Professeur Christine Wilson remporte le Prix Exécutif 2022

Tous les deux ans, le conseil d’administration de la CASCA a l’honneur de décerner le prix exécutif pour service exceptionnel « à une personne qui a contribué de façon soutenue à renforcer la communauté astronomique canadienne et à accroître son impact au niveau régional, national et/ou international ». La professeure Christine Wilson, de l’Université McMaster, est la récipiendaire du prix exécutif 2022.

L’engagement exceptionnel de Dre Wilson envers la communauté astronomique canadienne a été évident dès le début de sa carrière. Après son retour au Canada pour occuper un poste de professeure à l’Université McMaster en 1992, elle a immédiatement contribué à plusieurs comités clés, y compris un comité du CNRC sur une nouvelle installation radio nationale, et a été nommée à un poste de directrice de la CASCA en 1996. Au cours des décennies suivantes, elle a siégé à de nombreux comités de la CASCA, dont un comité d’examen à mi-parcours, occupant souvent des postes simultanément, ainsi que la vice-présidence en 2012-2014 et la présidence en 2014-2016. Plus récemment, le professeure Wilson a présidé le comité de mise en œuvre des recommandations communautaires du plan à long terme de la CASCA (LCRIC).

Dans le domaine de l’astronomie submm, sa réputation d’excellence en recherche ainsi que ses compétences en gestion largement reconnues l’ont amenée à assumer des rôles de leadership clés pour les intérêts scientifiques et logiciels canadiens dans le projet ALMA. Elle a été scientifique canadienne du projet ALMA de 1999 à 2011, présidente du comité directeur scientifique canadien de l’ALMA de 2001 à 2010, ainsi que membre de quatre autres comités et conseils clés de l’ALMA. S’il ne fait aucun doute que ALMA est le fruit d’un important travail d’équipe, ses efforts ont été essentiels pour faire de ALMA le grand succès qu’il est, tant du point de vue de la collaboration canadienne qu’internationale.

Pendant trois décennies, le Dre Christine Wilson a été un modèle et une ambassadrice engagée de l’astronomie au Canada. En lui décernant ce prix au nom de la communauté astronomique canadienne, le conseil d’administration de la CASCA reconnaît sa contribution essentielle à la communauté professionnelle canadienne et internationale, et lui adresse ses plus sincères remerciements.

Requisition 16600 / Research Officer, Adaptive Optics Developer

Job Category: Research Officer, Adaptive Optics Developer
City: Victoria
Organizational unit: Herzberg, Astronomy and Astrophysics
Classification: Research Officer (RO)
Tenure: Term
Duration: 3 years
Linguistic Profile: English

Research Officer, Adaptive Optics Developer – NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL of CANADA (NRC)
Herzberg Astronomy and Astrophysics Research Centre, Dominion Astrophysical Observatory
5071 West Saanich Road
Victoria, BC V9E 2E7
CANADA
Fax: 613-991-1125
Telephone: 613-990-1286
E-mail enquiries: NRC.NRCHiring-EmbaucheCNRC.CNRC@nrc-cnrc.gc.ca

For more information on NRC Herzberg, see: Herzberg Astronomy and Astrophysics Research Centre – National Research Council Canada

For more information on the staff and their research interests, see: Intro – Herzberg Astrophysics (astroherzberg.org)

Desired starting date: As soon as possible

The National Research Council of Canada’s Herzberg Astronomy and Astrophysics Research Centre (NRC-HAA), is seeking a scientist or engineer with strong interests in the development of next generation Adaptive Optics (AO) systems to support the development of optical instrumentation at the Herzberg Astronomy and Astrophysics Research Centre (HAA). HAA has a rare combination of staff involved in astronomy research, instrumentation design and development, engineering, data science and observatory support. The chosen candidate will be someone who shares our core values of Integrity, Excellence, Respect and Creativity.

