Carman Costain (former president of CASCA) Biography

By Alan Bridle (NRAO, retired)
(Cassiopeia – Winter 2022)

Carman Hudson Costain was born on April 26, 1932 in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada.  He was the fifth child and third son of Canadian-born Henry Hudson Costain and American-born Mary Elida Ekin.  Henry Hudson Costain was the son of a Prince Edward Island farmer. The Costain ancestry can be traced to a John Costain who emigrated to Prince Edward Island from the Isle of Man in 1832.

Carman first became interested in electronics as a hobby while in high school in Saskatoon.  He had summer jobs working on auroral radar backscatter studies – a specialty at the University of Saskatchewan owing to its high geomagnetic latitude and the influence there of radar and atmospheric researcher Peter Forsyth, who at times employed both Carman and his elder brother Cecil as undergraduate assistants.

Carman received his Bachelor’s degree in Physics from the University of Saskatchewan in 1953.  His interest in radio astronomy began that summer when he took a temporary job with Forsyth (who was then at the Defense Research Telecommunications Establishment at Shirley Bay near Ottawa) to construct a phase-switched two-dipole interferometer to monitor the ionospheric scintillations of the bright radio source Cassiopeia A.    After spending that summer in Ottawa Carman returned to Saskatoon for his Master’s studies.  He built another phase switched interferometer there in order to study ionospheric scintillation of Cassiopeia A at both upper and lower culmination.   Nine months of data collected there formed the basis for his Master’s degree but  (as he recounted in a 1974 tape-recorded interview with Woody Sullivan that is available online in the NRAO historical archives) this experiment made him more curious about radio astronomy itself than about using radio sources to study the ionosphere.

In 1955 it was not possible for a Canadian to do Ph.D. thesis work in radio astronomy within Canada.  After considering possibilities for working in radio astronomy at Jodrell Bank in England, at the University of Sydney in Australia, or for doing upper atmosphere research at Cornell University, Carman decided to follow his elder brother Cecil’s path by doing his Ph.D. In England at Cambridge University, where he was accepted into the radio astronomy group at the Cavendish Laboratory.   (His college affiliation was with St. John’s.)

Carman married Martha Leona “Lee” Leopold in Saskatoon on September 5, 1955.  Later that month the newlyweds crossed the Atlantic on the Canadian Pacific liner “Empress of Scotland”.  Carman immediately began graduate work in the Cambridge radio astronomy group headed by Martin Ryle, under the direct supervision of Francis Graham-Smith.

His first project at Cambridge was to set up an interferometer to monitor the November 1955 lunar occultations of the Crab Nebula.  Those observations proved problematic, but the experience he gained led to successful observations of the occultation that followed in January 1956 and to Carman’s first radio astronomy paper: “Radio Observations of a Lunar Occultation of the Crab Nebula” with Bruce Elsmore and George Whitfield, published in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, Vol. 116, pp.380-385 (1956).

Carman’s early work at Cambridge was done at the old Rifle Range observing site off Grange Road.  In 1957 the Cavendish Laboratory’s acquisition of a much larger site 8 km south-west of Cambridge at the former Lord’s Bridge Air Ammunition Park made possible the project that became the main part of his Ph.D. thesis – a large telescope designed to survey the whole northern sky at 38 MHz.  His earlier attempt to study the galactic emission at this frequency with an antenna at the Rifle Range that had been used for solar studies by John Blythe in 1954 showed that the structure of the emission was too complex to be mapped adequately with that antenna.   A plan was therefore made to build a dedicated corner-reflector array to map the galactic emission and discrete sources at 38 MHz at the new site.  The then-novel approach was to combine data from many interferometer baselines between a long East-West corner reflector array and a smaller “portable” corner reflector segment that could be moved to many locations in the North-South direction.  This approach was an early example of the radio image-forming method known as “aperture synthesis”, for which Martin Ryle was awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1974.

