Dissertation: Étude sous-millimétrique de l’interaction entre le magnétisme et la turbulence dans les milieux interstellaires / Submillimetre study of the interaction between magnetism and turbulence in interstellar media

(Cassiopeia – Summer / été 2018)

SimonPic
by / par Simon Coudé
Thesis defended on February 19, 2018
Université de Montréal / University of Montréal
Thesis advisor: Dr. Pierre Bastien

The English version follows

Abstract
L’astronomie sous-millimétrique est une fenêtre unique pour l’étude des propriétés physiques d’une grande variété d’environnements interstellaires, des pouponnières d’étoiles de notre Galaxie aux jets relativistes issus de noyaux galactiques actifs. Grâce en particulier aux observations polarimétriques, il est même possible d’étudier les effets de l’interaction entre le magnétisme et la turbulence sur la dynamique de ces milieux. Cette thèse présente les résultats d’une étude sous-millimétrique dont l’objectif est de caractériser les propriétés physiques et la dynamique d’une sélection de régions de formation d’étoiles et de jets extragalactiques à partir d’observations continues, spectroscopiques et polarimétriques obtenues au télescope James-Clerk-Maxwell (JCMT).

Nous avons d’abord quantifié l’effet de la contamination moléculaire sur les observations du nuage moléculaire géant d’Orion A obtenues à 450 µm et 850 µm avec la caméra SCUBA-2. À l’aide de mesures spectroscopiques effectuées avec le spectromètre HARP de la raie moléculaire 12CO J=3-2, nous avons identifié un échantillon de 33 sources dont le flux à 850 µm est fortement contaminé par des flots moléculaires environnants. Nous avons finalement montré que cette contamination mène à une sous-estimation de l’indice spectral d’émissivité β obtenu à partir du ratio des flux mesurés à 450 µm et 850 µm.

Dans le cadre du programme BISTRO au JCMT, nous avons utilisé le polarimètre POL-2 afin de caractériser le champ magnétique dans la région de formation d’étoiles Barnard 1 du complexe moléculaire de Persée. Nous avons d’abord déterminé l’orientation sur le plan du ciel du champ magnétique à partir de la carte de polarisation linéaire obtenue à 850 µm. Nous avons aussi calculé une valeur de 1.05 ± 0.92 pour le rapport entre les composantes turbulentes et ordonnées de l’énergie magnétique. Grâce aux observations de la raie moléculaire C18O J=1-0 obtenues au FCRAO, nous avons enfin appliqué la technique de Davis-Chandrasekhar-Fermi afin d’évaluer l’amplitude du champ magnétique à ~20 µG.

Avec l’équipe de mise en marche de POL-2, nous avons détecté avec succès la polarisation à 850 µm dans le coeur protostellaire CB 68. Nous avons ainsi déterminé l’orientation dans le plan du ciel du champ magnétique à l’intérieur de cet objet, que nous avons ensuite comparé avec les données SCUPOL dans la littérature. Additionnellement, nous avons mesuré une diminution de la fraction de polarisation en fonction de l’intensité totale, ce qui pourrait être expliqué par des effets de dépolarisation le long de la ligne de visée.

Finalement, nous avons mené la première campagne avec POL-2 afin d’étudier la variabilité temporelle de la polarisation linéaire à 850 µm vers quatre noyaux galactiques actifs: 3C 84, 3C 273, 3C 279 et 3C 454.3. Nous avons mesuré une variation significative de la fraction et de l’angle de polarisation pour 3C 84, 3C 273 et 3C 279 sur une période de 9 mois. Cette variabilité supporte la présence de cellules turbulentes magnétisées à l’intérieur de chocs permanents le long des jets relativistes issus de l’accrétion de matière sur les trous noirs supermassifs au centre de ces galaxies.



Submillimetre astronomy is a unique window for the study of the physical properties of a large variety of interstellar environments, from the stellar nurseries of our Galaxy to the relativistic jets from active galactic nuclei. With polarimetric observations in particular, it is even possible to study the effects of the interaction between magnetism and turbulence on the dynamics of these environments. This thesis presents the results from a submillimetre study which goal was to characterise the physical and dynamical properties of a selection of star-forming regions and extragalactic jets using continuum, spectroscopic and polarimetric observations from the James Clerk Maxwell Telescope (JCMT).

