Dunlap Postdoctoral Fellowships in Astronomical Instrumentation

The University of Toronto (https://www.utoronto.ca/) invites applications for Dunlap Postdoctoral Fellowships in Astronomical Instrumentation within the Dunlap Institute for Astronomy and Astrophysics (http://www.dunlap.utoronto.ca/). The Dunlap Institute pursues innovative instrumentation, technology and observational research to advance our understanding of the Universe, in close collaboration with Toronto colleagues in the David A. Dunlap Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics (http://www.astro.utoronto.ca/) (DADDAA) and in the Canadian Institute for Theoretical Astrophysics (http://www.cita.utoronto.ca/) (CITA).

Dunlap Fellows are expected to conduct a program of original research either independently or in collaboration with others at the University of Toronto and will be offered professional development and mentoring across a range of topics relevant to a scientific career. Candidates will be selected on the basis of potential for innovative research in astronomical instrumentation or experimental astrophysics, as well as, on synergy with existing activities within the Dunlap Institute. (Potential for innovative research can be established through past accomplishments, future plans, publications, reference letters, or any combination thereof.) The Dunlap Institute is involved in multiple astronomical instrumentation projects ranging from radio/sub-mm to the ultraviolet/optical/infrared (UVOIR). The Institute also supports a research and development program specializing in adaptive optics, astrophotonics, UVOIR instrumentation, balloon-borne telescopes, radio receivers, radio dishes, and signal processing. Major instrumentation projects (http://www.dunlap.utoronto.ca/instrumentation/) currently underway at the Institute include CHIME Outriggers, CHORD, Dragonfly, GIRMOS, GPI Upgrade, and SuperBIT.

Dunlap Fellows have access to laboratories, computing clusters and fabrication facilities, and can propose for additional internal support for their experimental plans. Dunlap Fellows are also encouraged to participate in the Institute’s outreach and training initiatives. The range of activities and opportunities in research, outreach and training can be seen on the Dunlap Institute’s web site.

The Dunlap Institute, DADDAA and CITA together host more than 150 staff and students in astronomy, who conduct a diverse research program across instrumentation, observation, computation and theory. The Dunlap Institute is located on a beautiful 19th century campus in the heart of one of the world’s great cities. Rated as having one of the highest standards of living in the world, Toronto offers a huge range of indoor and outdoor pursuits, outstanding food and music, and a vibrant and diverse cultural community.

The Dunlap Institute is committed to an inclusive and flexible workplace. We encourage applications from qualified applicants of all sexual orientations and gender expressions, racialized people, Indigenous peoples, persons with disabilities, and potential dual-academic-career hires. Subject to immigration regulations, successful candidates will be given the option to take up their Fellowships as part-time appointments (such a request need not be made as part of a candidate’s initial application and will not be disclosed to the selection committee).

Appointments are for three years. Dunlap Fellowships include an annual salary of CAD $71,821 plus generous benefits (https://www.cupe3902.org/unit-5/benefits/), a research allowance of CAD $18,000 per year, relocation assistance, and the opportunity to request additional research funds from the Dunlap Institute.

The nominal commencement date is September 1, 2022. Applicants must have earned a PhD in astronomy, astrophysics, or a related field at the time of appointment. Applicants should have a PhD awarded on or after January 1, 2017 (career interruptions or other extenuating circumstances will be accommodated, and should be noted in the cover letter).

All application materials must be submitted online at AcademicJobsOnline, by November 12th, 2021. There are four required components of the application:
1. A 300-word summary of the applicant’s planned activities as a Dunlap Fellow, submitted via the online application form.
2. A 300-word summary of how the applicant will benefit from being hosted by the Dunlap Institute and on how the Dunlap Institute will benefit from hosting the applicant, submitted via the online application form.
3. A cover letter, a curriculum vitae, a publication list, and a three-page detailed description of the applicant’s planned activities as a Dunlap Fellow.
4. Three letters of reference (on letterhead and signed), uploaded through AcademicJobsOnline by the applicant’s referees by November 12th, 2021.

In order to write the strongest possible application (especially for item 2 above), applicants are strongly encouraged to review the current list of faculty who can act as potential collaborators or mentors (http://www.dunlap.utoronto.ca/people/dunlap-institute-for-astronomy-and-astrophysics-faculty-and-associated-faculty/). Discussing your application with relevant faculty prior to the application deadline is recommended but not required.

Interested applicants should note the existence of other upcoming postdoctoral fellowship opportunities at the University of Toronto, including CITA Postdoctoral Fellowships (https://www.cita.utoronto.ca/opportunities/post-docs/), Arts & Science Postdoctoral Fellowships (https://www.sgs.utoronto.ca/awards/arts-science-postdoctoral-fellowship-program/) and the Provost’s Postdoctoral Fellowships for Black & Indigenous Scholars (https://www.sgs.utoronto.ca/awards/provosts-postdoctoral-fellowship-program%E2%80%8B/). Those interested in these opportunities should contact actingdirector@dunlap.utoronto.ca for more information.

The normal hours of work are 40 hours per week for a full-time postdoctoral fellow (pro-rated for those holding a partial appointment) recognizing that the needs of the employee’s research and training and the needs of the supervisor’s research program may require flexibility in the performance of the employee’s duties and hours of work.
Employment as a Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Toronto is covered by the terms of the CUPE 3902 Unit 5 Collective Agreement. This job is posted in accordance with the CUPE 3902 Unit 5 Collective Agreement.
The University of Toronto is strongly committed to diversity within its community and especially welcomes applications from racialized persons / persons of colour, women, Indigenous / Aboriginal People of North America, persons with disabilities, LGBTQ2S+ persons, and others who may contribute to the further diversification of ideas.

To apply online, please go to https://academicjobsonline.org/ajo/fellowship/19473

Closing Date for Receipt of Applications: November 12th, 2021

McMaster University: Tenure Stream Assistant Professor in Observational Exoplanet Astronomy

McMaster University is located on the traditional territories of the Haudenosaunee and Mississauga Nations, and within the lands protected by the Dish with One Spoon wampum agreement.