The 3300-ft East-West arm of the 38-MHz aperture synthesis telescope built by Carman Costain at Lord’s Bridge (Photo credit – Alan Bridle)

In 1956 Carman extended his stay in Cambridge for three more years in order to design, build and commission the 38-MHz aperture synthesis array under Graham-Smith’s supervision.   He also made the first observations with it, including a scaled-array study of the galactic radio spectrum.  At Martin Ryle’s urging he also looked into the feasibility of using those data to estimate the integrated extragalactic nonthermal background brightness. That quantity was significant for the cosmological
interpretation of Ryle’s radio source counts at the time of his famous dispute with Fred Hoyle over using the counts as evidence against the Steady State Theory.  (I inherited this task with a mandate to extend Carman’s analysis to lower frequencies as part of my Ph.D. Thesis.)  Carman also made a preliminary study of the North Galactic Spur, which remained a feature of great interest to him.  The all-sky survey was completed and published in 1966 by Phil Williams, Sidney Kenderdine and John Baldwin (“A Survey of Radio Sources and Background Radiation at 38 Mc/s”, Memoirs of the Royal Astronomical Society, vol. 76, pp. 53-110).

A significant diversion to Carman’s work on the 38-MHz survey occurred when Sputnik One was launched into Earth orbit on October 4 1957,  He dropped all else he was doing to work night and day with Bruce Elsmore and George Whitfield to improvise a way to detect Sputnik’s radio signals and thus to study the satellite’s orbital decay.  He later recalled that feverish effort with satisfaction as an example of the teamwork that existed among the Cambridge radio astronomy students and staff at the time.

Teamwork was also needed to provide the motive power for the moving corner reflector element of his 38-MHz antenna at Lord’s Bridge, which had to be manually carried from one interferometer station to the next. This was a strenuous task that I was told only Carman himself ever accomplished unaided.  More often, a group of students with strong backs went out to Lord’s Bridge from the Cavendish Lab to hoist and move the traveling corner reflector, a procedure that was artfully acknowledged in the final survey paper in 1966 – which remarked that “Through the unstinting exertions of all members of the radio astronomy group both past and present the observations were carried to a successful conclusion.”

The ad hoc response to the Sputnik launch may have contributed to the fact that Carman and Lee returned to Canada in 1959, with their son David – born in Cambridge in 1958 – before Carman had finished writing his Ph.D. thesis.   He joined the newly formed Dominion Radio Astrophysical Observatory (DRAO) upon his return to Canada in 1959, finished his thesis, and received his Ph.D. – the first awarded in radio astronomy to any Canadian – in 1960.

While acting as my local Ph.D. supervisor during my secondment to the DRAO from the Cavendish Laboratory in 1965/66, Carman urged me to complete as soon as possible: “Write only what you need to get your degree as fast as you can, so you can get on with your own science” was his advice.  I suspect that sentiment stemmed from his experience of finishing a Ph.D. thesis while simultaneously starting his professional research career and raising a young family – which grew to include second son Robin, daughter Leslie and third son Philip.

Once at the DRAO, Carman worked with the new observatory’s 25-m single dish while starting to plan for his major project – a T-shaped dipole array to survey the galactic radio emission and measure discrete radio source flux densities at 22 MHz with about one degree angular resolution.

John Bolton, Carman Costain and John Galt at the completed 22 MHz array in January 1965
(Photo credit: The Locke Family / NRC, DRAO Archive)

Unlike his 38-MHz synthesis array in Cambridge, the new 22-MHz array at DRAO was a filled-T configuration in which 624 full-wave dipoles provided all of the interferometer spacings between the 1.3-km East West arm and the 440-m North-South arm simultaneously, This configuration allowed the meridian transit pencil beam to be formed in real time so that  periods of quiescent ionospheric scintillation and refraction could be fully exploited.

The 22-MHz array was designed so that the signal from dipoles in the arm overlap region was fed into both the East-West and North-South arm transmission lines so that the largest-scale structure of the galactic emission would be represented as accurately as possible in the final survey data,  The array was completed in 1964 by Carman working with engineer David Lacey, radio astronomer Rob Roger and technician Jack Dawson.  Construction of the wooden support structure began in 1962 but the transmission lines, phasing networks and electronics were a hands-on effort by the four array staff members.