We have first quantified the effect of molecular contamination on SCUBA-2 observations at 450 µm and 850 µm of the Orion A giant molecular cloud. With spectroscopic measurements using the HARP spectrometer of the 12CO J=3-2 molecular line, we have identified a sample of 33 sources for which the 850 µm flux is highly contaminated by nearby molecular outflows. Finally, we have shown that this contamination leads to an underestimation of the emissivity spectral index β derived from the 450 µm to 850 µm flux ratio.

As part of the BISTRO survey at the JCMT, we have used the POL-2 polarimeter in order to characterise the magnetic field in the Barnard 1 star-forming region in the Perseus molecular cloud complex. We have inferred the plane-of-sky orientation of the magnetic field from the linear polarisation map obtained at 850 µm. We have also calculated a value of 1.05 ± 0.92 for the turbulent-to-ordered magnetic energy ratio. With FCRAO observations of the C18O J=1-0 molecular line, we have also applied the Davis-Chandrasekhar-Fermi method in order to evaluate the amplitude of the magnetic field to be ~20 µG.

With the POL-2 commissioning team, we have successfully detected the 850 µm polarisation in the CB 68 protostellar core. We have then inferred the plane-of-sky orientation of the magnetic field within this cloud that we have then compared to previously published SCUPOL observations. Additionally, we have measured a diminution in the fraction of polarisation as a function of total intensity, which could be explained by depolarisation effects along the line-of-sight.

Finally, we have lead the first POL-2 campaign to study the temporal variability of the 850 µm linear polarisation towards four active galactic nuclei: 3C 84, 3C 273, 3C 279 and 3C 454.3. We report significant variability in the fraction and angle of polarisation for 3C 84, 3C 273 and 3C 279 over a period of 9 months. This variability supports the presence of magnetised turbulent cells within standing shocks along the relativistic jets originating from the accretion of matter on the central supermassive black holes of these galaxies.

Update on CASTOR

By / par Patrick Côté (NRC Herzberg Astronomy & Astrophysics Research Centre)
(Cassiopeia – Summer / été 2018)

Background

The Cosmological Advanced Survey Telescope for Optical and ultraviolet Research (CASTOR) is a proposed Canadian-led space telescope that has been in detailed study by the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) since 2011. The mission concept was developed in response to LRP2010, which identified Canada’s top priorities in space astronomy as « …significant involvement in the next generation of dark energy missions — ESA`s Euclid, or the NASA WFIRST mission, or a Canadian-led mission, the Canadian Space Telescope.” A detailed concept study for CASTOR was completed in 2012. Subsequent CSA-sponsored technical studies, undertaken between 2013 and 2017, further developed the mission concept by retiring sources of technical risk. In 2015, the mid-term review of LRP2010 recommended that the CSA immediately launch a Phase 0 study for CASTOR.

Design

CASTOR is a 1-m telescope that uses a three-mirror-anastigmat design to deliver Hubble-like image quality (FWHM ~ 0.15”) over a wide field of view (0.5 deg x 0.5 deg) — nearly a hundred times larger than that of Hubble’s cameras. Complementing the Euclid and WFIRST missions, CASTOR would operate at UV/blue-optical wavelengths using dichroics to image simultaneously in three pass-bands that span the 0.15-0.55 micron region. CASTOR would also offer strong synergies with LSST by providing superior resolution and point-source sensitivity at blue-optical wavelengths, as well as direct access to the UV region. The latter will become a critical capability in the coming decade when HST will likely cease operations. In short, CASTOR would be a powerful vehicle for both surveys and Guest Observer programs, and would provide Canadian astronomers with a unique and strategic capability in the coming decade.

Status

In the fall of 2017, CSA commissioned an extended Science Maturation Study (SMS) for the CASTOR mission that began in January 2018. The 14-month study, which will conclude in March 2019, will revise and update the CASTOR concept with an emphasis on the science case. Eight science working groups have been formed to explore scientific opportunities across a broad range of fields, from the cosmology to the solar system, with an eye towards updating the scientific requirements and optimizing the observing plan. Technical work is addressing all aspects of the mission design, including mission architecture, opto-mechanical design (including a possible spectrographic capability), satellite bus and launch options, ground segment requirements, and mission implementation plan.