HAA is a leading developer of instrumentation for Canada’s current and future ground- and space-based telescopes from optical through to radio wavelengths (e.g., CFHT, Gemini, TMT, ALMA, SKA). Its multi-disciplinary team includes project managers, optical, electrical, mechanical and systems engineers and technicians, signal processing experts and astronomers. Current major activities include participation in the development of optical/NIR spectrographs for Gemini including GHOST and GIRMOS, adaptive optics systems for multiple instruments on Gemini, the TMT and ELT, as well as multiple projects at radio wavelengths including correlator upgrades and central signal processing architectures for the SKA and ALMA. Alongside these facility projects, HAA maintains an active portfolio of small scale R&D activities, including the development of test benches and on-sky demonstrators on local telescopes, that provide a means for showcasing new technologies and methodologies aimed at advancing astronomical research.

The AO Developer will be someone who provides scientific and/or technical support and leadership to AO projects. They will be a member of the AO Team and will report to the AO Team Leader. The AO Team, which is part of the HAA Astronomy Technology Directorate (ATD), provides direct support to various on-going instrumentation projects and is also engaged in an ambitious R&D program that aims at developing cutting-edge technologies and methods for the next generation of AO systems that will support the long-range plans of the Canadian astronomical community.

Major facility AO instrument projects currently supported by the AO Team include TMT Narrow Field near-InfraRed AO System (NFIRAOS), The Gemini InfraRed Multi-Object Spectrograph (GIRMOS), the Gemini Planet Imager (GPI) 2.0, and the GPI Calibration Unit (CAL) 2.0. The AO Team also supports the ATD Software Team in their effort to design and develop the Herzberg Extensible Adaptive optics Real-time Toolkit (HEART), a real-time control (RTC) software toolbox that can be easily adapted to control any AO instruments. HEART is slated to be deployed on the AO instruments mentioned above. It is also expected to equip the European Large Telescope (ELT) HIgh REsolution Spectrograph (HIRES) and the ELT Multi-conjugate Adaptive Optics RelaY (MAORY).

Our AO R&D program aims at achieving technological breakthrough that will enable Canadian astronomers’ vision for new AO-assisted observational programs and that will significantly increase the scientific productivity of ground-based observatories. Our current AO R&D program focuses on key AO elements, including wavefront sensors (WFSs), deformable mirrors (DMs) and control. Current activities include technological developments such as advanced high-speed, low-noise NIR detectors and low-voltage deformable mirrors; developing novel WFSs such as non-linear wavefront sensors and novel algorithms, such as machine-learning based AO control. The technological readiness level of these developments are systematically increased by demonstrating them in the lab and on sky whenever possible. Our R&D program is supported by state-of-the-art modeling tools, two laboratories, one dedicated to general AO (AO Lab) and one dedicated to high-contrast imaging (New Earth Lab), and a local 1.2 m telescope with a Coudé room able to host on-sky experiments. The AO Team maintains extensive collaborations with partners from the international AO communities.

The AO Developer plays a leadership role in these cutting-edge science & technology projects. They work with enthusiastic, highly-invested colleagues from within the NRC and around the globe, all while representing Canada in high-profile international projects to build the biggest and most advanced scientific instruments in the world.

The AO Developer provides AO expertise at many levels, from inventing new concepts and leading their validations through R&D projects to commissioning multi-million dollar AO instruments at leading international observatories. Regular activities include improving AO modeling and simulation tools, providing technical guidance and critical analysis for designing new AO systems, providing leadership to AO projects, as well as supporting the fabrication, integration, testing and commissioning of AO instruments. The AO Developer usually works as part of highly multi-disciplinary teams that often comprises many skill levels, from under-graduate university students to senior engineers and scientists. They are encouraged to present their work in international workshops and conferences; publish their work in leading scientific journals; and develop collaborations within NRC, with Canadian universities and industries and with international partners

The initial appointment is of three (3) years duration. This is considered a term staff scientist position with all the associated benefits, including paid maternity and parental leave, vacation, accruable pension contributions and others. In addition to a highly competitive salary, the successful applicant will receive support for publications, observing and conference travel.