Preliminary observations with it showed that ionospheric conditions over Penticton were even more favorable for decametic radio astronomy than had been anticipated, so in 1964 it was decided to build a second T-shaped array at the DRAO to map the galaxy and to study discrete sources at 10 MHz.  That project was headed by John Galt, who then worked with a series of staff seconded to the DRAO in various ways from the Cavendish Laboratory – Peter Scheuer in 1964, Chris Purton in 1964-65, me in 1965-66, and Jim Caswell in 1967-69.  Although Carman was not formally part of the 10-MHz array project, his deep understanding of how the ionosphere affected decametric radio observing, and his mentoring of the younger contingent from Cambridge (especially me) who were directly involved in it, were important to its success.

The 22-MHz array began to take data at a time before digital computers were ubiquitous in radio astronomy.  Data reduction for its unique data product – the all-sky survey – was done at first in remote computers in Vancouver and in Ottawa.  Unfortunately, this meant that the survey data reduction proceeded only very slowly until the DRAO acquired its own on-site computer(s).

One unexpected result was, however, evident from direct visual inspection of the 22-MHz project’s real-time chart records:  a few of the discrete sources appeared brighter than expected from their higher-frequency spectra, implying that their low-frequency emission is enhanced by steep-spectrum components.  In particular, the 22-MHz emission from the Coma Cluster had an (apparently) extended component that was not then known from observations at higher frequencies.  While the resolution of the 22-MHz array was insufficient to show whether this steep-spectrum component was in fact a single extended emission region or a blend of several discrete sources, it sparked Carman’s interest in how extragalactic sources in rich clusters of galaxies might evolve to have steeper spectra than those in other environments.  I recall many long winter nights spent with him at the DRAO in 1966 discussing  astrophysical issues that have since been clarified by direct imaging of steep-spectrum “tails” and “relics” in galaxy clusters by a new generation of low-frequency arrays.

One example of the 22-MHz survey identifying what would become a seminal object for this emerging field of study was the recognition that a previously known but unremarkable radio source in the direction of the galaxy cluster Abell 2256 was unexpectedly bright on the 22-MHz survey chart records (Costain, C.H., Bridle, A.H. and Feldman, P.A. “Decametric Radio Identification of an Extragalactic X-ray Source”, Astrophysical .Journal,  vol.175, pp. L15-L18 (1972)) .  Abell 2256 has since been shown to be a merger product – and 50 years later its complex low-frequency radio emission is the “poster child” for studies of interactions between the ejecta of radio galaxies and magnetic fields in the hot intracluster gas (see, for example,  Breuer et al.,The Mergers in Abell 2256: Displaced Gas and its Connection to the Radio-emitting Plasma”, Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, vol.495, pp. 5014-5026 (2020) and Rajpurohit et al. “Deep Low frequency Radio Observations of Abell 2256  I . The Filametary Radio Relic”, Astrophysical Journal, vol.927, pp. 80-101 (2022)).

Carman was inspirationally enthusiastic about all aspects of low-frequency radio astronomy, ranging from the theory and design of the array antennas, to understanding the effects of the ionosphere on the data, to handling the demanding computational needs of aperture synthesis, to exploring the astrophysics of the classes of cosmic radio source to which low-frequency instruments are especially sensitive.

The 22-MHz array’s sky survey was finally fully reduced and published in 1999, ten years after Carman’s untimely death (Roger, R.S., Costain, C.H., Landecker, T.L., and Swerdlyk, C.M., “The Radio Emission from the Galaxy at 22 MHz”, Astronomy and Astrophysics Supplements, vol.137, pp 7-19).

In the early 1970’s Carman turned his attention to the DRAO’s 21-cm hydrogen-line Synthesis Telescope which grew from three 8.5-m paraboloids (two moveable along on an East-West track) to become its next major instrument, eventually with seven elements.  Carman played a leading role in this telescope’s design and also in the development of the software necessary for its successful operation.