The study — which will lead to an improved understanding of mission cost, schedule and risk, and involve an exploration of possible international partnerships and collaborations — is being led by Honeywell Aerospace (Ottawa), in collaboration with ABB Engineering (Quebec) and Magellan Aerospace (Winnipeg). The science team that consists of nearly 60 researchers at 17 Canadian universities and institutes. The study also involves major international partners — currently the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) and the Indian Institute of Astrophysics, who have been our partners in Astrosat, and are responding to an ISRO call for Astrosat2 proposals.

For more information on the CASTOR mission, see the project website.

To get involved in CASTOR, please contact Patrick Côté (scientific) or Alan Scott (technical).

News from the JCMT

By / par Chris Wilson, McMaster University (JCMT Board member for Canada)
(Cassiopeia – Summer / été 2018)

The JCMT continues to produce exciting new science results, with many results from the Large Programs appearing in the past 6 months. I’d like to particularly highlight the amazing results from the Canadian built polarimeter POL2 on SCUBA-2, including the first observations of the magnetic field structure inside the “Pillars of Creation” from the BISTRO Large Program (see Pattle et al., 2018, ApJL, in press, ArXiv: 1805.11554 and Ward-Thompson et al., 2017, ApJ). Pierre Bastien (Montreal) also presented a poster on POL-2 results at the recent CASCA meeting. The first generation Gould Belt Survey with SCUBA-2 is being very productive and publishing lots of papers, with good Canadian participation and leadership. There is also a major Canadian role in the new transient large program with some exciting papers published recently.

Magnetic field vectors  in the “Pillars of Creation” in the M16 nebula are shown overlaid on a 3-colour HST image from Hester et al. (1996). The data were obtained at 850 microns with the POL2 instrument mounted in front of SCUBA-2 on the JCMT. Figure from Pattle et al. (2018, ApJL, in press).

Magnetic field vectors in the “Pillars of Creation” in the M16 nebula are shown overlaid on a 3-colour HST image from Hester et al. (1996). The data were obtained at 850 microns with the POL2 instrument mounted in front of SCUBA-2 on the JCMT. Figure from Pattle et al. (2018, ApJL, in press).

Canadian PI observing time on the JCMT continues to be very oversubscribed, although the oversubscription rate in the most recent semester (18B) was lower than previous semesters. This drop may reflect the uncertainty in future Canadian participation in the JCMT (see below), or simply proposer fatigue caused by the high oversubscription rate.

The East Asian Observatory (EAO) currently has a 5-year agreement to operate the JCMT that ends in February, 2020. Recently, the EAO Board decided that they wish to continue to operate the JCMT for a second 5-year term. They would welcome continued participation by their U.K. and Canadian partners, and are also looking for additional partners from Asia and beyond.

As a result of this extended commitment by the EAO, the observatory is planning for upgrades to the existing instrumentation. The current 230 GHz receiver will be replaced with a newer, more sensitive receiver within the next year. Active investigations are underway for replacements for both SCUBA-2 and the 345 GHz array receiver HARP-B. Assistant Director Jessica Dempsey gave a talk about the future instrumentation plans at the JCMT at the recent CASCA meeting in Victoria.

The current Canadian university funding runs out February 2019. We will be looking for options to continue to fund JCMT operations, but none are currently obvious. The NSERC RTI program that has funded the Canadian operations contribution from February 2017-February 2019 did not run a competition in 2017. It remains to be seen whether it will be resurrected for the 2018 competition this fall given the new infusion of money from the Federal Government to the granting councils. The CADC currently operates the archive for the JCMT and about half of our PI observing time is tied to this CADC contribution. Whether this situation will continue if university funding for the JCMT ends remains to be confirmed. Another opportunity we are exploring is whether a CFI proposal could fund a contribution to the new instruments on the JCMT in return for continued PI access by Canadian researchers.

