Improvements to TMT advice and feedback mechanisms

Dear CASCA members,

As promised in my recent President’s Message, here is some more information on what CASCA has been doing to improve its advisory structures relevant to the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT).

Firstly, CASCA and the Association of Canadian Universities for Research in Astronomy (ACURA) together have formed the CASCA/ACURA TMT Advisory Committee, whose main functions are to provide advice to CASCA and ACURA on the current state of the TMT project and to act as a conduit for consulting with and informing the Canadian Astronomical community about the state of the TMT project.

The composition of the CASCA/ACURA TMT Advisory Committee is as follows:

Michael Balogh (Waterloo; Chair of the Committee)
Stefi Baum (Manitoba; ACURA appointment)
Ray Carlberg (Toronto; CASCA appointment)
Sarah Gallagher (Western; CASCA appointment)
David Lafrenière (Montreal; CASCA appointment)
Harvey Richer (UBC; ACURA appointment)
Christine Wilson (McMaster; ACURA appointment)

The committee has begun its deliberations and has been developing ambitious plans for ways to help you connect to the project. The committee will be organizing Town Hall-style events to get your feedback and I encourage you to participate fully in these. We can all look forward to hearing much more from the TMT Advisory Committee over the next few months.

Another important CASCA committee that has been working hard on your behalf is the Long-range Plan Implementation Committee (LRPIC). This is chaired by John Hutchings (NRC). To help make sure LRPIC captures the full range of the community’s views, the CASCA Board has decided to add some additional members to LRPIC, and the first of these additions is Sara Ellison (Victoria).

Canadian astrophysics goes from strength to strength, and one key to all of this is the excellence of the vibrant community from which we draw terrific people to serve on these committees. I know I sound like a bit of a broken record, but these people are all busy, yet they have all volunteered to do a ton of work on our behalf. They all deserve our thanks, so please remember to thank them next time you see them.

Best regards,

Roberto Abraham

Post-doctoral position in Interstellar Optical Spectroscopy

Prof. Jan Cami invites applications for a post-doctoral research position in interstellar optical spectroscopy in the Department of Physics and Astronomy and the Centre for Planetary Science and Exploration (CPSX) at the University of Western Ontario. The successful applicant will work on the Diffuse Interstellar Band (DIB) problem and lead much of the data analysis efforts to exploit the EDIBLES (ESO DIB Large Exploration Survey) data set, an unprecedented collection of high signal-to-noise and high spectral resolution observations obtained with VLT/UVES. He or she will also have the possibility to participate in other research programs as well as carrying out independent research.

Candidates must have a PhD in astrophysics or related fields, and preferably a background in astronomical spectroscopy and/or data analysis. Expertise in studies of the interstellar medium or in data analysis using advanced statistical methods and/or machine learning techniques would be advantageous.

The initial appointment is for 1 year with the expectation of one or two additional years dependent upon performance and continued funding. The start date is flexible, but preferably no later than the summer of 2017.

Support for research and observing travel as well as publications will be provided.

Applicants should send a cover letter, CV with bibliography, a brief statement of research interests, and arrange for three letters of recommendation to be sent directly to Prof. Cami. The position will remain open until filled. For full consideration, complete applications should be received by March 1, 2017. The University of Western Ontario is committed to employment equity.

Applications should be sent via e-mail to or via mail to:
Jan Cami
Department of Physics and Astronomy, PAB 203
The University of Western Ontario
1151 Richmond Street
London, ON N6A 3K7

Post-doctoral position in observational IR astronomy

Applications are invited for a post-doctoral position in observational infrared astronomy in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at The University of Western Ontario. The successful candidate will pursue projects with Prof. Els Peeters. These projects will be related to studies of Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs) and dust in various environments, with an emphasis on (galactic and extragalactic) star-forming regions and photodissociation regions (PDRs), and will utilize Spitzer, SOFIA, ground-based and future JWST observations. The successful applicant will be expected to participate in the preparation for the upcoming JWST mission and in the analysis of JWST Early Release Science data.

