Canadian Astroparticle Physics Summer School 2020 Cancelled

From the organizers:

COVID-19 has led to many institutes stopping visitors, public schools shutting down, universities cancelling classes and events with large groups, and banning all international travel for their staff and guests. The Canadian government has now closed international travel, and some provinces have enacted a state of emergency. Given this, it is with great sadness that we will be cancelling CAPSS in May. While it is too early to know what our plans are for CAPSS2021, we will reach out to the community as soon as we know. This site will also be updated at that time.

In the meantime, the McDonald Institute will soon begin exploring ways to bring our content and programs to an online platform. Please join our newsletter to get updates about our programming:

Thank you again for your interest in CAPSS, and we hope we can engage you in our other programs in the not-too-distant future. In the meantime, please take care of yourself!

Canadian Astroparticle Physics Summer School 2020

Held 10 – 16 May 2020


Organized by the Arthur B. McDonald Canadian Astroparticle Physics Research Institute

Hosted by Queen’s University and SNOLAB

The McDonald Institute is pleased to announce the third Canadian Astroparticle Physics Summer School (CAPSS).

CAPSS 2020 is an intensive week-long undergraduate school that will introduce students to current topics in the field of astrophysics and astroparticle physics at Queen’s University and SNOLAB.

Find out more on our website: , or email us.

Find our poster here:.

Activities will include:

  • Lectures and hands-on activities in particle physics, detector development, neutrino physics, dark matter astrophysics and cosmology, and more!
  • An enriched Masterclass on the Nobel Prize winning SNO experiment
  • A tour of the world-famous SNOLAB underground facility
  • A banquet and other social events

Topics covered include:

  • Astrophysical Evidence and Cosmology of Dark Matter
  • Models and Signals of Dark Matter
  • Direct Detection of Dark Matter: Techniques, Applications, and Current Status of the Field
  • Neutrinos: A History, Mass Theory and Neutrinoless Double-Beta Decay
  • Detecting Neutrino Oscillations using the SNO Experiment

Target Audience:

This school is targeted at 2nd year and 3rd year undergraduate students. We also welcome students in their 4th year who will not have graduated by the time they attend CAPSS 2020.

Registration Fee:

There is no registration fee, but successful applicants will need to pay a pre-registration fee of $100, reimbursable upon completion of the school.

Application deadline is February 7th, 2020

Click here for information on how to apply.

Successful applicants will be notified by early March 2020.

Image release: Giant Magnetic Ropes in a Galaxy’s Halo

Galaxy Halo

Credit: Composite image by Jayanne English of the University of Manitoba, with NRAO VLA radio data from Silvia Carolina Mora-Partiarroyo and Marita Krause of the Max-Planck Institute for Radioastronomy. The observations are part of the project Continuum HAlos in Nearby Galaxies — an EVLA Survey (CHANG-ES). The optical data were from the Mayall 4-meter telescope, collected by Maria Patterson and Rene Walterbos of New Mexico State University. Arpad Miskolczi of the University of Bochum provided the software code for tracing the magnetic field lines.

This image of the “Whale Galaxy” (NGC 4631), made with the National Science Foundation’s Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array (VLA), reveals hair-like filaments of the galaxy’s magnetic field protruding above and below the galaxy’s disk.

The spiral galaxy is seen edge-on, with its disk of stars shown in pink. The filaments, shown in green and blue, extend beyond the disk into the galaxy’s extended halo. Green indicates filaments with their magnetic field pointing roughly toward us and blue with the field pointing away. This phenomenon, with the field alternating in direction, has never before been seen in the halo of a galaxy.

“This is the first time that we have clearly detected what astronomers call large-scale, coherent, magnetic fields far in the halo of a spiral galaxy, with the field lines aligned in the same direction over distances of a thousand light-years. We even see a regular pattern of this organized field changing direction,” said Marita Krause, of the Max-Planck Institute for Radioastronomy in Bonn, Germany.

An international team of astronomers who are part of a project called the Continuum HAlos in Nearby Galaxies — an EVLA Survey (CHANG-ES), led by Judith Irwin of Queen’s University in Ontario, said the image indicates a large-scale, coherent magnetic field that is generated by dynamo action within the galaxy and spirals far outward in the form of giant magnetic ropes perpendicular to the disk.

“We are a little bit like the blind men and the elephant, since each time we look at the galaxy in a different way we reach a different conclusion about its nature! However, we seem to have one of those rare occasions where a classical theory, about magnetic generators called dynamos, predicted the observations of NGC 4631 quite well. Our dynamo model produces spiralling magnetic fields in the halo that are a continuation of the normal spiral arms in the galaxy’s disc,” said Richard Henriksen, of Queen’s University.