If operational funding from Canada lapses completely, Canadian astronomers will continue to be members of and have access to the existing Large Programs on the JCMT. Whether this courtesy would be extended at the next large program call (likely sometime in 2020) remains to be seen.

Report from the LRPIC

From / de John Hutchings
(Cassiopeia – Summer / été 2018)

The LRPIC meets regularly to monitor LRP projects and priorities, and our recent reports to CASCA are posted on the website. There are now three major ground-based facilities approaching key points of their development: TMT, SKA, and MSE. TMT still awaits approval to build on the Mauna Kea site, and also at the alternative site at La Palma. Progress continues with design work and telescope hardware among the partners, while there is welcome news of NSF’s plan to support both TMT and GMT. SKA is moving to formalize its move to a treaty organisation, although Canada and some others await acceptance as associate members. The MSE project also is moving towards a more formal partnership as it begins final study work prior to construction funding. All three of these major facilities, in which Canada has long played a reading role, will require funding and approval to retain our share and future. The timing and process for these funds will require careful planning. LRPIC notes the successful commissioning of CHIME and the ongoing plans to be a partner in CCAT-prime.

As widely discussed at CASCA, the status of our LRP plans for space facilities is very unsatisfactory. The CSA budget and mandate have both declined in recent years, under more than one government, to being unable to support any significant space science program, and being directed in detail by the government. Consultation and lobbying continue, as CSA-funded studies proceed for mission opportunities that have no guaranteed future. The recent debacle over joining WFIRST is well-known as an example of how badly things have gone, and got some attention in the Globe and Mail. We are working with the Coalition for Astronomy (ACURA, CASCA, and industry) in lobbying on a broad front.

Meantime, JWST, funded when CSA space science was viable, remains as our only partnership in space for the next decade, with no new future facilities committed. Projects that are ready to move ahead include leadership in the wide-field-UV CASTOR telescope, significant participation in SPICA, and valuable smaller partnerships in LiteBIRD, XARM, Ultrasat, and others.

We remind you of the open discussion email list for LRP matters:

lrpic-discuss@lists.casca.ca

CATAC Update on the Thirty Meter Telescope

By / par Michael Balogh, CATAC Chair
(Cassiopeia – Summer / été 2018)

Instrumentation

In April, CATAC submitted recommendations on the three design choices for the Wide Field Optical Spectrograph (WFOS), the result of a five month period of information gathering and community consultation. As one of only two first light instruments, the success of WFOS is critically important to the success of TMT. Our recommendation was that, while all three designs are exciting and capable of delivering excellent science, the Xchange design provides the best match to the top-level specifications. Moreover, the flexibility of this design, relative to the survey-oriented fibre design, is preferred. The final report is available on our web page.

Following this report, the instrument underwent a cost and risk review. At this review it was decided that the slicer design would not be pursued any further. Both the Xchange and fibre designs were found to significantly exceed the cost cap, and the instrument team has been charged with looking at how the designs can be altered to reduce cost. Neither design has a significant technical advantage or disadvantage; both have risks that will require some work.

The design work is expected to be completed by early July, to allow the SAC to make a recommendation by their July 26 meeting. In addition, a sub-committee of the TMT SAC has been formed to re-visit the science specifications that were originally defined for WFOS over a decade ago. The recommendations made by the sub-committee will also be discussed by the full SAC at that next meeting. The other TMT communities are undergoing a consultation process similar to the one held in Canada, and this information will be considered as well. There is still time for your voice to be heard, and if you have comments or concerns about WFOS please contact any CATAC member.

Work is also underway to select the third instrument to be built for TMT. Eight white papers have been submitted to the SAC, and these are currently being reviewed by a SAC subcommittee that includes representation from all the partners.

Science Forum

At the CASCA meeting in Victoria, it was announced that the next TMT Science Forum will be held December 10-12 in Pasadena, California. This will be an important meeting, likely coming after the pending legal decisions in Hawai’i have been resolved. We hope that many Canadians will consider attending this meeting. It is likely that some funding will be made available to help those who need it; an announcement will be made in the coming months.

Funding and Construction Developments

Gary Sanders (Project Manager) and Christophe Dumas (Observatory Scientist) summarized the current state of the project very well in their presentations at the CASCA AGM. There is lots of design and construction activity underway as we await the outcome of the permitting processes on both Maunakea and the alternate site in the Canary Islands.