Position Description

The Department of Physics & Astronomy at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada invites applications for a full-time, tenure-track faculty position at the rank of Assistant Professor in observational exoplanet astronomy beginning July 1, 2022.

Candidates must have completed a Ph.D. in a relevant discipline by the start date of the appointment. The successful candidate must demonstrate a vibrant program of excellent research in observational exoplanet astronomy broadly defined, including but not limited to exoplanet detection and characterization, exoplanet atmospheres, protoplanetary disks, and planet formation. They must show the potential for high quality teaching and mentoring as well as supervising at the undergraduate and graduate level. They must also have the potential to make substantive service contributions to the McMaster community; and to contribute actively to the goals of equity, diversity and inclusivity at McMaster.

The Department of Physics & Astronomy presently consists of 26 faculty and approximately 100 graduate students, with strengths in astrophysics, soft matter/biophysics, medical physics, theoretical high-energy physics and condensed matter physics. Facilities related to astrophysical research at McMaster include the highly interdisciplinary Origins Institute, the state-of-the-art Origins of Life Laboratory featuring the unique planet simulator instrument, and a high performance computing cluster (SHARCNET). The Origins Institute also runs Canada’s only Collaborative Graduate Program in Astrobiology. The department operates a strong public outreach program, that includes the W. J. McCallion Planetarium and which hosts an annual average of 300 shows or approximately 10,000 people.

McMaster University is a globally renowned institution of higher learning and a research community committed to advancing human and societal health and well-being. Our focus on collaboratively exchanging ideas and approaches makes us uniquely positioned to pioneer ground-breaking solutions to real-world problems leading to a Brighter World. The Faculty of Science works to create global impact by advancing scientific discovery and knowledge, and promoting greater understanding. Our innovative, interdisciplinary approach generates new methods and insights, results, and lasting change.

Commitment to Inclusive Excellence

The diversity of our workforce is at the core of our innovation and creativity and strengthens our research and teaching excellence. In keeping with its Statement on Building an Inclusive Community with a Shared Purpose, McMaster University strives to embody the values of respect, collaboration and diversity, and has a strong commitment to employment equity.

The University seeks qualified candidates who share our commitment to equity and inclusion, who will contribute to the diversification of ideas and perspectives, and especially welcomes applications from First Nations, Métis and Inuit peoples, members of racialized communities (« visible minorities »), persons with disabilities, women, persons who identify as 2SLGBTQ+.

We invite all applicants to complete a brief Diversity Survey, which takes approximately two minutes to complete, through McMaster’s application submission portal. All questions are voluntary, with an option to decline to answer. All information collected is confidential and will be used to support efforts to broaden the diversity of the applicant pool and to promote a fair, equitable and inclusive talent acquisition process.

Job applicants requiring accommodation to participate in the hiring process should contact the Office of the Dean, Faculty of Science at baileyd@mcmaster.ca to communicate accommodation needs.

How to Apply

Complete applications must be made online at https://hr.mcmaster.ca/careers/current-opportunities/ (Faculty Positions, Job 39839) by the deadline, to the attention of Dr. Alison Sills, Professor & Chair, Department of Physics & Astronomy, McMaster University, 1280 Main Street West, Hamilton, Ontario, L8S 4K1.

A complete application consists of:
• a cover letter (including a statement regarding whether the applicant has Canadian citizenship/permanent resident status (see below))
• a current Curriculum Vitae, including a complete list of students mentored or (co)-supervised by the applicant, and a complete list of publications.
• a statement of research interests (2-page maximum)
• a statement of teaching philosophy, interests and experience (2-page maximum)
• a statement of experience and plans for advancing equity, diversity and inclusion in post-secondary education, community-based or other professional settings (2-page maximum)
• a list of three (3) referees who would be willing to provide a letter of reference for you. Please note that no reference or letters of recommendations are required at the time of application. These will be solicited at later stages of the search process. Unsolicited letters will not be reviewed until later stages of the search process.

Review of complete applications will begin November 15, 2021 and continue until the position is filled. All applicants will receive an on-line, system-generated confirmation of receipt of their application; however, only short-listed applicants will be contacted for interviews. Please be advised that any full-time, permanent faculty member of the Department can request confidential access to the application materials, including the reference letters. Progressive policies are in place to assist faculty members achieve a work-life balance. Salary will be commensurate with qualifications and experience.

All qualified candidates are encouraged to apply; however, Canadian citizens and permanent residents will be given priority. To comply with the Government of Canada’s reporting requirements, the University is obliged to gather information about applicants’ status as either Canadian citizens or Permanent Residents of Canada. Applicants need not identify their country of origin or current citizenship; however, all applications, as stated above, MUST include one of the following statements in their application package: « I am/am not a citizen or permanent resident of Canada. » Applications that do not include this information will be deemed incomplete.

University of Toronto (Mississauga) Assistant Professor (Tenure Stream) Exoplanet/Planetary Astronomy

The Department of Chemical and Physical Sciences at the University of Toronto Mississauga (UTM) invites applications for a full-time, tenure stream position in the area of Exoplanet or Planetary Astronomy. The appointment will be at the rank of Assistant Professor, with an expected start date of July 1, 2022, or shortly thereafter.

UTM is one of the three University of Toronto campuses and the incumbent will also be a member of the tri-campus graduate unit, the Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics. Further, the successful candidate will have a close relationship with the Dunlap Institute, the Canadian Institute for Theoretical Astrophysics, and the Department of Physical & Environmental Sciences on the Scarborough campus.

Applicants must have earned a PhD in Astrophysics or a related area by the time of appointment, with a demonstrated record of excellence in research and teaching.

The successful candidate will be expected to pursue innovative and independent research at the highest international level and to establish an outstanding, competitive, and externally funded research program. Candidates must provide evidence of research excellence as demonstrated by a record of publications in top-ranked and field-relevant journals meeting high international standards, the submitted research statement, presentations at significant conferences, awards and accolades, as well as strong endorsements from academic referees.