He also became active in the leadership of the Canadian Astronomical Society from 1974 to 1982, serving on its Board of Directors and then becoming its President from 1978 to 1980.  During that period and thereafter, he promoted the concept of a Canadian Long Baseline Array (CLBA), a project intended to provide a set of antennas all across Canada dedicated to the science of very-long-baseline interferometry, an active research field that had been pioneered by staff at the National Research Council (NRC) and in several Canadian universities.  This ambitious project eventually reached the highest priority for funding by the NRC, but the federal government nevertheless declined to fund it, thereby ceding the field to the Very Long Baseline Array (VLBA) operated by the U.S. National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO).

In 1984 Carman was called to Ottawa to assist with a proposed upgrade of the 46·m radio telescope at the Algonquin Radio Observatory (ARO) for use at mm wavelengths.  While there he worked on using holography to measure the surface figure of the reflector to an accuracy of a few tenths of a millimeter – but in 1986 the upgrade project was abruptly terminated by budget cuts and ARO was closed as a national radio astronomy facility.  Carman then returned to DRAO to develop improved imaging techniques for the Synthesis Telescope, a project he was working on at the time of his death on December 21, 1989.

Away from his professional career, Carman played an active role in the social life of Penticton as a member of the Penticton Rotary Club and as an avid golfer and curler.  His interest in electronics as a hobby extended to building his own color TV set, which he completed just in time to allow a large gathering to watch the Apollo 11 Moon landing at his and Lee’s house on 20 July 1969.

Carman Costain was a true pioneer of radio astronomy in Canada, and I am honored to have had him as my Ph.D. Thesis supervisor for the year that I spent at the DRAO in 1965/66.

Assistant Professor, Physics and Astronomy University of Waterloo

The Department of Physics and Astronomy in the Faculty of Science at the University of Waterloo invites applicants for a tenure-track position at the Assistant Professor level. A broad range of areas will be considered including, Astrophysics, Quantum Matter, Photonics, Biophysics, and Soft Matter. Applications from outstanding candidates in other areas will be considered. The anticipated start date is September 1, 2023.

We are seeking applications from theorists and/or experimentalists. A Ph.D. degree and evidence of outstanding promise in research and teaching are required. Successful applicants are expected to develop and maintain a research program of exceptional quality and impact, to attract and supervise graduate students, to attract external funding at the level required to maintain a thriving research group, and to teach at the undergraduate and graduate levels. The salary range is $105,000 to $125,000, depending on experience. Negotiations beyond this salary range will be considered for exceptionally qualified candidates.

Candidates should submit electronically a curriculum vitae, an outline of research accomplishments, a brief research plan, a statement of teaching philosophy and goals, and make arrangements for four letters of reference to be sent to Professor Brian McNamara, Chair, Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada, N2L 3G1. Telephone: (519) 888-4567; extension 36831; e-mail: Materials should be received by January 15, 2023.  Further information about the Department can be found on our web page:

The University values the diverse and intersectional identities of its students, faculty, and staff.  The University regards equity and diversity as an integral part of academic excellence and is committed to accessibility for all employees. The University of Waterloo seeks applicants who embrace our values of equity, anti-racism and inclusion. As such, we encourage applications from candidates who have been historically disadvantaged and marginalized, including applicants who identify as Indigenous peoples (e.g., First Nations, Metis, Inuit/Inuk), Black, racialized, people with disabilities, women and/or 2SLGBTQ+.

The University of Waterloo acknowledges that much of our work takes place on the traditional territory of the Neutral, Anishinaabeg and Haudenosaunee peoples. Our main campus is situated on the Haldimand Tract, the land granted to the Six Nations that includes six miles on each side of the Grand River. Our active work toward reconciliation takes place across our campuses through research, learning, teaching, and community building, and is centralized within our Indigenous Initiatives Office (

The University of Waterloo is committed to accessibility for persons with disabilities. If you have any questions regarding the position, the application process, assessment process, eligibility, or a request for accommodation during the hiring process, please contact Dr. Brian McNamara, Chair, Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Waterloo, Telephone: (519) 888-4567; extension 36831; E-mail:

All qualified candidates are encouraged to apply; however, Canadians and permanent residents will be given priority.