For more information on this job opportunity and to submit your application, visit our website at: Adaptive Optics Developer (nrc-cnrc.gc.ca)

NRC is an equal opportunity employer.
Applications should be made by 25 May 2022 via the process described at the URL provided.
Application Deadline: 25 May 2022

Current Status of Position: Accepting Applicants

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 Médaille J. S. Plaskett pour la thèse de doctorat la plus remarquable

La CASCA a le plaisir d’annoncer que Dr Deborah Good est la lauréate de la médaille J.S. Plaskett 2022, qui récompense la thèse de doctorat la plus remarquable en astronomie ou en astrophysique. Dr Good a obtenu son doctorat en 2021 sous la direction de Dr Ingrid Stairs à l’Université de la Colombie-Britannique et elle est maintenant boursière postdoctorale à l’Université du Connecticut et au Flatiron Center for Computational Astrophysics. Sa thèse, « Timing Pulsars and Detecting Radio Transients with CHIME », comprend un travail novateur sur les premiers mois de détection de pulsars et de sursauts radio rapides avec CHIME. Pour mener à bien cette recherche, elle a mené des efforts au sein de l’équipe CHIME pour calibrer les instruments, développer des logiciels d’analyse, vérifier les détections, et elle est à la fine pointe de la recherche pour tenter de découvrir si oui ou non tous les sursauts radio rapides sont des événements récurrents. Elle a également recueilli des données sur les pulsars, découvert de nombreux nouveaux pulsars et adapté l’algorithme de réductions de données NANOGrav pour qu’il fonctionne avec les données CHIME, posant ainsi les bases du traitement des données qui sera nécessaire dans les prochaines années.

Nous tenons également à reconnaître les thèses exceptionnelles de tous les finalistes : Dr Connor Bottrell, Dr Ryan Chown, Dr Adam Gonzalez, et Dr Émilie Parent.

Dr Karun Thanjavur: Prix Qilak 2022 pour la communication en astronomie, l’éducation du public et la sensibilisation

La CASCA a le plaisir d’annoncer que le Dr Karun Thanjavur est le lauréat du prix Qilak 2022, qui récompense son travail exceptionnel de sensibilisation auprès d’un groupe diversifié, en particulier ses efforts pour mettre en relation les communautés autochtones de la province avec l’Université de Victoria. Parmi les projets qu’il a menés au cours des dernières années, citons de nombreux programmes permettant à des étudiants autochtones de suivre des cours d’astronomie, des laboratoires et des séances d’observation à l’observatoire de l’université. Il a également dirigé l’organisation de plusieurs activités lors de la CASCA 2018, qui ont permis de mettre en relation des gardiens du savoir autochtones locaux avec des membres de la CASCA. En plus de ces programmes axés sur les relations avec les autochtones, il apparaît régulièrement dans les médias et organise de nombreuses activités de sensibilisation du public avec l’observatoire de l’Université de Victoria. L’événement de l’éclipse solaire 2017 a connu un succès retentissant avec ~1500 participants. En plus d’encadrer des étudiants d’âges et de milieux très différents, il obtient chaque trimestre du temps d’observation sur le télescope Plaskett de l’Observatoire Fédéral d’Astrophysique, spécifiquement pour former et encadrer des étudiants de premier cycle. Dr Thanjavur a obtenu son doctorat à l’Université de Victoria et a occupé des postes allant de l’ingénierie maritime à l’enseignement de la robotique et de l’ingénierie de la combustion, en passant par l’instrumentation et un poste d’astronome résident au Télescope Canada-France-Hawaï. Il est actuellement instructeur principal de laboratoire à l’Université de Victoria.