Candidates must have a PhD in astrophysics or related fields. Preference will be given to candidates with a strong background in IR astronomy and astronomical data reduction. Prior research experience with PAHs and dust is desirable but not required. The appointment is for 2 years with an additional year dependent upon performance and continued funding. The start date is flexible but is expected to be summer 2017.

Applicants should send (preferably electronically) a cover letter, CV, a statement of research interests, and arrange for three letters of recommendation to be send directly to Dr. Peeters by March 1, 2017. The University of Western Ontario is committed to employment equity.

Name: Els Peeters
Email address:
Affiliation: University of Western Ontario

Trois nouveaux postes pour étudiants à la maitrise ou au doctorat en science des exoplanètes

Nous sommes heureux d’annoncer trois nouveaux postes pour étudiants à la maitrise ou au doctorat dans le domaine de la science des exoplanètes à l’Institut de recherche sur les exoplanètes (iREx), à l’Université de Montréal. Les trois étudiants vont travailler dans le nouveau groupe de recherche du Professeur Björn Benneke, qui travaille sur la découverte et la caractérisation d’exoplanètes et l’étude de leur atmosphère.

Professeur Benneke arrive à l’Université de Montréal avec des modèles d’atmosphères sophistiqués et un large éventail d’ensembles de données qui proviennent du Télescope spatial Hubble, du Télescope spatial Spitzer et des Télescopes de 10 mètres du Keck. Professeur Benneke est entre autres le chercheur principal du plus grand programme pour caractériser des super-Terres grâce au Télescope spatial Hubble ainsi que d’un grand programme au Télescope Keck pour étudier les exoplanètes géantes.

Les étudiants à la maitrise ou au doctorat du groupe du Professeur Benneke pourront travailler sur différents sujets:
– Explorer la diversité des atmosphères planétaires des super-Terres grâce à la technique de spectroscopie de transit avec le Télescope spatial Hubble.
– Étudier la formation des planètes géantes en utilisant de la spectroscopie haute résolution dans le proche infrarouge sur les Télescopes du Keck
– Améliorer la compréhension de la nature exotique des nuages des exoplanètes.
– Découvrir et faire une caractérisation initiale des meilleures cibles pour le Télescope spatial James Webb en utilisant la mission K2, le Télescope spatial TESS et un suivi au sol.

Les applicants doivent avoir un baccalauréat ou une maîtrise en physique. Les applicants intéressés doivent contacter directement le Professeur Benneke: avant le 15 février 2017. Pour plus d’information sur les travaux du Professeur Benneke, veuillez consulter sa page web:, ou le contacter directement:

L’Institut de recherche sur les exoplanètes (iREx) inclut une équipe en expansion d’une quarantaine de personnes (professeurs, chercheurs post-doctoraux, chercheurs et étudiants) de l’Université de Montréal et de l’Université McGill, travaillant sur divers programmes de recherche liés à l’étude des exoplanètes et d’autres domaines connexes de l’astrophysique stellaire. Les chercheurs de l’iREx sont activement impliqués dans divers projets d’envergure internationale liés à la détection et à la caractérisation d’exoplanètes, notamment avec le futur télescope spatial James Webb (JWST), le Gemini Planet Imager (GPI) et les spectrographes infrarouge SPIRou et NIRPS. Pour en apprendre plus sur les projets de l’iREx, voir Les langues de travail à l’iREx sont le français et l’anglais. L’Université de Montréal est une institution francophone. Du support sera fourni pour l’apprentissage du fra
nçais, si nécessaire.