Three reasons to apply:

Transfer complete!

So I’ve run all of the tests I can think of and this morning’s transfer of the site to a new machine seems to have finished with only one small side-effect: some e-mail clients for the domain addresses seem to think that the last week of e-mail reading didn’t happen and so you’ll have to, alas, reread some mail if this happens to you. Other than that everything seems to be just as it was before the move.

If you have any questions or concerns about the move feel free to contact me at webmaster at

Scheduled site maintenance morning of November 9th

Your friendly neighbourhood webmaster here.

Our ISP informs me that, at some random moment during the morning (EDT) of Wednesday, November 9th all of our stuff will be moved to a shiny new machine. This means some downtime as the new machine is at a new address (IP Address that is):

Schedule (all times EDT):

  • Around 5 pm on the 8th I will make a full backup of the site and back that up (encrypted) on one of my own systems separate from those of the ISP. Probably nothing will be lost in the transfer to the new machine but if it is everything up to that point can certainly be restored
  • Late on the night of the 8th I will set the site’s address to the new coördinates. This means that until the move is complete (perhaps just after midnight; perhaps around noon) attempts to reach the site or any of its facilities will fail.
  • When the transfer is complete the site should be reachable and everything as it was before the move. A post to that effect will be posted on the site, tagged CASCA In the news, so that you can tell that you’re seeing the newest version of the site and not some cached version of the old one.
  • If something does go wrong a mass mailing to the general membership will be made outlining the situation. Our mass mailing system is on a completely different system than the website and should not be affected by the move.

Other changes

  • If you have FTP access to the site note that the new address of the FTP servers will be
  • People who’ve been on the system for a long time may have the address set as the address of the e-mail server they use with their e-mail address. This may not continue to work. The better address to use is
  • If you wish to contact me to help with e-mail problems encountered after the move it is possible that I’m having the same problems so my regular address of webmaster at may not work! CC such requests to witheringsnodgrass at

Professor Christine Wilson wins Executive Award

In alternate years, the CASCA Board has the honour to bestow the Executive Award for Outstanding Service “to an individual who has made sustained contributions in service that have strengthened the Canadian astronomical community and enhanced its impact regionally, nationally and/or internationally.” Professor Christine Wilson, of McMaster University, is the recipient of the 2022 Executive Award.

Dr Wilson’s exceptional commitment to the Canadian astronomy community was obvious early in her career. Following her return to Canada to take-up a faculty position at McMaster University in 1992, she immediately contributed to a number of key committees, including an NRC committee on a new national radio facility, and was appointed to a Directorship of CASCA in 1996. Over the following decades she would serve on multiple CASCA committees, including a Mid-Term review panel, often holding positions simultaneously, as well as the Vice Presidency in 2012-2014, and the Presidency 2014-16. Most recently, Professor Wilson has Chaired the CASCA Long Range Plan Community Recommendations Implementation Committee (LCRIC).

In the field of submm astronomy, her reputation for research excellence as well as widely acknowledged management skills lead to her taking on key leadership roles for Canadian science and software interests in the ALMA project. She served as Canadian Project Scientist for ALMA, 1999- 2011, Chair of the Canadian ALMA Science Steering Committee, 2001 – 2010, as well as on four other key ALMA committees and advisories. While there is no question ALMA was the product of a major team effort, her efforts were central in making ALMA the great success that it is, both from a Canadian and international collaboration perspective.

For three decades, Dr. Christine Wilson has been a role-model and committed ambassador for astronomy in Canada. In bestowing this Executive Award on behalf of the Canadian astronomical community, the CASCA Board recognizes her pivotal contributions to both our and the international professional community and extends our utmost thanks and appreciation.