As announced earlier this year, the US National Science Foundation (NSF), NOAO, TMT International Observatory and GMT Organization are working together to develop Key Science Programs that will be presented to the Decadal Review process in the US. If this is ranked highly by the Decadal Review Panel, NSF has communicated that they will be prepared to support a significant share (at least 25%) of both GMT and TMT, to provide access for the US community. This is a welcome development that provides a path to full construction. There remain issues to be resolved, including the timing of any funding and the Canadian share in the project. CATAC will continue to keep you informed as the situation develops; in the meantime, feel free to contact any CATAC member if you have questions or concerns.

SOFIA Cycle 7 Call for Proposals

By / par Arielle Moullet
(Cassiopeia – Summer / été 2018)

The SOFIA project has released two calls for proposals (CfP) for observing time in the Cycle 7 period.

The regular call solicits proposals of any size and combination of instruments. A total of 400 hours of observing time and approximately $4 million of funding is available to support these programs.

A complementary call for proposals for « SOFIA Legacy Programs » (SLP) has also been released, soliciting large coherent programs aimed at high-impact science that also have a significant promise of valuable archival data sets. Programs up to 100 hours of observing time are solicited in this category. In addition to observing time, these programs are invited to deliver higher level data products (including supporting data, software and theory). Nominally, two SLP programs are expected to be selected per cycle, with observations carried out over two cycles, and a third year included for completion of the higher-level data processing and analysis. Up to $1 million per cycle is available for support of the SLPs.

The main parts of the Cycle 7 (April 27, 2019 – April 27, 2020) calendar are:

  • CfP release: June 1, 2018
  • CfP update: July 16, 2018
  • Proposal Deadline: September 7, 2018 (9 p.m. PDT)
  • Selections announced: November 2018

The Call for Proposals documents can be found here and here.

Any questions about the Cycle 7 Calls for Proposals can be directed to sofia_help@sofia.usra.edu.

ALMA Matters – ARCADES, New Horizons, and Cycle 6

ALMAlogo

From / de Gerald Schieven
(Cassiopeia – Summer / été 2018)

ARCADES, A New Facility for ALMA Data Reduction/Analysis

NRC’s Herzberg Astronomy and Astrophysics Research Centre is pleased to announce a new project which aims to make all aspects of ALMA data analysis easier. The ARCADES (ALMA Retrieval with the CANFAR Data System) project has several different components which we are starting to roll out. The first component is aimed primarily at astronomers who have some experience with ALMA’s data reduction software, CASA. For this component, we are making available one-click virtual machines on the CANFAR computing environment which have CASA pre-loaded and easy mechanisms to download raw ALMA data. These virtual machines will have ample computing power and storage space, and are fully interactive (e.g., for running CLEAN). We are looking for several beta testers for this system – please contact Helen Kirk if you are interested.

New Horizons in Planetary Systems 13-17 May 2019

NewHorizonsWithALMA
Members of the Millimetre Astronomy Group at Herzberg and their counterparts at NRAO are jointly organizing (as part of their roles within the North American ALMA Science Centre) a science conference entitled “New Horizons in Planetary Systems” to be held from 13-17 May 2019 in downtown Victoria BC.

The meeting is planned to have a broad scope, including planetary systems in formation within protoplanetary disks, minor objects in the solar system, debris disks and exoplanets. Experts will be asked to provide insights from all these fields to enhance our understanding of how planets form and evolve. Although it is organized by the NAASC, the meeting is not ALMA-centric, with a strong focus on the impact of the New Horizons mission flyby of a KBO in January 2019, as well as experts from TESS and other facilities who will be asked to provide a multi-chromatic picture of the current understanding in their fields. Invited speakers have been asked to provide broadly accessible talks.

Confirmed invited speakers include:

  • Brett Gladman (UBC): theory of planet formation
  • Grant Kennedy (U Warwick): debris disk constraints on planet formation
  • Heather Knutson (Caltech): exoplanet atmospheric composition
  • Emmanuel Lellouch (Observatoire de Paris): solar system objects, constraints on formation
  • Karin Öberg (Harvard U): protoplanetary disk composition and chemistry
  • John Spencer (SWRI): New Horizons KBO flyby: first results

We will also host a public talk on New Horizons by Deputy Mission Scientist Kelsi Singer (SWRI).