Call for abstracts — Interdisciplinary Origin of Life Meeting for Early Career Researchers

Dear Colleagues –

The Origin of Life Early Career Network (OoLEN) is pleased to announce that this year’s Interdisciplinary Origin of Life Meeting for Early Career Researchers (IOoL2022) will take place on August 3-5 at the University of Montreal, Canada. All expenses except travel (with possible exceptions) will be covered!

OoLEN brings together early-career scientists from multiple research areas to strengthen and accelerate the scientific output in origin of life research. Since its inception in 2018, OoLEN has grown into a global network of over a hundred members with a six-fold mission: Inclusion, Post-disciplinarity, Exchange, Communication, Community and Quality.

OoLEN’s biannual meeting, the IOoL conference, is a prime opportunity for early-career researchers to present their work on origin of life in a relaxed setting, to exchange ideas across different disciplines relevant to understanding the origin and nature of living systems, and to stimulate discussions and ideas to help guide the future of research on these topics. The IOoL meeting further provides an opportunity for early career researchers to connect with each other and immerse themselves in the community outside their own labs. A previous meeting has resulted in OoLEN’s first community paper.

Researchers interested in submitting an abstract are welcome to join the network through https://oolen.org/join/ (please mention your intention to participate in IOoL2022 when joining the network) and then send an email to oolearlycareer@gmail.com with subject line “Abstract for IOoL2022” containing a single .pdf file with the following information: name, affiliation, title, abstract (max. 250 words, in english), while also specifying if travel support is needed. Submissions will be considered both for oral presentations and poster sessions. The abstract deadline is April 22nd.

You are encouraged to visit OoLEN’s website at https://oolen.org for more information, and don’t hesitate to contact OoLEN or me directly for any further questions.

Name: Alexandre Champagne-Ruel
Email address: alexandre.champagne-ruel@umontreal.ca
Affiliation: Université de Montréal

Update on CASTOR

By / par Patrick Côté, John Hutchings (NRC Herzberg Astronomy & Astrophysics Research Centre)
(Cassiopeia – Spring / printemps 2022)

The CASTOR project continues to move forward as the Long Range Plan’s highest priority in space astronomy for the 2020s.

  1. The ongoing CSA technical (STDP) study contract continues to make good progress. A recent review detailed the design and performance of the Fast Steering Mirror that will perform the fine guiding for the observatory. The recently launched James Webb Space Telescope utilizes the same guiding system, so there is significant heritage in this capability. Other work on the detectors and payload opto-mechanical issues continues.
  2. The long-awaited Phase 0 study contract is underway as of March 8. This study overlaps the STDP work, and both studies will wrap up about one year from now. The prime deliverable from the Phase 0 study will be a fully characterized and thoroughly planned mission concept, with agreed partnerships, that can move immediately into the flight Phases A to E. It is hoped that partnership details and agreements with ISRO, JPL, and UK will be formulated during this time. The Phase 0 study consists of an industrial contract (led by Honeywell Aerospace) and a science team contract (led out of NRC/HAA), and now is formally a joint project between CSA and NRC. Science working groups (SWGs) and work contracts are in place with several Canadian universities.
  3. The CASTOR and Indian INSIST teams continue to work on a common design and hold regular meetings. The partner teams also include JPL and UK, whose participation in the STDP and Phase 0 work are being formalized.
  4. The ACURA board and the Coalition are fully informed and are carrying the message from Universities to the government to prepare for flight approval and funding. We welcome colleagues to join in SWG and outreach activities.

For more information on the mission, see the main page here.

ngVLA Update

By / par Erik Rosolowsky (U Alberta)
(Cassiopeia – Spring / printemps 2022)

After support from the US Decadal, the ngVLA project is beginning the next phase of its development: creating a fully costed design and a well developed science plan. Canada, along with Mexico and Japan, remains highly engaged as an international partner in the ngVLA planning process. Currently, the project is recruiting new members to the Science Working Groups and developing the next steps for what the next decade of National Radio Astronomy (NRAO) facilities looks like.