Dr. JJ Kavelaars: 2022 Dunlap Award for Innovation in Astronomical Research Tools

CASCA is pleased to announce that Dr. JJ Kavelaars is the winner of the 2022 Dunlap Award.  This award recognizes his leadership at the Canadian Astronomy Data Centre.  Over the past five years in which Dr. Kavelaars has been head of the CADC, it has provided public access to its largest number of telescope archival datasets, expanded a key initiative to bring high-performance distributed cloud computing services to Canadian astronomers via the Canadian Advanced Network for Astronomical Research (CANFAR), and laid the groundwork for new archives and processing environments for the upcoming JWST, Vera C. Rubin Observatory, and the Square Kilometre Array.  He received his PhD from Queen’s University, followed by a postdoctoral fellowship at McMaster University.  He is now a Senior Research Officer at NRC-Herzberg in Victoria as well as an adjunct professor at UVic, where in addition to leading the CADC, he continues to make groundbreaking discoveries in the Kuiper Belt using ground and space-based telescopes as well as being a part of the New Horizons Mission team.

Dr. Anthony Moffat: 2022 Carlyle S. Beals Award for Outstanding Research

CASCA is pleased to announce that Dr. Anthony Moffat is the winner of the 2022 Beals Award.  This is in recognition of decades of cutting-edge research on topics relating to massive stars, including Wolf-Rayet stars, stellar pulsations, rotation, magnetic fields, clumping, binaries, clusters, and surveys.  Many of us have used a Moffat profile: that was his work! He received his doctorates in astronomy from Ruhr-Universitaet Bochum in Germany, and has been a professor at Université de Montréal ever since, and hasn’t slowed his research output since taking emeritus status.  He has trained generations of scientists who are still working in Canada and internationally. He remains very active in research on massive stars and astronomy projects like the BRITE constellation.

Dr. Deborah Good: 2022 J. S. Plaskett Medal for Most Outstanding PhD Thesis

CASCA is pleased to announce Dr. Deborah Good as the recipient of the 2022 J.S. Plaskett Medal for the most outstanding doctoral thesis in astronomy or astrophysics. Dr. Good received her PhD in 2021 under the supervision of Dr. Ingrid Stairs at UBC, and she is now a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Connecticut and the Flatiron Center for Computational Astrophysics.  Her thesis, “Timing Pulsars and Detecting Radio Transients with CHIME,” includes groundbreaking work on the first few months of pulsar and fast radio burst detections with CHIME. To complete this research, she led efforts within the CHIME team to calibrate instruments, write software, verify events, and is on the cutting edge of trying to discover whether or not all Fast Radio Bursts are repeating events. She also collected pulsar data, discovered many new pulsars, and adapted the NANOGrav pipeline to work for CHIME data, laying the groundwork for data processing that will be needed in the next couple of years.

We would also like to recognize the exceptional theses of all the finalists: Dr. Connor Bottrell, Dr. Ryan Chown, Dr. Adam Gonzalez, and Dr. Émilie Parent

Dr. Karun Thanjavur: Winner of the 2022 Qilak Award for Astronomy Communications, Public Education and Outreach

CASCA is pleased to announce that Dr. Karun Thanjavur is the winner of the 2022 Qilak Award, recognizing his outstanding outreach work for a diverse group of beneficiaries, specifically leading efforts to connect Indigenous communities around the province with the University of Victoria. His projects within the last few years include multiple programs bringing Indigenous students to the university for astronomy classes, labs, and telescope observing sessions, and leading the organization of several activities at CASCA 2018 that connected local Indigenous knowledge-keepers with CASCA members. In addition to these Indigenous-focused programs, he also regularly appears in the media and extensively organizes public outreach with UVic’s on-campus observatory. The 2017 solar eclipse event was wildly successful with ~1500 attendees.  As well as mentoring students of many different ages and backgrounds, he acquires observing time on DAO’s Plaskett telescope every quarter specifically for training and mentoring undergraduates. Dr. Thanjavur earned his PhD from UVic and has held positions ranging from marine engineering, to teaching robotics and combustion engineering, to instrument scientist and resident astronomer at CFHT, and is currently a Senior Lab Instructor at UVic.