For more information, contact LOC Chair Brenda Matthews. Pre-registration will open in July with registration and abstract submission in October 2018.

Cycle 6 Canadian Submission Statistics

A record 1839 proposals were submitted requesting over 33K hours of ALMA time in Cycle 6, corresponding to an oversubscription rate of 4.8. Canadian PIs also submitted a record 44 proposals, requesting nearly 1000 hours. Canadian astronomers have full access to the North American fraction of ALMA time (~33%). The results from the Cycle 6 proposal review process are expected to be released in late July. Cycle 6 runs October 2018 through September 2019.

ALMA Publications

Over 1000 refereed publications have now appeared using ALMA data. Of these, more than 13% have had authors or co-authors from Canadian institutions.

President’s Message

By / par Rob Thacker, CASCA president
(Cassiopeia – Summer / été 2018)

I can’t begin this President’s message without first acknowledging the important and amazing work done by all the officers, committee members and staff of the Society. Thank you all so much. Whether it is volunteer work or paid, your service to the Society is absolutely fundamental to making us move forward on numerous important issues! While I would not normally single out an individual, I am compelled to thank the now Past-President Bob Abraham for setting an incredibly high bar for activity in the President’s capacity! Thank you Bob!

My first few days in the Presidency have been something of a whirlwind and it has been hard not to feel overwhelmed! As many of you are aware, especially following this year’s town hall meeting at CASCA, our space astronomy portfolio is in a dire situation with no official major commitment to new missions since 2009, other than the replacement for Hitomi, XARM, following the unfortunate events of 2016. The recent dropping of Canadian participation in WFIRST has been a major concern for our community and is particularly disconcerting as we consider moving towards missions with significant Canadian leadership, such as CASTOR.

This series of events has reinforced the Coalition for Canadian Astronomy’s view that moving our space astronomy needs forward with government is a major priority. Hence the Coalition, represented by Guy Nelson (Empire Dynamic Structures), Don Brooks (UBC), Sarah Gallagher (Western) and myself, made a visit to Ottawa on June 12th to discuss space astronomy in detail with the NRC, CSA and Ministry for Innovation, Science & Economic Development. Since the Coalition maintains a non-partisan position we also met with Conservative Science Critic Matt Jeneroux. The tone of the meetings was constructive, and we repeatedly emphasized the need for long term and sustained funding of space. But ahead of the upcoming Budget consultation process it was equally important for us to listen for what was being asked. Perhaps as might be expected, we need to outline the benefits we provide to society and economics to garner the major investment we need. It is also worth remembering that there are many other fields of space-based science that face similar funding problems to us.

At the same time we are seeing concern growing about how we develop and maintain our ground-based projects. I have already been involved in ACURA discussions about MSE, while writing letters of support for Observatoire du Mont-Mégantic as it, yet again, faces the threat of closure. As we build towards LRP2020 there are a great many issues to think about. TMT continues to evolve towards a site decision, the outcome of which will have ramifications across many areas. The SKA is moving towards some key decision points on Phase 1, while the precise level of Canada’s participation still needs to be negotiated. Plus I’m sure we can all appreciate that Dr Greg Fahlman’s replacement at Herzberg will enter the position at a highly critical time, so it is no surprise the community is strongly interested to see who is eventually chosen for this key position in Canadian astronomy.

In terms of action, over the next two months, the Coalition for Canadian astronomy will submit our response to the pre-Budget consultation process as well as exploring some new avenues of communication with important policy makers. The members of the Coalition are cautiously hopeful we can move things forward, but as many of you know following the length of time it took to gain funding for TMT participation, persistence and a coherent and uniform message will be needed. We anticipate we may well end up asking the community to help with the lobbying effort – stay tuned!

Despite these uncertainties over funding, our community continues to make strides on many fronts. Having worked closely with the Equity and Inclusivity Committee over the past 18 months, I am incredibly impressed by the work they are doing to provide information to help us improve our working environment. As emphasized in numerous workshops on equity issues, improving participation and working climate is a benefit for everyone.