Evidence of excellence in teaching will be demonstrated through teaching accomplishments, the teaching dossier, and strong endorsements by referees. The teaching dossier should include a statement of teaching philosophy, sample course materials, and teaching evaluations or other evidence of superior performance in teaching-related activities submitted as part of the application. Teaching-related activities may include pedagogical publications, conference presentations, or posters, performance as a teaching assistant or course instructor, experience leading successful workshops or seminars, student mentorship, and outreach activities.

At UTM we are committed to fostering an environment of diversity and inclusion. With an enviably diverse student body, we especially welcome applications from candidates who identify as Indigenous, Black, or racially visible (persons of colour), and have experience working with teaching or mentoring diverse groups or students. Candidates must demonstrate an ability to foster diversity on campus and within the curriculum or discipline, and must show evidence of a commitment to equity, diversity, inclusion, and the promotion of a respectful and collegial environment, demonstrated through their application materials. Candidates, therefore, must submit a statement of contributions to equity, diversity, and inclusion, expanding on their experience with, knowledge about and their track record and plans for advancing equity, diversity, and inclusion, which might cover topics such as (but not limited to): teaching that incorporates a focus on underrepresented communities, the development of inclusive pedagogies, collaboration and engagement with, and service to, underrepresented communities, or the mentoring of students from underrepresented groups. If you have questions about this statement, please contact Lindsay Schoenbohm at cpschair.utm@utoronto.ca.

Salary will be commensurate with qualifications and experience.

All qualified candidates are invited to apply online by clicking the link below. Applicants must submit:
• a cover letter addressing their (1) research record, (2) research plans, and their (3) teaching interests and plans
• a current curriculum vitae
• a research statement outlining current and future research interests
• a teaching dossier that includes a statement of teaching philosophy, sample course materials, and teaching evaluations or other evidence of superior performance in teaching-related activities
• an equity and diversity statement as outlined above (1-2 pages)

Applicants must provide the name and contact information of three references. The University of Toronto’s recruiting tool will automatically solicit and collect confidential letters of reference from each referee once an application is submitted (this happens overnight). Applicants remain responsible for ensuring that referees submit letters (on letterhead, dated and signed) by the closing date.

Submission guidelines can be found at http://uoft.me/how-to-apply. Your CV and cover letter should be uploaded into the dedicated fields. Please combine additional application materials into one or two files in PDF/MS Word format. If you have any questions about this position, please contact Ekana Mc Alister, Assistant to the Chair, at cps.utm@utoronto.ca.

All application materials, including reference letters, must be received by November 15, 2021.

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

Diversity Statement
The University of Toronto is strongly committed to diversity within its community and especially welcomes applications from racialized persons / persons of colour, women, Indigenous / Aboriginal People of North America, persons with disabilities, LGBTQ2S+ persons, and others who may contribute to the further diversification of ideas.

As part of your application, you will be asked to complete a brief Diversity Survey. This survey is voluntary. Any information directly related to you is confidential and cannot be accessed by search committees or human resources staff. Results will be aggregated for institutional planning purposes. For more information, please see http://uoft.me/UP.

Accessibility Statement
The University strives to be an equitable and inclusive community, and proactively seeks to increase diversity among its community members. Our values regarding equity and diversity are linked with our unwavering commitment to excellence in the pursuit of our academic mission.

The University is committed to the principles of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA). As such, we strive to make our recruitment, assessment and selection processes as accessible as possible and provide accommodations as required for applicants with disabilities.

If you require any accommodations at any point during the application and hiring process, please contact uoft.careers@utoronto.ca.

Update on Canadian Initiative for Radio Astronomy Data Analysis (CIRADA)

By / par Bryan Gaensler (U. Toronto)
(Cassiopeia – Autumn / l’automne 2021)

The Canadian Initiative for Radio Astronomy Data Analysis (CIRADA) is producing science-ready public data products for large surveys being conducted with three telescopes: the Very Large Array (VLA), the Australian Square Kilometer Array Pathfinder (ASKAP), and the Canadian Hydrogen Intensity Mapping Experiment (CHIME). These products (e.g., images, cubes, time series spectra, catalogues, databases, alerts, pipeline algorithms, and software tools) utilize Canadian Advanced Network for Astronomical Research (CANFAR) services and are searchable and usable through the Canadian Astronomy Data Centre (CADC). CIRADA also serves as a pilot project for Canada’s planned Square Kilometre Array Regional Centre.

We are pleased to announce an updated portfolio of products as follows:

  1. A “Quicklook Catalogue” of 1.7 million radio sources from the first epoch of the VLA Sky Survey (VLASS), which now includes a second version that contains data on sidelobe probabilities, the software pipelines that were used to generate the catalogues, and detailed user manuals.
  2. pyink, developed in collaboration with Dr. Tim Galvin, a tool that simplifies the preprocessing and analysis that is required to train a self-organizing map (SOM) using PINK. A SOM identifies common morphologies in a collection of images, which can be used to (i) classify image morphologies, (ii) group separate components into sources, (iii) reject spurious sources, (iv) save on processing time for other machine learning models. A tutorial and cookbook are provided to help train your own SOM.
  3. An Image Cutout Provider that allows astronomers to quickly visualize data from multiple surveys (VLASS Quicklook, GLEAM, FIRST, NVSS, WISE, PanSTARRS, SDSS I-II) at a given position in the sky and to download the data for further analysis. (Please note that we have received recent reports that the mosaicked images created using montage introduces astrometric errors; users are advised to use the individual images that are also returned by the server rather than the mosaic while we work to resolve this.)
  4. A Rotation Measure (RM) Cutout Provider that provides cutouts for the mean and standard deviation of the reconstructed Faraday sky as calculated by Hutschenreuter et al.
  5. The RM-Tools software package for radio polarimetry analysis, including 1D and 3D RM synthesis, RM-clean and QU fitting on polarized radio spectra.
  6. Hydra: A source finder comparison and analysis tool that can be used to compare multiple source-finding algorithms on radio continuum data, along with examples and instructions.
  7. A mock-cube generator suite for observations of galaxies in 21cm HI, which can be used to generate realistic data cubes for a single axisymmetric galaxy model, or for a suite of axisymmetric models generated from standard scaling relations.

