careers-carrieres.nrc-cnrc.gc.ca/careers/jobpost.nsf/PostbyCity_F.


As part of the RA Program you must have received your Ph.D. in astronomy or astrophysics within the last 5 years or you expect to receive the degree within the next 6 months.


Five years or less experience in astrophysics beyond the Ph.D.

Experience in conducting original scientific research in radio astrophysics, demonstrated by published papers in the refereed scientific literature.

Experience with radio interferometry/aperture synthesis and/or single dish techniques.

Experience with instrumentation would be considered an asset.

Preference will be given to those with research interests related to SKA key science projects.

Language Requirements:


Salary Range:

The Research Associate Program is unique to the NRC. It falls under the RO/RCO classification system which uses a person-based classification system instead of the more common duties-based classification system. Candidates are remunerated based on their expertise, skill, outcomes and impacts of their previous work experience.

From $49,670 to $140,418 per annum.


Special Instructions: Only applications received on our website will be accepted.  Please visit http://careers-carrieres.nrc-cnrc.gc.ca/careers/jobpost.nsf/postbycity_e to submit your résumé.


e-News: May/June 2015



From the Board:

News and Announcements:

Instrument and Project Updates:

New Job Postings:

Upcoming Meetings:


      To submit news items, announcements and job postings, click


      To contact the CASCA Board, click


      To submit comments to the Long Range Plan Implementation Committee (LRPIC), click


      To submit comments to the Ground Based Astronomy Committee (GAC), click


      To submit comments to the Joint Committee for Space Astronomy (JCSA), click



CFHT data helps New Horizons navigate toward Pluto

Launched January 19 2006, the New Horizons spacecraft is now getting very close to Pluto with a predicted closest approach on Tuesday July 14 at 11:49:57 UTC, 01:00 HST. This will be the first human encounter with the Plutonian world. New Horizons will get there relying on CFHT data.

New Horizons is roughly 2.5 meters (8 feet) across and weighed approximately 480 kilograms (1,050 pounds) – about half a ton – when first fueled. It travels a the tremendous Earth-relative speed of about 16.26 kilometers per seconds (58,536 km/h; 36,373 mph). At this speed however, New Horizons will only be able to make a flyby close to Pluto and will not be able to enter orbit. Entering orbit would mean that operators would have to reduce the craft speed by over 90%, which would require more than 1,000 times the fuel that New Horizons can carry.

Nevertheless, a series of maneuvers are needed for a collisionless approach to Pluto so an accurate mapping of the objects close to or in the Plutonian system is crucial. In order to achieve this, the New Horizons team performed several images scans for smaller objects, for both intrinsic scientific interest, and as potential collision hazards. However, in order to enable the hazard search, New Horizons required a high-precision flux/position reference system.

CFHT discretionary time awarded to JJ Kavelaars at the CADC in 2014 turned out to be the best dataset to do just that. During the 2014A semester, Kavelaars and collaborators used MegaCam to refine Pluto’s astrometric system, improving our knowledge of Pluto’s orbit and aiding the New Horizons pre-encounter hazard search team. The catalog resulting from these observations allows more precise calibration than any other wide field imager currently in operation due to the decade long use of MegaPrime on CFHT and the precise calibration system developed for this camera by Stephen Gwyn at the CADC. CFHT/MegaPrime astrometric reference catalogue is now being fed directly into the navigation process for guiding New Horizons into it’s final encounter with the Pluto system.

Additional information:

CFHT press release

New Horizons website

Contact Information:

Stephen Gwyn
Canadian Astronomical Data Center
Herzberg Institute for Astrophysics

JJ Kavelaars
Canadian Astronomical Data Center
Herzberg Institute for Astrophysics

Canada Research Chair (Tier 2), Bishop’s University

Les candidatures seront évaluées à partir du 15 septembre 2015.

L’Université Bishop’s, située à Sherbrooke, au Québec, sollicite des candidatures pour un poste de Chaire de recherche du Canada de niveau 2. Domaines de recherche possibles: cosmologie, physique des astroparticules, systèmes binaires en interaction, objets compacts, planètes extra-solaires, gravités classique et quantique et leur interface avec la physique mathématique (www.ubishops.ca/star).

Le programme des chaires de recherche du Canada  a été mis sur pied par le gouvernement du Canada afin de renforcer la capacité de recherche des universités canadiennes. Les candidates et les candidats pour ce poste doivent détenir un doctorat (ou  l’équivalent), posséder un profil de recherche exceptionnel dans un des domaines proposés, être admissibles à des subventions de recherche externes et faire preuve d’un grand potentiel pour devenir un chercheur émergent de calibre mondial. La tâche d’enseignement compte  deux cours de trois crédits chacun, d’une durée d’un semestre, par année universitaire. De solides compétences pédagogiques sont donc un atout, tout comme  le bilinguisme ou le multilinguisme.

Les chaires de niveau 2 sont destinées uniquement aux candidats qui, au moment de la mise en candidature, ont obtenu leur diplôme le plus avancé moins de 10 ans auparavant. Quand un candidat a dû interrompre sa carrière de chercheur en raison notamment d’un congé de maternité ou d’un congé parental , d’un congé de maladie prolongé, d’une formation clinique ou de soins à un membre de la famille, il est possible d’avoir recours au processus de justification des chaires de niveau 2  pour faire examiner l’admissibilité du candidat. Veuillez contacter le Service de la recherche de l’Université Bishop’s pour tous les détails concernant les conditions d’admissibilité et vous référez au site web des CRC pour plus d’information au sujet du programme et de ses critères d’admissibilité (http://www.chairs-chaires.gc.ca/program-programme/nomination-mise_en_candidature-fra.aspx#s3).

Les chaires de recherche du Canada de niveau 2 sont d’une durée de cinq ans, renouvelable une fois, avec l’approbation du programme des CRC.

L’Université Bishop’s valorise la diversité au sein de sa communauté et invite toutes les personnes qualifiées à postuler, en particulier les femmes, les Autochtones, les personnes handicapées et les membres de minorités visibles et ethniques. Tout individu qualifié est invité à poser sa candidature; toutefois, la priorité sera accordée aux Canadiennes et Canadiens et aux résidents permanents. Ces derniers devraient indiquer leur statut de citoyenneté dans leur dossier de candidature. L’Université Bishop’s est un employeur souscrivant au principe de l’égalité d’accès à l’emploi.

Les dossiers de candidature, qui doivent inclure une lettre de présentation, un curriculum vitae, une description détaillée des réalisations en recherche et du programme de recherche envisagé, une preuve d’excellence en enseignement et les noms et les coordonnées d’au moins trois répondants, doivent être acheminés par courriel à Sylvie Côté, Directrice du Service de la recherche (scote@ubishops.ca).

Les candidatures seront évaluées à partir du 15 septembre 2015 et seront acceptées jusqu’à ce qu’une personne soit sélectionnée. Idéalement, cette personne soumettra un dossier de candidature au programme des CRC en avril 2016. Date d’entrée en fonction à négocier. Pour plus d’information, veuillez communiquer avec Miles Turnbull, vice-principal académique et responsable de la recherche, ou consulter le site web des CRC