The scientists are continuing their work to further refine their understanding of the galaxy’s full magnetic structure.

The image was made by combining data from multiple observations with the VLA’s giant dish antennas arranged in different configurations to show both large structures and finer details within the galaxy. The naturally-emitted radio waves from the galaxy were analyzed to reveal the magnetic fields, including their directions.

The scientists said the techniques used to determine the direction of the magnetic field lines, illustrated by this image, now can be used on this and other galaxies to answer important questions about whether coherent magnetic fields are common in galactic halos and what their shapes are.

Building such a picture, they said, can answer important questions such as how galaxies acquire magnetic fields, and whether all such fields are produced by a dynamo effect. Can these galaxy halo fields illuminate the mysterious origin of the even larger intergalactic magnetic fields that have been observed?

NGC 4631, 25 million light-years from Earth in the constellation Canes Venatici, is about 80,000 light-years across, slightly smaller than our own Milky Way. It was discovered by the famous British astronomer Sir William Herschel in 1787. This image also shows a companion, NGC 4627, a small elliptical galaxy, just above NGC 4631.
The National Radio Astronomy Observatory is a facility of the National Science Foundation, operated under cooperative agreement by Associated Universities, Inc.

The results were reported in the journal Astronomy & Astrophysics.

The theoretical models are described in Woodfinden et al. 2019 MNRAS, 487, 1498.

2020 JWST Postdoctoral Fellowship at iREx

The Institute for Research on Exoplanets (iREx), affiliated with the Department of Physics at the Université de Montréal, is seeking applications for a postdoctoral position to join the NIRISS instrument team for the James Webb Space Telescope in order to contribute to the analysis and publication of NEAT observations (NIRISS Exploration of the Atmospheric diversity of Transiting exoplanets). NEAT is a large 200-hour JWST GTO program led by the NIRISS team and dedicated to the study of the atmosphere of 14 exoplanets using transit, eclipse and phase spectroscopy. More details on the NEAT program are available here.

Candidates should send a CV, a list of publications and a statement of main achievements and research interests (maximum 3 pages) to Three letters of recommendation should also be sent to the same address. All documents must be sent by December 15, 2019 for full consideration to be given to the application. However, the position will remain open until a candidate is selected.

A PhD in physics, astronomy or related discipline is required. Preference will be given to candidates who have completed their PhD within the last 3 years. The position has an expected start date in the fall of 2020. The position is for a two-year term, renewable for a third year depending on performance and availability of funds.

The iREx includes an expanding team of about 45 people (professors, researchers and students) mainly from the Université de Montréal and McGill University, all working on various research programs linked to the study of exoplanets and other related fields of stellar astrophysics. iREx researchers are actively involved in various international projects related to the detection and characterisation of exoplanets, including the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), SPIRou, NIRPS and high dispersion spectroscopy on 8-10m and giant telescopes. In addition, iREx researchers will have access to guaranteed time with JWST, SPIRou and NIRPS. More information on iREx research programs can be found on the iREx website here.

Social Benefits:
Postdoctoral researchers at iREx at UdeM enjoy a comprehensive benefits package, see:

Submission Guidelines:

Send inquiries to: Nathalie Ouellette

Trottier Postdoctoral Fellowship in Exoplanetary Science at iREx

The Institute for Research on Exoplanets (iREx), affiliated with the physics department of the University of Montreal (UdeM), invites applications for a postdoctoral fellowship in experimental, observational or theoretical astrophysics applied to the study of exoplanets. A number of iREx projects are described below for reference.

Applicants should fill out the online form, submit a curriculum vitae, a list of publications, and a statement of research interests (max 2 pages), and should arrange to have three referees send a letter of reference. All application materials including letters of reference must be received electronically at the following address:, by December 2nd, 2019 for full consideration. This position will, however, remain open until filled.

A PhD in physics, astronomy or related discipline is required at the time when the position starts. Preference will be given to applicants within 3 years of obtaining their PhD.

The iREx consists of a growing team of over 45 people (professors, postdocs, research assistants and students) mostly from UdeM and McGill University all working on various research programs focused on the study of exoplanets and related fields of stellar astrophysics. Members of iREx are actively involved in large international projects related to the detection and characterisation of exoplanets, notably the future James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), SPIRou, NIRPS and high-dispersion spectroscopy for 8-10m and giant telescopes. In addition, iREx researchers will have access to guaranteed observing time with JWST, SPIRou and NIRPS. More information on iREx research programs can be found here:

The successful applicant is expected to start between May and September 2020. The position is for two years, renewable for a third year subject to performance and availability of funds.