Upcoming releases include:

  • an alpha version of the VLASS Quicklook Transient Marshal (Q4 2021)
  • a third version of the VLASS Quicklook component catalogue, which will include data on double sources that have been picked out by Yjan Gordon’s novel DragonHunter software pipeline (end of 2021)

Currently we are in discussions with external science partners to integrate Rapid ASKAP Continuum Survey (RACS) catalogues and images into our services. We are also in discussion to integrate the WALLABY pilot field source detections to accompany our planned release of kinematic models in Q2 2022. We are continuing our collaboration with the Institute for Data Intensive Astronomy (IDIA) and with the Canadian Astronomy Data Centre (CADC) to enable the use of the Cube Analysis and Rendering Tool for Astronomy (CARTA) for viewing image data and tabular catalogues directly through our portal. Other 12- to 15-month plans include the release of additional data products such as a VLASS Quicklook Transients catalogue, VLASS single epoch continuum catalogues, a CHIME slow pulsar catalogue, POSSUM polarization products, and a new standard for Faraday rotation catalogues.

Dissertation: Exotic Binaries in Galactic Globular Clusters: Identification, Classification, and their Formation

(Cassiopeia – Autumn / l’automne 2021)

by / par Dr. Yue Zhao (Cory)
Thesis defended on July 6, 2021
Department of Physics, University of Alberta
Thesis advisor: Prof. Craig Heinke


Globular clusters (GCs) are dense and massive stellar populations, which provide a unique environment where the high stellar density facilitates frequent dynamical encounters, creating many exotic binaries. These exotic binaries generally have short orbits and often harbour compact objects, namely neutron stars (NSs), black holes (BHs), and white dwarfs (WDs). With the unprecedented sensitivity and angular resolution of the Chandra X-ray Observatory, GCs are found to host an overabundance of X-ray binaries.

This thesis identifies and classifies exotic binaries in multiple GCs and presents their relation to cluster dynamics, incorporating X-ray, UV, optical, and radio observations. In the GC M3 (NGC 5272), we discovered 16 X-ray sources within the half-light radius (rh), where the second brightest source (M3-CX2) is a newly discovered low-mass X-ray binary candidate. In a study of NGC 6397, we incorporate deep radio imaging observations from the MAVERIC radio survey and find a strong “hidden” millisecond pulsar candidate. A deep observation of M30 reveals 10 new X-ray sources within rh and suggests a difference between the radial distributions of bright and faint X-ray sources. Finally, a census of radio sources in multiple GCs indicates that they are likely a mixture of millisecond pulsars (the numbers of which, per cluster, scale with the rate of stellar encounters in each cluster) and quiescent black hole binaries (which do not show a simple scaling with the number of stellar encounters per cluster).

President’s Message

By / par Rob Thacker (CASCA President)
(Cassiopeia – Autumn / l’automne 2021)

Dear Members,

I’ll start by wishing you all well as the fall starts. There are a lot of nerves in the university community – trust me I know as Chief Negotiator for the Saint Mary’s Faculty Union – and I hope that you are able to work effectively with your own administrations to manage COVID-19 workplace concerns effectively.

While a message like this is inevitably quite arms-length, I sincerely hope you are all able to maintain your mental hygiene. While more and more workplaces are bringing in various support mechanisms along these lines, it can still be difficult to find time for this type of self-care when so many other tasks need to be done. I can certainly say I find it difficult, especially as the service part of my work has grown. Personally, one of the most useful things I have learned is how to avoid ruminating. If you are self-critical that can be quite a debilitating habit. I found this talk by Dr Guy Winch especially enlightening.

It has obviously been an extremely difficult summer for CASCA, but as I have indicated discussions are ongoing and I am optimistic that we seem to be moving forward. The end of August saw something of a pause on efforts as multiple people were out of the office until the start of term. I pass on my personal thanks to all those people that have taken time to talk with me, I have learned much. When trust breaks down it is difficult to quickly rebuild working relationships and as a society of volunteers, we rely immensely on labour that is provided for free. Moreover, those efforts are often provided in situations with limited authority and resources. Remember, the annual budget of CASCA is a fraction of a single faculty salary, compare that to CAUT which receives over $7m a year.

As a note, historically we have tended to not spend resources on Board member training so that we can distribute more funds for supporting conferences. As astronomy working practices are evolving so perhaps should our training expectations. With the past two AGMs functioning in virtual form the Society’s financial picture is relative stable and fees will remain flat again this year. We can thus see a potential for devoting a modest amount of funds towards this. The one challenge with this approach is that directors cycle-off on a 2-year timescale, so whatever is put in place can’t be a one-off situation. There are several resources around anti-racism, as well as other topics around inclusion, that I’ve witnessed used with other Boards quite effectively. Note, I am all too aware of “tick the box” criticisms through my union work, avoiding that is important. I’m not mentioning indigenous issues and reconciliation here as that is a very important issue for the Society which I will address on its own in a future message.

In terms of major civic issues impacting astronomy, by the time you read this we will know the outcome of the federal election. The surprise election of a conservative majority government in Nova Scotia is a stark reminder of the uncertainties of polls. To a certain extent the Coalition has prepared for a possible change of government, but there is only so much that can be done. The decision making and bureaucracy systems function at the will of the government, so we are anticipating an inevitable pause in interactions this fall, precisely how long is difficult to know. As a rough timeline, we can expect a new cabinet appointed by mid-October and Parliament to resume in November.

Rather than outlining summaries of the ongoing status of various projects, which are frequently described in more detail elsewhere in Cassiopeia, in this message I’m going to take some time to talk about the Society and what is expected of directors as well as the process by which directors are appointed.

Of course, research continues apace, and I pass on thanks to all the authors that have contributed to this edition of Cassiopeia. If I can just inject one suggestion, I encourage everyone to read Kristine Spekkens’ SKA update as a lot has been happening there. Joanne Rosvick gets another big thank you for her continued duty and diligence as editor of Cassiopeia!

And, of course, my thanks as always to those of you who continue to give your time to CASCA and to the upkeep of our wider community in general!