National Research Council Takes Major Step to Cement Canada’s International Leadership in Astronomy

Canada signs cooperation agreement with the SKA Observatory

November 29, 2021 (OTTAWA) – A new cooperation agreement signed today by the National Research Council (NRC) to continue Canada’s participation in the Square Kilometer Array Observatory (SKAO) helps cement Canada’s international leadership in astronomy. One of the largest scientific projects in human history, SKAO will be the world’s most powerful radio telescope.

The Coalition for Canadian Astronomy welcomed the announcement and expressed its thanks to the NRC and to Innovation, Science and Industry Minister François-Philippe Champagne for their leadership in securing the cooperation agreement.

“Canada’s astronomers are consistently ranked among the best in the world, and the research produced makes astronomy arguably Canada’s highest ranked science. Known for developing a number of breakthrough technologies in radio astronomy, Canada has been a partner in SKA since its inception, and today we are taking a step towards long-term participation in a project that will generate amazing discoveries for decades to come,” said Rob Thacker, President of the Canadian Astronomical Society and Coalition Co-Chair.

The SKA will be constructed over the next decade, with the earliest science operations beginning mid-way through construction. The international project will combine almost 200 dish-shaped radio telescopes together in South Africa, and connect over 100,000 low-frequency antennas in Australia. The SKA will also have data centres around the world, including one potentially in Canada. There are currently 16 partner countries in the project.

The SKA has been a top priority for Canadian astronomy for over two decades as it progressed through the conception and design phases. The project entered the construction phase on July 1 of this year.

“Canada’s continued leadership in astronomy is directly tied to access to the world’s most advanced facilities. Joining the SKAO is enormously important when it comes to our ability to attract and retain the top researchers and students in astronomy,” said Don Brooks, Executive Director of the Association of Canadian Universities for Research in Astronomy and Coalition Co-Chair.

“Canadian industry has a long history of providing the skilled design, engineering, and manufacturing required for next-generation global astronomy facilities like the SKA, which leads to spinoffs across a range of industries. Today is not only a win for Canadian science, but also great news for the economy and the companies that will supply critical components of the project,” added Guy Nelson, President and CEO of Dynamic Technologies Group and Coalition Co-Chair.

The Coalition is hopeful this announcement will lead to Canada’s full and long-term participation in the SKA.

“The SKA will transform our understanding of the history, contents, extreme conditions, and prospects for life in the Universe,” said Kristine Spekkens, Canadian SKA Science Director and Professor at the Royal Military College and Queen’s. “The science that the SKA will enable is well-aligned with the expertise of Canadian astronomers, who will be at the forefront of many of its ground-breaking discoveries.”

The Coalition is firmly committed to SKA advancing goals around equity, diversity and inclusion, as well as nurturing the next generation of scientists and engineers.

“Scientific discoveries with the SKA will inspire a new generation of young Canadians to pursue careers in STEM fields. Guided by the 15 community recommendations in the Long-Range Plan for Astronomy and Astrophysics, the Coalition is working to increase participation and inclusion of communities that are under-represented in astronomy,” said Thacker.

About the Coalition for Canadian Astronomy
The Coalition is composed of:
• Academia: represented by the Association of Canadian Universities for Research in Astronomy (ACURA) and its 20 members;
• Professional astronomers: represented by the Canadian Astronomical Society (CASCA);
• Industry: represented by Canadian companies involved in major astronomy projects.

The Coalition is united behind the Long-Range Plan for Astronomy and Astrophysics (LRP), a decadal plan first launched in 2000 and renewed in 2010 and 2020, with a view to sustaining Canada’s international leadership in astronomy. The LRP process, backed by Coalition support, has created a legacy of success, with astronomy consistently ranked as Canada’s top science and Canadians at the forefront of this field globally.

Duncan Rayner, 613-241-6000, ext 223