Pour plus d’information sur l’iREx, contactez Marie-Eve Naud, coordonatrice scientifique de l’iREx:
Pour plus d’information sur le processus d’admission aux études supérieures en physique à l’Université de Montréal, contactez Sophie Tremblay, Technicienne en gestion des dossiers étudiants des cycles supérieurs:, ou consultez les pages

104-16-0965_Associé de recherche, Optique adaptative

Attaché ou attachée de recherches, Optique adaptative — CONSEIL NATIONAL DE RECHERCHES DU CANADA (CNRC)
CNRC Herzberg, Astronomie et astrophysique — Observatoire fédéral d’astrophysique
5071, chemin West Saanich, Victoria (Colombie-Britannique) V9E 2E7
Téléc. : 613-990-1286
Téléphone : 613-949-7685
Courriel :
Adresse URL connexe :
Renseignements sur CNRC-Herzberg :
Renseignements sur les employés de CNRC Herzberg, Astronomie et astrophysique et leurs secteurs d’intérêt :
Date d’entrée en fonction proposée : Été 2017

La personne qui occupera le poste d’attaché de recherches travaillera à la réalisation de travaux de recherche en optique adaptative au sein de l’équipe de l’optique adaptative du portefeuille CNRC Herzberg, Astronomie et astrophysique (CNRC Herzberg). Cette équipe participe actuellement à plusieurs projets de portée internationale, dont l’imageur GPI, le Système d’optique adaptative à champ étroit dans l’infrarouge (NFIRAOS) et le tout premier système d’optique adaptative multiconjugué (MCAO) pour le Télescope de trente mètres. L’imageur GPI est opérationnel, mais nécessitera prochainement une mise à niveau, et le projet NFIRAOS est dans sa phase de conception finale. Par ailleurs, cette équipe prend également part à un programme de R-D ambitieux centré sur la détection de front d’onde de pointe et l’optique adaptative à grand champ.
Afin d’appuyer ces activités, l’équipe a mis en place une vaste paillasse de laboratoire (Laboratoire d’optique adaptative), qui comprend actuellement deux bancs optiques. Le premier de ces bancs, le banc MCAO, aussi appelé Simulateur optique NFIRAOS d’Herzberg (HENOS), est un modèle réduit du système NFIRAOS, qui permet de générer et de valider des algorithmes de flux de commandes, des procédures d’étalonnage et des logiciels de post-traitement en vue de leur déploiement dans NFIRAOS. Le banc HENOS comprend aussi des étoiles-guides laser et naturelles simulées, un simulateur de turbulences atmosphériques, deux miroirs déformables, un capteur à front d’onde de type Shack-Hartmann, un autre de type pyramidal ainsi qu’une caméra d’imagerie scientifique. Le second banc, quant à lui, sert exclusivement à l’exploration de nouvelles techniques d’analyse de front d’onde, y compris les capteurs de front d’onde de type pyramidal et des techniques non linéaires, telles que la diversité de phase. On prévoit aussi d’y déployer un troisième banc qui sera consacré à l’imagerie à contraste élevé. Généralement, l’équipe embauche à l’occasion de trois à quatre étudiants diplômés de l’Université de Victoria et d’ailleurs au Canada afin qu’ils puissent réaliser leurs projets de recherche.
La personne au poste d’attaché de recherches est appelée à jouer un rôle important dans l’exploitation du Laboratoire d’optique adaptative en réalisant des travaux de recherche inédits, en cultivant ses compétences et en coordonnant le travail des étudiants diplômés. De plus, elle contribuera aux projets en cours (ex., NFIRAOS) en effectuant des analyses critiques en optique adaptative en vue de faire progresser les travaux de conception.
Pour être admissible à ce concours, vous devez avoir obtenu votre doctorat au cours des cinq dernières années ou être sur le point de l’obtenir. Vous avez jusqu’au 10 février 2017 pour soumettre votre candidature en suivant la démarche décrite à la page .

Le CNRC est un employeur qui souscrit au principe de l’égalité d’accès à l’emploi.
Vous pouvez obtenir ces renseignements en français au site Web indiqué ci-dessus.

Tenure-track position in Astrophysics and Particle Astrophysics at Queen’s University

The Department of Physics, Engineering Physics and Astronomy, Faculty of Arts and Science at Queen’s University invites applications for a Tenure-track faculty position at the rank of Assistant Professor with specialization in astrophysics and particle astrophysics. The expected starting date for the position is July 1, 2017. The successful candidate will be an outstanding scientist who will establish an excellent research program and contribute to undergraduate and graduate teaching and supervision. In exceptional cases, candidates above the level of Assistant Professor may be considered.