CASCA Office Update

I need to inform you all that our webmaster Don Hutton had a heart attack in August. He was given a stent, and while discharged after three days and back at work a few more days later, he tells me he is still tiring easily even if his cholesterol is now impressively low after a change in diet and some medication. While I appreciate that the vast majority of you will not have interacted with Don, I am sure the entire membership will join me in passing on our best wishes for a continued recovery.

Expected Duties of Directors

While a President’s report is perhaps not a great place to give a detailed breakdown of the expected duties of directors, I thought it might be prudent to outline what the typical expectations are. For CASCA, because our resources are comparatively limited compared to the number of members we have, we cannot afford to employ an Executive Director. Consequently, the Board must function perhaps more as a “management Board” than desired, arguably the role of Boards is really meant to be oversight and to a lesser extent strategic direction, among other things.

For not-for-profit boards, the generally accepted duties are as follows:

  1. Duty of Care: Directors have a duty of competence, namely the requirement to act with a certain level of skill in making decisions for the organization. The duty of care describes the level of attention required of a director, arguably one might consider it a “duty to be informed,” and to act with competence and diligence. The law doesn’t require directors to be experts, but it does expect that they act in accordance with a reasonable standard of care and to act responsibly to maintain such standards.
  2. Duty of Loyalty: Directors must act honestly and in good faith, in essence putting the best interests of the whole organization ahead of their own interests. The duty of loyalty is a personal duty of directors, it cannot be delegated to management, staff, or volunteers of the organization.
  3. Duty of Compliance (Obedience): An NFP corporation must follow applicable laws and regulations including its own bylaws. This essentially encapsulates that the organization must adhere to its stated corporate purposes in the Articles of Incorporation.

You can easily find many articles on the web that will define further legal duties, but these three high level requirements outline the key expectations of directors. Duty of Care is interesting in that the ultimate standard is that you show appropriate diligence in your role as director. Attending meetings, for example, is considered one of the parts of this requirement. Note I will say upfront that since we transitioned to monthly meetings on top of the longer quarterly meetings it has proven to be a challenge to find slots that work for everyone. Navigating four time zones across nine people each with difficult teaching schedules can be a struggle.

Duty of Loyalty encapsulates all the conflict of interest concerns we often worry about. It is perhaps the most straightforward expectation, but it can be difficult to meet. We may often not appreciate our own biases, for example. Duty of Compliance is straightforwardly understood.

Some of you may have guessed that I have an ulterior motive for the above few passages. Specifically, next year will be a significant one in terms of elections. Moreover, that process actually has to start surprisingly soon. So, I’ll finish this update with an important discussion of the upcoming elections and the bylaw processes that need to be followed.

2022 AGM Board Elections

One of the roles of the Past President is to organize nominations for the upcoming elections as Chair of the Nominations Committee. I had been looking at this with some trepidation, as for 2022 we have a significant slate of positions to fill on the Board. No less than four officer position and two director positions are potentially up for election as both the Secretary and Treasurer have the choice to offer for a second term.

The precise number of vacancies is determined not less than six months before the AGM, and for this year, November 15th is the latest date. I can say upfront that both myself and Erik, as Acting President & Interim Vice President respectively, will not be continuing beyond the AGM, as we are both in these positions under bylaw 9.1, which allows for emergency actions as needed but only until the next election cycle. Thus, both the Presidency and Vice Presidency must be filled by election in 2022. In case anyone is wondering about the normal succession process of the Vice President becoming the President, that is a policy rather than a bylaw. The bylaws themselves state clearly that office of the President is a position that is elected, in practice the succession approach means we have filled it via acclamation (this point has been emphasized at recent business meetings).

In the recent past, the Nominations Committee has frequently had to canvas people in the community and to generate nominations by that process. While always conducted, IMHO, in a spirit of openness, nonetheless the small size of the Nominations Committee has sometimes limited its awareness. I include myself in that criticism as a former member of the Nominations Committee.

With this in mind, I want to remind the community of the full process of nominations is outlined in the Society bylaws. In terms of eligibility, bylaw 5.2.1 states that directors must be ordinary members of the Society, which means those individuals that have either graduated from a PhD or been granted ordinary membership status. Bylaw 5.2.4 then outlines the Secretary puts out a call for nominations six months before the AGM, and nominations must be supported by five members eligible to vote. The role of the Nominations Committee is essentially to prepare a list of candidates and ensure consent of said individuals.

The remainder of the bylaw describes that members should be informed of the list of candidates at least 60 days before the AGM, although candidates can actually continue to be added up to 40 days before the election date. Note, some of bylaw 5.2.4 is archaic in places, in that we have moved to electronic voting, but the meaning is sufficiently clear it is not problematic. It could be changed, but it’s worth remembering every bylaw change must be filed with Corporations Canada so it is not as trivial as just changing a word document.

OK, I hope that clears up the precise nomination process. If anyone has any questions, you are of course welcome to ask myself, or Judith Irwin the society Secretary.

Wishing every one of you a safe and productive fall,


ALMA Matters


From / de Gerald Schieven (ALMA)
(Cassiopeia – Autumn / l’automne 2021)

ALMA Development Project – Second Generation Correlator

NRC, in collaboration with NRAO and Haystack/MIT, submitted a proposal in April 2021 in response to the ALMA Cycle 9 call for development proposals, to build a second generation ALMA correlator. This proposal, with 2X bandwidth (16 GHz/pol) and expansion capability to 4X bandwidth (32 GHz/pol), was selected and approved by the NSF for (2X bandwidth) funding in the competitive peer-reviewed process. The proposed correlator (and VLBI beamformer) is based on the TALON technology and Frequency Slice Architecture that NRC developed for the SKA1 Mid telescope correlator/beamformer. This design meets and exceeds second generation ALMA correlator requirements on many fronts, correlating up to 80 antennas in one or more sub-arrays (i.e. all ALMA site antennas) with standard full-Stokes channel bandwidth of 13.5 kHz with nearly brick-wall -60 dB channel-to-channel isolation, across the full science bandwidth, with tunable “zoom” window channel resolution by factors of 2 down to a factor of 64 (~211 Hz) with proportionately less total correlated bandwidth. VLBI beamforming bandwidth and correlated bandwidth can be flexibly traded-off, optimizing use of processing resources.