VLA/VLBA to ngVLA Transition Advisory Group

The NRAO has begun the process of developing a plan to transition from the operation of the Very Large Array (VLA) and Very Long Baseline Array (VLBA) to the ngVLA (see news article here). This activity will be led by the community-based « VLA/VLBA to ngVLA Transition Advisory Group ». Guided by the scientific opportunities planned for the coming decade, the Group will be charged to develop, quantitatively assess, and evaluate a finite number of possible VLA/VLBA to ngVLA transition options that can be prioritized on their scientific promise, cost and technical/personnel impacts. Nominations for the panel recently closed and the Group’s summary report is anticipated to be completed in early 2023.

Computational Astrophysics in the ngVLA Era: Synergistic Simulations, Theory, and Observations

This conference will be held 7-9 June 2022 at the Simons Foundation’s Flatiron Institute in Manhattan, New York, USA. The in-person conference will bring together theoreticians, modellers, and observers to discuss the computational astrophysics and observational challenges for the next generation of observatories, focusing on the ngVLA. The participation of early career scientists is particularly encouraged. Abstracts for oral presentations are due 1 April 2022.

Maunakea Spectroscopic Explorer (MSE) Update

By / par Patrick Hall (MSE Management Group Member)
(Cassiopeia – Spring / printemps 2022)

MSE and Astro2020

MSE and wide-field optical spectroscopy faired well in last year’s Astro2020 report (« Pathways to Discovery in Astronomy and Astrophysics for the 2020s », U. S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine 2021). The report reads, in part:

« Recommendation: The National Science Foundation (NSF) Division of Astronomical Sciences (AST) should create three tracks within the AST Mid-Scale Innovations Program … The strategic priorities track is an essential addition to the existing mid-scale program structure to ensure that it is responsive to decadal and community strategic priorities. The survey has identified one top priority for this element, a time-domain astrophysics program, and two co-equal areas – highly multiplexed spectroscopy and radio instrumentation. … There is very strong support for massively multiplexed spectroscopy across many sectors of the science community. … A dedicated facility would of course provide advantages over relying solely on existing infrastructure. Most glaring is the lack of high spectral resolution (R~20,000) multi-object spectrographs. … MSE and SpecTel presented plans to the panel for such a mode. … In all cases, the United States could envision playing a significant role in these projects through a MSRI-2-level investment, which could provide up to about 20 percent of the cost of a project like MSE, SpecTel, or up to about 50 percent of MegaMapper, perhaps split with DOE. »

From the MSE collaboration’s official statement, available here:

“The 2010 decadal plan highlighted the need for large telescopes and deep imaging surveys to explore the universe,” said Jennifer Marshall, MSE Project Scientist and associate professor at Texas A&M University. “We have built the MSE science case over the past decade with the understanding that multi-object spectroscopy is the natural follow-up to those large projects.”

Strengths encompass two of three of Astro2020’s priorities for mid-sized projects: time domain astronomy and highly multiplexed optical spectroscopy. The MSE detailed science case outlines the compelling science that MSE will execute, much of which falls within the three main science themes identified by Astro2020: “Worlds and Suns in Context” (exoplanets), “New Messengers and New Physics” (transient astrophysics), and “Cosmic Ecosystems” (the evolution of galaxies).

Regarding the State of the Profession, one of the committee’s recommendations is that “the astronomy community should work with representatives from local communities to define a Community Astronomy model of engagement that advances scientific research while respecting, empowering and benefiting the local community.” The MSE collaboration welcomes this recommendation, along with the other recommendations regarding diversity, equity and inclusion, broadening the academic pipeline, and working with our indigenous and local communities here in Hawai’i.