Queen’s University is one of Canada’s leading research-intensive universities. The Department of Physics, Engineering Physics & Astronomy at Queen’s University has 28 Faculty members working in the areas of astronomy and astrophysics, condensed matter physics and optics, engineering and applied physics, and particle astrophysics. We are located in historic Kingston on the shores of Lake Ontario. Kingston’s residents enjoy an outstanding quality of life with a wide range of cultural, recreational, and creative opportunities.

Queen’s is playing a lead role in the establishment of the Canadian Particle Astrophysics Research Centre (CPARC), an ambitious new program funded by the Canada First Research Excellence Fund (CFREF). A major goal of CPARC includes building a powerful research team contributing to the many diverse requirements of a world-leading particle astrophysics research program. This includes the development of particle astrophysics experiments and theory, observational and theoretical astrophysics, detector design, and the development of tools and techniques for calibration, material screening and low level radio-purification. To achieve this, CPARC aims to benefit from and strengthen cross-disciplinary expertise at Queen’s between Physics, Engineering Physics and Astronomy (particle astrophysics and detector development), Chemistry (radio-analytical chemistry), Geological Sciences (Facility for Isotopic Research) and Mechanical and Materials Engineering (Reactor Materials Testing
Laboratory). The University anticipates hiring seven faculty members associated with CPARC, in addition to a Tier 1 Canada Research Chair (CRC) particle astrophysics theorist, to complement its current team of research scientists, engineers, technicians, postdoctoral fellows and graduate students. An additional seven faculty hires are being strategically targeted at collaborating institutions across Canada to significantly enhance this world-renowned particle astrophysics program. For further information please see

Please go to

to view the full job ad and for instructions on how to apply.

Kaspi and Martin appointed to Order of Canada

It is with great pleasure that the Canadian Astronomical Society / Société Canadienne d’Astronomie recognizes and applauds the appointment of Dr Victoria M. Kaspi of McGill University as a Companion of the Order of Canada, and Dr Peter G. Martin of the University of Toronto as an Officer of the Order of Canada.

Dr. Victoria M. Kaspi is one of the world’s leading experts on neutron stars, the ancient remnants of the most massive stars in the Milky Way. The most massive stars end their lives as black holes. Less massive stars, however, leave behind celestial objects no bigger than the city of Montreal, yet so dense that just one teaspoon would weigh 100 million metric tonnes.

Dr Kaspi received her PhD from Princeton University in 1993. As well as receiving the 2016 Gerhard Herzberg Canada Gold Medal from NSERC, she has received numerous prizes and fellowships, including the Hubble Fellowship, the Annie Jump Cannon Prize of the American Astronomical Society, and has been elected as a fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, the Royal Society of London, and the US National Academy of Sciences.

A graduate of the University of Cambridge, and one of the world’s foremost experts on the interstellar medium, Dr Martin moved to the University of Toronto shortly after receiving his PhD in 1972, where he quickly began a series of efforts — continuing to the present day — that bolstered Canada’s reputation as a world leader in astronomical research. In 1984, he co-founded the Canadian Institute for Theoretical Research (CITA), which quickly grew into one of the world’s leading centres for theoretical astrophysics. During the past decade, he worked tirelessly to establish the Dunlap Institute for Astronomy and Astrophysics, now poised to become a major centre for the development of astronomical instrumentation.

Dr Martin’s contributions to the national community are equally extensive. He has served on countless national and international committees, including the Coalition for Canadian Astronomy and the Association of Canadian Universities for Research in Astronomy (ACURA), of which he was one of the founding advisors.

CASCA congratulates Dr Kaspi and Dr Martin for this exceptional recognition of their outstanding contributions to fundamental research as well as the Canadian astronomy and astrophysics community.

e-News: November/December 2016



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