The Cycle 8 2021 ACA Supplemental Call for Proposals is Now OPEN

The Joint ALMA Observatory (JAO) is now accepting observing proposals for Cycle 8 that request to use the Atacama Compact Array (ACA) in stand-alone mode. Instructions on how to submit proposals can be found on the Cycle 8 Supplemental Call web page.

Users of any nationality or affiliation are invited to submit proposals before the deadline of 15:00 UT on Wednesday 6 October 2021.

Proposals submitted in the Supplemental Call will be peer reviewed using a distributed system in which each proposal team selects a designated reviewer to participate in the review process. The review process is described in detail in the Supplemental Call documentation.

Proposals with targets at any RA will be considered, but those that can be observed in the LST range 20 to 10 h are particularly encouraged. Note that 7m-Array polarization observations are not offered at this Supplemental Call. In addition, time-constrained and Target-of-Opportunity (ToO) observations are not offered at this Call for Proposals. A minimum of 1500 h will be allocated each on the 7-m Array and the Total Power Array to proposals submitted at this Call.

For the complete news item, please visit here.

Cycle 9 ALMA Ambassadors Program is Now Accepting Applications (deadline 15 October)

Are you a graduate student, postdoc, or early career researcher at a university or research institute in Canada or the US and interested in learning more about ALMA, sharing that information with the community, and receiving up to US$10,000 to support your research? Apply to become an ALMA Ambassador!

The NAASC is pleased to announce the opening of applications for the 2022 Cycle 9 ALMA Ambassadors program. Ambassadors will receive training in interferometry, the latest ALMA capabilities, and tips for proposing for ALMA. They will use that information to organize and lead a proposal preparation or data processing/analysis workshop (for their home institute, an alternate institute, or virtual workshop).

Applications are due by 5 P.M. ET on 15 October 2021; training will take place in February 2022. Proposal workshops will be held in March/April 2022 and data processing/analysis workshops will be held later in 2022.

For more information on the program and how to apply, please see here.

The Regional ARCs continue to provide support to their communities. Please contact the ALMA Helpdesk if you have any questions, comments or concerns.

Employment Opportunities with the North American ALMA Research Center

The North American ALMA Regional Center (NA ARC) is recruiting for up to three scientific staff positions. NRAO staff scientists are expected to enable cutting-edge science by the community, help enhance the scientific impact of NRAO telescopes, contribute to the overall NRAO mission, and demonstrate commitment to the principles of diversity, equity, and inclusion. NRAO scientist-track appointments entail 25% independent scientific research and 75% functional responsibilities.

Scientist (Open Rank): Up to two positions will be within the North American ALMA Science Center (NAASC), focused within the ALMA Telescope Interface and Diagnostics Group. This group is the NAASC technical liaison to the Joint ALMA Observatory (JAO) in Chile and is responsible for all ALMA telescope-facing activities. The successful candidate(s) will work closely with the Telescope Interface and Diagnostics Group, the JAO, and the NAASC data processing team on functional duties that could include technical investigation, reporting and tracking of data quality issues, contributing to the extension and optimization of ALMA’s capabilities, scientific support of ALMA development programs, technical support for ALMA observations, and supporting ALMA telescope operations in Chile.

Assistant Scientist: One position will be focused on supporting development of ALMA-related functionality for NRAO’s Science Ready Data Products (SRDP) Initiative. The SRDP project aims to facilitate science at radio wavelengths by delivering data products that are ready to use for scientific study by a wide range of astronomers, including non-experts in interferometry, thereby making radio astronomy more accessible to the broader astronomical community. The successful candidate will work with the SRDP Project Scientist and the SRDP Heuristics Team to define and prototype new features to be included in ALMA/NRAO data processing pipelines, CASA software package, and the NRAO archive.

For further information, including application instructions, visit the Associated Universities, Inc. Careers page. The deadline for receipt of applications is October 15, 2021.

Compte rendu de l’Agence spatiale canadienne (ASC)

par Denis Laurin (Scientifique principal de programme, astronomie spatiale, Agence spatiale canadienne)

(Cassiopeia – l’automne 2021)


Missions en cours

JWST (Jean Dupuis et Luminita Ilinca Ignat)

Les derniers tests réalisés en août sur le télescope Webb sont réussis et les préparatifs pour son expédition sont en cours. Le lancement du JWST est désormais prévu pour le 18 décembre 2021. L’équipe FGS/NIRISS participe à des répétitions en vue du lancement du JWST et de la mise en service qui suivra. Pour mettre en ligne les capacités d’imagerie, d’imagerie à contraste élevé et de spectroscopie après le lancement, un ensemble soigneusement défini et séquencé d’activités de mise en service a été développé. Ces activités, planifiées sur une durée de 6 mois après le lancement, permettront de confirmer la fonctionnalité des instruments, de caractériser leurs performances (en les optimisant dans la mesure du possible), d’obtenir des étalonnages initiaux à un niveau requis pour bien planifier les observations et démontrer les séquences opérationnelles essentielles telles que l’acquisition de cibles.

Les applications retenues par la NASA en demande de financement auprès de l’ASC sont actuellement sous évaluations. Un avis d’appel d’offres pour le soutien financier de l’ASC aux propositions de cycle 1 et d’ERS (Early Release Science) a été annoncé au cours de l’été et le processus d’examen (incluant des évaluateurs externes de l’Agence) est en cours dans le but d’accorder un soutien à ces projets d’ici la fin de l’année fiscale en cours.

Le protocole d’entente (MOU) avec le CNRC pour soutenir les opérations scientifiques, ainsi que le soutien à l’Université de Montréal, seront prolongés jusqu’au lancement et à sa mise en service, et nous préparons les renouvellements pour la phase d’opération.