I am truly honoured and frankly very proud to serve the CASCA community. I really look forward to meeting and working with you all over the coming two years. As always, there’s a lot to get done!

CASCA 2018 Teachers’ Workshops Report / Rapport sur les Formations pour Enseignants Offertes durant CASCA2018

By / par Julie Bolduc-Duval, Discover the Universe / À la découverte de l’univers
(Cassiopeia – Summer / été 2018)

elementary-outside
La version française suit

As in previous years, CASCA, through Discover the Universe, and CFHT decided to offer a professional development opportunity for local teachers during the CASCA annual meeting. For the first time, two workshops were organized instead of one: a 4-hour evening workshop for elementary/middle school teachers and a full-day workshop for secondary school teachers.

Both workshops were huge successes with good participation and excellent feedback from teachers. A total of 50 teachers participated, with 30 in the elementary workshop and 20 in the secondary workshop.

A few points stand out from the feedback we received. Teachers appreciated:

  • getting many ideas for activities to do with their students;
  • the friendliness and expertise of the speakers;
  • the opportunity to participate in a high-quality free workshop;
  • learning about astronomy knowledge from a local First Nations speaker (for the
    elementary workshop);
  • learning about current astronomy research (for the secondary school workshop).

quote-EN
Some participants even mentioned this had been the best professional development opportunity they ever had the chance to participate in.

While offering two workshops requires more time and energy from our small team and the LOC, as well as a higher budget, it proved to be a very positive change. We were able to adapt the content of the workshops to both levels more appropriately. We hope to continue offering two workshops in the future if the settings and budget allow it.

We wish to thank the LOC for the tremendous help in the logistics organizing the workshop. In particular, we were able to provide free meals to all workshop participants thanks to the fundraising efforts of the LOC and the contribution from CFHT.

Workshop organizing team: Julie Bolduc-Duval, Mary Beth Laychak (CFHT), Christa Van Laerhoven (UBC), Karun Thanjavur (UVic), Lauri Roche (RASC)

Workshop presenters: Julie Bolduc-Duval, Mary Beth Laychak (CFHT), Christa Van Laerhoven (UBC), Pierre Chastenay (UQAM), Nick Claxton (UVic), Michelle Bannister (Queen’s University, Belfast)



La CASCA, grâce au programme À la découverte de l’univers, et le Télescope Canada-France- Hawaii ont décidé encore cette année d'offrir des formations en astronomie pour les enseignants locaux lors de la rencontre annuelle CASCA2018. Pour la première fois, deux formations ont été organisées au lieu d'une seule: une formation de quatre heures en soirée pour les enseignants du primaire et une journée entière de formation pour les enseignants du secondaire.

Les deux formations ont été de grands succès avec une bonne participation et une excellente rétroaction des enseignants. Au total, 50 enseignants ont participé, dont 30 au niveau primaire (capacité maximale) et 20 au niveau secondaire.

Quelques points ressortent des commentaires que nous avons reçus. Les enseignants ont
apprécié:

  • obtenir plusieurs idées d'activités à faire avec leurs élèves;
  • l’accessibilité et l'expertise des présentateurs;
  • la possibilité de participer à une formation gratuite de haute qualité;
  • entendre un conférencier autochtone local parler des connaissances astronomiques de sa
    communauté et comment intégrer ces connaissances en classe (niveau primaire);
  • apprendre sur la recherche actuelle en astronomie (niveau secondaire).

quote-FR
Certains participants ont même mentionné que c'était la meilleure formation pour enseignants à laquelle ils avaient eu la chance de participer.

Même si offrir deux formations exige plus de temps et d'énergie de la part de notre petite équipe et du LOC, ainsi qu'un budget plus élevé, cela s'est avéré être un changement très positif. Nous avons été en mesure d'adapter le contenu des formations aux deux niveaux de façon plus appropriée. Nous espérons continuer à offrir deux formations à l'avenir si l’occasion et le budget le permettent.