Social Benefits:
Postdoctoral researchers at iREx at UdeM enjoy a comprehensive benefits package, see:

Submission Guidelines:

Send inquiries to: Nathalie Ouellette

Reminder: CASCA-Westar Lectures 2020

Invitation for Submissions (Deadline: 22 Nov)

Dear all,

The CWL deadline is approaching so please remind all who might be interested in hosting a CASCA-Westar Lecture in 2020 to apply before Friday 22nd November. See original message below.


Rob Cockcroft
on behalf of the CASCA-EPO Committee

Dear all,

The CASCA-EPO Committee hopes to build on the CWL success of 2016-2019, and continue with more in 2020. So to help us in this regard, we once again ask all CASCA members to cut-and-paste the invitation below and pass it along to any and all who might be interested in hosting a CASCA-Westar Lecture in 2020. We ask that communities complete their applications before 22nd November 2019.


Rob Cockcroft
on behalf of the CASCA-EPO Committee

La Société canadienne d’astronomie (CASCA) aimerait offrir à votre communauté ou à votre organisation la possibilité d’accueillir une conférence Westar. Dans le cadre de son engagement à partager la science avec le grand public, la CASCA s’engage à fournir le financement nécessaire afin qu’un(e) astronome canadien(ne) distingué(e) se rende dans votre communauté pour un séjour de deux jours où il/elle donnera une conférence publique gratuite et interagira avec les membres de votre communauté. De plus, en fonction de vos besoins et de leur expertise, le/la conférencier(ère) pourrait également offrir d’autres activités gratuites telles que l’observation au télescope, des visites en classe ou une formation en astronomie pour les enseignants. La conférence Westar met en vedette nos incroyables chercheurs canadiens en astronomie afin de susciter l’enthousiasme et l’intérêt pour l’astronomie et la science, et d’offrir des possibilités d’éducation pour le grand public et les enseignants de sciences.
Si vous souhaitez qu’un conférencier Westar visite votre communauté, nous vous encourageons à visiter notre site web et à remplir le formulaire d’application. Les candidats retenus seront avisés le plus rapidement possible. Veuillez répondre aux questions aussi précisément que possible, car elles sont conçues pour nous aider à optimiser le processus de planification.

The Canadian Astronomy Society (CASCA) would like to offer your community or organization the opportunity to host a Westar Lecture. As part of its commitment to share science with the public, CASCA will provide the necessary funding for a distinguished Canadian astronomer to visit your community for a two-day stay. He or she will give a free public lecture and interact with members of your community. In addition, depending on your needs and expertise, the speaker may also offer other free activities such as telescope observation, classroom visits, or astronomy training for teachers. The Westar Lecture showcases our incredible Canadian astronomers, inspires enthusiasm and interest in astronomy and science, and provides educational opportunities for the general public and science teachers. If you would like a Westar speaker to visit your community, we encourage you to visit our website and fill out the application form. Successful applicants will be notified as soon as possible. Please answer questions as specifically as possible as they are designed to help us optimize the planning process.

Waterloo Centre for Astrophysics Postdoctoral Fellowship & Research Associate

The Waterloo Centre for Astrophysics (WCA) at the University of Waterloo invites applications for one 3-year WCA Postdoctoral Fellowship in any area of astrophysics and one Postdoctoral Research Associate focussing on studies of Large-Scale Structure. The recently formed Centre consists of 13 research-active faculty members, and has active visitor and meeting programs. Research is undertaken in areas including cosmology, large-scale structure, CMB, gravitational lensing, black holes, galaxies, clusters, quasars and sub-mm astronomy, with interests in a number of future experiments including Euclid, CCATp, CFIS, DESI and LSST ( The group has a close connection to the Perimeter Institute, which is located just a short walk away.

The WCA Postdoctoral Fellow will be expected to undertake a program of original research either independently or in collaboration with others in the Centre, working in any area of astrophysics. The Research Associate will work with Prof. Percival on galaxy redshifts surveys including DESI and Euclid. A competitive salary and research allowance will be provided for both positions, which are expected to start Sept 2020.

Candidates should apply by accessing the following website: and uploading a CV, bibliography, research statement, and entering the email addresses of three referees who should send in references by the application deadline of January 6, 2020. Candidates are encourages to submit referee email addresses as soon as possible in order to give referees time to respond; application materials can be updated up until the closing date. All applicants will automatically be considered for both positions.

The University of Waterloo respects, appreciates and encourages diversity. We welcome applications from all qualified individuals including women, members of visible minorities, Indigenous peoples and persons with disabilities.