ASTROSAT (Jean Dupuis)

L’ASC continue à soutenir la mission Astrosat (années fiscales 21/22 et 22/23). Le détecteur NUV d’UVIT n’est toujours pas disponible, mais les canaux FUV et VIS fonctionnent toujours bien. Contactez Joe Postma, Université de Calgary, pour plus de détails sur les questions de traitement et d’analyse des données UVIT ou pour obtenir de l’aide dans la préparation des propositions. Les chercheurs canadiens qui ont obtenu du temps d’observation au cours des cycles précédents ont reçu une subvention de l’ASC; la personne-ressource pour le programme de subventions ASTROSAT à l’ASC est Jean Dupuis. Nous encourageons les boursiers d’Astrosat à informer l’ASC de leurs publications récentes ou à venir, ainsi que de tout communiqué de presse en lien avec le projet.

NEOSSat programme d’observateurs invités

Le 3e cycle du programme d’observateurs invités est prolongé jusqu’en octobre avec l’intention d’émettre un AO pour le 4e cycle bientôt. Il n’y a pas de subvention associée aux AOP. Les données sont publiques (sur les sites FTP de l’ASC et du CADC). Une annonce sera envoyée aux membres de la CASCA lorsque le 4e cycle sera ouvert. Des informations sur le cycle précédent sont disponibles ici y compris la liste des observateurs sélectionnés.


Le mission XRISM (X-Ray Imaging and Spectroscopy Mission) de JAXA, est prévu pour le début de 2023. L’ASC a contribué à soutenir les tests de l’instrument Resolve, ce dernier une importante contribution de la NASA. Le Dr Luigi Gallo, Université St-Mary’s et le Dr Brian McNamara, Université de Waterloo pour l’instrument Resolve en sont membres. Les astronomes canadiens pourront postuler pour du temps d’observation sous les annonces d’opportunités de la NASA (programmes XGS et GO). L’ASC offrira du support financier à ceux qui seront retenus pas la NASA. Les détails seront affichés dans les futures AOP de l’ASC.


L’ASC soutient les opérations du nanosatellite canadien («BRITE-Toronto») au Space Flight Lab de l’Université de Toronto, depuis son lancement en 2013. L’ASC maintient le support aux opérations ainsi qu’un support au scientifique principal au Collège Militaire Royal. Tout soutien pour les années à venir sera, comme avant, soumis à une évaluation d’extension de mission.

Investir dans l’avenir

Équipes thématiques

L’ASC envisage la formation d’équipes thématiques en sciences spatiales, à l’instar des équipes thématiques de 2016, dont 4 en astronomie spatiale, afin d’identifier des objectifs et opportunités futurs. En réponse à la publication du Plan à long terme (PLT) 2020, de la parution attendue du plan décennal américain et du Voyage 2050 de l’ESA maintenant disponible, les équipes thématiques de l’ASC commenceraient théoriquement au début de l’année prochaine; ce sera l’occasion pour la communauté spatiale d’établir des objectifs pour la fin de la décennie et au-delà. Les équipes seraient formées de manière compétitive par le biais de demande de propositions. Cette initiative pourrait être suivie d’un atelier canadien d’exploration spatiale (ACES) en 2022 ; la communauté serait informée et invitée si l’atelier avait lieu.


La mission Ariel (Atmospheric Remote-sensing Exoplanet Large-survey) est une mission de l’ESA du programme Cosmic Vision (M4) avec un lancement en 2029. Ariel est une mission de 4 ans visant à étudier la composition des exoplanètes, avec un télescope de 1 m effectuant des observations dans les bandes photométriques et spectroscopiques, dans le visible et le proche infrarouge.
Le Canada a été invité par le Consortium de la mission à apporter une contribution matérielle à l’engin spatial. Ceci est identifié comme un « cryo-harnais », un câble de données qualifié pour l’espace pour les imageurs opérant à des températures cryogéniques. L’ASC étudie actuellement la faisabilité d’une telle contribution qui offrira en retour des possibilités de recherche scientifique intéressantes à la communauté, conformément aux recommandations du Plan à long terme (PLT) 2020 et du JCSA.

Programme de développements de technologies spatiales (PDTS)

Dans parution de Cassiopeia de décembre 2020, les propositions PDTS pour CASTOR et les technologies liées aux exoplanètes étaient en cours d’examen. Les contrats sont présentement en cours : 1) Technologies de la charge utile pour CASTOR (ciblant les éléments des imageurs, du télescope, du FSM, et d’un photomètre) sous l’entrepreneur principal ABB (Québec), avec Honeywell (Ottawa) et Magellan (2,250K$). 2) Des technologies (y compris la conception optique et les imageurs) liées au concept de microsatellite POET pour l’observation des transits des exoplanètes, par l’Université Bishop (1,000K$). 3) Un développement technologique pour diverses applications d’imagerie à haute sensibilité, y compris la recherche d’exoplanètes, utilisant des EMCCD, par Nuvu Cameras (825K$).


Identifiés comme la plus haute priorité du PLT 2020 dans la catégorie d’une très grande mission d’astronomie spatiale, les investissements ciblant CASTOR se poursuivent à court terme avec un développement technologique important prévu sur deux ans comme mentionné ci-haut. Cela fait suite à une étude scientifique approfondie réalisée en 2019 qui a raffiné les objectifs scientifiques et établi les exigences des instruments.
Une étude de phase 0 devrait suivre ainsi que du développement scientifique, qui fournira une conception de base détaillée de la mission, y compris une estimation complète des coûts et un plan de développement. Une mission aussi importante nécessitera une demande budgétaire spéciale du Gouvernement, car ce niveau de budget n’est pas disponible au niveau opérationnel de l’ASC. Un soutien continu et largement exprimé de la part de la communauté astronomique sera essentiel pour atteindre ces objectifs.
L’ASC explore les intérêts de partenaires internationaux potentiels et demeure en étroite collaboration avec le CNRC HAA pour définir un plan.


JAXA a choisi LiteBIRD comme sa prochaine mission de ‘Large-class’ et des développements sont en cours avec des partenaires internationaux. Le Canada a été accueilli en tant que contributeur potentiel, il y a plusieurs années, pour fournir l’électronique de lecture pour un vaste nombre de bolomètres cryogéniques nécessaires à cette mission de ‘CMB Pol’. L’ASC a investi dans les développements technologiques au courant des années, y compris le travail actuel de PDTS avec l’Université McGill jusqu’à la fin 2021 pour faire progresser cette technologie unique. Ces investissements sont alignés sur les priorités du PLT 2020 qui ont fait de la contribution de LiteBIRD la première priorité d’une contribution à grande échelle au cours de cette décennie. L’ASC discute des progrès avec la JAXA et d’autres partenaires de la mission. Une préoccupation reste, suite au retrait de la contribution américaine qui aurait fourni les détecteurs.