Nous souhaitons remercier le LOC pour l'aide considérable apportée à la logistique pour l'organisation des formations. En particulier, nous avons pu fournir des repas gratuits à tous les participants grâce aux efforts de collecte de fonds du LOC et à la contribution financière du TCFH.

Équipe d'organisation des formations: Julie Bolduc-Duval, Mary Beth Laychak (TCFH), Christa Van Laerhoven (UBC), Karun Thanjavur (UVic), Lauri Roche (RASC)

Présentateurs: Julie Bolduc-Duval, Mary Beth Laychak (TCFH), Christa Van Laerhoven (UBC), Pierre Chastenay (UQAM), Nick Claxton (UVic), Michelle Bannister (Université Queen's, Belfast)

Maunakea Spectroscopic Explorer (MSE) Update

By / par Sarah Gallagher, MSE Science Advisory Group Member
(Cassiopeia – Summer / été 2018)

As many readers will have heard at CASCA 2018, the MSE collaboration continues its work towards preliminary design starting in 2019. The MSE Management Group has added two institutions from the United States as observers: Texas A&M University and the National Center for Optical-Infrared Astronomy (NCOA). Including recent discussions with Texas A&M, the partnership has identified about half the resources (cash and in-kind contributions) needed for preliminary design, and are discussing possible contributions from NCOA beginning in 2019. The partnership will continue to identify and secure resources while preliminary design activities get underway.

The preliminary design phase will be governed by a Statement of Understanding (SOU) to be signed by the current MSE participants – Canada, France, Hawaii, China, Australia, and India – and endorsed by future participants when they join the project. The MSE SOU specifies the (non-binding) contributions that Canada anticipates providing during preliminary design, and the framework within which participant contributions will be converted into a "Beneficial Interest" in MSE.

As was the case in the early days of the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) partnership, the Association of Canadian Universities for Research in Astronomy (ACURA) has been approached to be the Canadian signatory to the MSE SOU. The ACURA Board is considering this request in recognition of MSE's strong support in the 2010 Long Range Plan and 2016 Mid-Term Review, and the significant role Canadians have played to date in developing the Detailed Science Case. Without a signatory to the MSE SOU, Canada will be downgraded to Observer status and lose voting rights on the MSE Management Group. If you support Canadian involvement in MSE during the preliminary design phase leading up to the next Long Range Plan, contact your institution's ACURA representative and let them know. A slightly dated list of representatives can be found here.

Preparation for CFI Proposal

Ultimately, maintaining a role in MSE will require that Canada make further cash and/or in-kind contributions to the preliminary design phase within the next few years. To support this aim, we are engaged in planning for a CFI proposal submission for the next round (anticipated in 2019). If you are interested in contributing to this effort, the relevant points of contact are Colin Bradley (Victoria Engineering Professor and CFI Project Manager for MSE; Enclosure), Michael Balogh (Waterloo; Low/Medium Resolution Spectrographs), Sarah Gallagher (Western; Software), and Kim Venn (Victoria; Fiber Transport System). Additional industrial partners to support these design components are also needed; sharing your connections would be greatly appreciated. The points of contact can also help develop promising leads for industrial partners.

Status of Science Team Membership

In response to the call for new science team members, the MSE Science Team now has 203 participants, including 31 Canadians from 15 institutions in six provinces. The Project Office is currently organizing team members into Science Working Groups in preparation for Design Reference Survey work that will begin within the next couple of months. If you signed up for the Science Team but have not been receiving e-mails, please contact MSE Project Scientist Alan McConnachie.

MSE Project Scientist Search

After successfully shepherding MSE through the conceptual design process, Alan McConnachie will be stepping down as Project Scientist at the end of 2018, though he will continue his involvement with the Science Team. The Canadian MSE team would like to thank Alan for his excellent leadership during his tenure as Project Scientist. He deserves significant credit for bringing the project to the stage where the external reviewers were « very impressed by the level of sophistication that the MSE project team has brought to this project ». A search for a new Project Scientist is underway.

The MSE website may be accessed here. Questions or comments about MSE governance can be directed to your MSE Management Group Members, Greg Fahlman and Pat Hall. Scientific questions or comments can be directed to your MSE Science Advisory Group Members, Sarah Gallagher and Kim Venn.