The CFHT board is “committed to the Maunakea Spectroscopic Explorer as the future of the facility. The Board is confident that, following deeply rooted CFHT practices, the MSE project will be respectful of our privilege to share the cosmos from Maunakea, and will continue CFHT’s long-standing history of engaging the Hawai’i Island community.”

MSE Pathfinder

MSE/CFHT plan to propose to NSF to develop an end-to-end Pathfinder: a multi object spectrograph fed at prime focus from the Canada France Hawaii Telescope. It will utilize the MSE spectrograph design and a scaled down fiber positioner (approximately 800 fibers) using the same technology as the fiber positioner for MSE.

The goal of the Pathfinder will be to retire many of the high-level technical risks for MSE by demonstrating on-sky the ability of the major hardware and software components of MSE, with the end result of an initial science product being produced and shared with the community. Construction of either the optical or the near-IR arms of the MSE spectrographs would achieve these goals. It is envisioned that the proposal to NSF will be led by MSE/CFHT, with co-investigators from US universities and NOIRLab.

The Pathfinder fibers will subtend one arcsecond on the sky but because of CFHT’s smaller aperture will be one-third the physical diameter of the fibers for MSE. Thus, the spectrographs offer the possibility of spectral resolution two or even three times that delivered for MSE (10,000 or potentially 15,000 instead of 5,000). A rough estimate of sensitivity is that the Pathfinder will reach AB=22 at wavelengths longer than 400 nm at SNR=2 per resolution element in one hour.

MSE/CFHT are actively seeking input on science projects for both the optical and near-IR Pathfinder options. Key projects are envisioned to be galactic archeology, stellar spectroscopy for abundances and stellar evolution studies, and time-domain astrophysics (specifically, follow-up of transients to demonstrate the dynamic scheduling capabilities that will be possible with MSE).

If you are interested in the MSE Pathfinder, you can receive updates by joining the MSE Science Team at mseinfo@mse.cfht.hawaii.edu.

MSE/WFMOS and CFI

In parallel to the pathfinder efforts, Canadian proponents of WFMOS (Wide-Field Multi-Object Spectroscopy) are submitting a CFI proposal to obtain funding for a targeted set of conceptual and preliminary design needs widely applicable to all potential 10-meter-class WFMOS facilities, including but not limited to MSE. CFI envelope funding have been allocated at York, Waterloo, UBC, Toronto, Saint Mary’s, Western and Manitoba.

The proposal encompasses work on WFMOS facility enclosures, on software needed for end-to-end survey design & implementation, near-real-time survey optimization, and data reduction & analysis, and on the fiber-optic multiplexing systems and spectrographs required to meet the stringent scientific requirements of these facilities. Questions regarding the proposal can be directed to Pat Hall.

MSE Project Scientist

Prof. Jennifer Marshall plans to step down as Project Scientist later this year. She states, “I have thoroughly enjoyed working with all of you for the past three years, and going forward I fully intend to stay very engaged with the project and with all of you.”

The MSE Project office is now seeking nominations for a new Project Scientist. The detailed job description can be found here.

While the position is unpaid, there are financial and other benefits that come with the position, including the potential for MSE to provide funding for travel, summer salary support, and teaching buyout. Partial-time candidates will be fully considered. The position is open to mid-career and senior scientists. “The next Project Scientist will have the benefit of getting to work with the very excellent leadership team in the Project Office, which has been a pleasure for me. I have thoroughly enjoyed serving in this position and I’m sure my successor will also–as you all know, MSE is a great project!”

Your MSE Representatives for Canada

MSE Science Advisory Group Members: Ting Li (U Toronto) and Kim Venn (U Victoria)

MSE Management Group Members: Laura Ferrarese (HAA) and Patrick Hall (York U)

Canada is also represented among the MSE Science Team Working Group Leads by Prof. Ting Li (U. Toronto, Astrophysical Tests of Dark Matter WG co-Lead) and Prof. Will Percival (U. Waterloo, Cosmology WG co-Lead).