Supports à la communauté (subventions)

Subventions aux cochercheurs – appui aux chercheurs canadiens sur des missions internationales

Le programme cochercheurs a été décrit dans le numéro de septembre 2019 de Cassiopeia. L’ASC en fait un AOP annuel régulier et le prochain numéro paraîtra en septembre ou octobre. Une fois l’AOP publié, une notification sera envoyée par courriel aux membres de la CASCA. L’AOP précédente est toujours visible sur le site Web de l’ASC pour obtenir des informations générales.

L’AOP pour subventions VITES

L’AOP VITES 2021 est actuellement affiché. Avec un budget prévu de 5,28 millions, cette émission fournira des subventions dans 3 catégories de niveau de financement (300K$, 100K$, 40K$) dans divers domaines de recherche spatiale.

Veuillez consulter la page Web du AOP pour une description complète et la date de clôture.

Applications en ligne

Depuis peu, l’ASC propose une application entièrement en ligne (portail électronique) pour la plupart des AOP. Il est nécessaire de créer un compte avant de soumettre une proposition (les instructions sont fournies dans chaque AOP). La création du compte doit être effectuée plusieurs jours avant la date limite de soumission de l’AOP afin de résoudre tout problème technique qui pourrait nécessiter l’intervention de l’ASC.


Le comité consultatif JCSA

La composition du comité est présentement :

Locke Spencer, U. of Lethbridge (co-président)
Denis Laurin, ASC (co-président)
Mike Hudson U. de Waterloo
Jess McIver UBC
Chris Willott, NRC Herzberg
Jeremy Heyl, UBC

Les comités consultatif de l’ASC sont affichés sur la page Web de l’ASC, incluant les termes de référence. Deux membres partiront à la fin de leur mandat; les chercheurs ayant une expérience en astronomie spatiale intéressés par l’adhésion peuvent exprimer leur intérêt aux membres ou co-présidents du JCSA.
Je souhaite à tous un automne coloré!
Denis Laurin


CITA is a national centre for theoretical astrophysics, gravity and cosmology located at the University of Toronto. The Institute expects to offer several postdoctoral fellowships of three years. The starting date will be September 2022. Funds will be available for travel and other research expenses. A PhD in any field of theoretical astrophysics is required. Fellows are expected to carry out original research in theoretical astrophysics under the general supervision of the permanent faculty whose interests include: astrophysical dynamics, early universe, physical cosmology, interstellar and intergalactic matter, FRB’s/pulsar scintillometry and compact objects, galaxy, star, black hole and planet formation, stellar physics, high energy astrophysics and gravitational waves.

Applicants will be automatically considered for research associate positions of three to five years duration.

Please apply online at: https://icat.cita.utoronto.ca/pdf
Full job ad: http://www.cita.utoronto.ca/opportunities/post-docs

We only accept electronic submissions. Applicants will be asked to submit a curriculum vitae, statement of research interests and arrange for three letters of recommendation. The deadline for applications and all letters of recommendation is November 8, 2021.

The University of Toronto is strongly committed to diversity within its community and especially welcomes applications from racialized persons / persons of colour, women, Indigenous / Aboriginal People of North America, persons with disabilities, LGBTQ2S+ persons, and others who may contribute to the further diversification of ideas.

Square Kilometre Array (SKA) Update

By Kristine Spekkens (Canadian SKA Science Director) and the AACS
(Cassiopeia – Autumn / l’automne 2021)

Artist’s impression of the SKA, combining elements from South Africa and Australia from left to right in the image. Photos of real hardware have been blended with realizations of the future SKA antennas. Image credit: SKA Observatory.

The SKA project continues to proceed rapidly despite the challenges imposed by the pandemic across partner countries. Up-to-date Canada-specific information regarding potential SKA science, technology, industry and societal impact is available on the SKA Canada website, while frequent project-wide updates are posted on the SKA International website.

The SKA Observatory (SKAO) Intergovernmental Organisation (IGO) took control of the project from the design-phase SKA Organisation earlier this year (see news item here), and activities within the IGO are rapidly ramping up. Member States of the IGO, responsible for project governance through their seats on the IGO Council, include Australia, China, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, South Africa, and the United Kingdom. Potential future partners of the IGO are designated as Observers, and witness IGO Council proceedings; Observers currently include Canada, France, Germany, India, Japan, South Korea, Spain, Switzerland, and Sweden. Among Observers, France and Spain are making progress towards becoming IGO Member States; a cooperation agreement with the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne enables Switzerland’s participation in the IGO pending approval from their Parliament; and design-phase partners Canada, Germany, India and Sweden have been conditionally allocated work packages pending decisions by their governments to participate in SKA Phase 1 (= SKA1) construction and operations.

In late June, the IGO Member States approved the start of the construction phase for SKA1 (see news item here), which represents a historic milestone for the project. That phase will execute the construction and observatory delivery plans previously published by the IGO, which detail the science drivers, technical requirements, and anticipated societal benefits of the project. The SKA1 construction timeline remains similar to pre-pandemic projections, with construction tender and procurement underway, the first science verification observations anticipated in 2026, operations readiness reviews expected by 2028, and the onset of full operations by the end of 2029.

Canada’s future participation in the SKA requires committing to SKA1 construction and operations. This commitment is needed soon in order to guarantee return on investment through participation in SKA1 tender and procurement, as well as to secure the highly-desirable SKA1-Mid correlator construction package that we have been conditionally allocated. Discussions with SKAO in this context are ongoing. Raising awareness about the SKA within government and universities continues to be an integral part of the process toward securing Canada’s future participation, and work by the Coalition for Canadian Astronomy in this regard will resume after the federal election.

For more information and updates on Canada and the SKA: