NRC Herzberg News / Nouvelles du CNRC Herzberg

By / par Dennis Crabtree (NRC Herzberg), Contributions from / de James Hesser, Chris Willott
(Cassiopeia – Winter / hivers 2018)

La version française suit

General News

Luc Simard has accepted the position of Director General of the Herzberg Astronomy and Astrophysics Research Centre. Luc joined the NRC in 2002 as an archive scientist with the Canadian Astronomy Data Centre. He subsequently became a Team Leader, Instrument Science in the Astronomy Technology Program and took on the role of Director, Astronomy Technology in 2015. As Director, Luc has led a team of 68 scientists, engineers and technicians located at both the Penticton and Victoria sites. Over the years, he has been involved in a number of high profile international telescope instrumentation projects, including, for example, the Gemini High resolution SpecTrograph (GHOST), the mid frequency correlator and beamformer for the Square Kilometer Array and the SPIRou and Near-InfraRed Planet Search (NIRPS) spectrographs for the Canada France Hawaii Telescope (CFHT).

Luc was also the Science Instruments Group Leader for the Thirty Meter Telescope Observatory Corporation, responsible for the delivery of three science instruments and one adaptive optics calibration unit, overseeing work being performed in 20 different institutes located in five countries.

His scientific research has been dominated by work with large galaxy surveys and his primary interest lies in testing galaxy formation and evolution models. Luc has authored or co-authored 98 refereed publications, which have received more than 9,400 citations. He has chaired international conferences in astronomy, been a member of various advisory committees and panels, and has given invited talks in the US, Canada, Europe and Asia, covering a wide range of topics including galaxy evolution, science and instrumentation for extremely large telescopes, and project management. Luc is also an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Victoria. He holds a PhD in Physics and Astronomy from the University of Victoria and completed a Postdoctoral Fellowship at the University of California Observatories in Santa Cruz, USA.

Concert of William Herschel’s Music

Friday night >250 people enjoyed a concert at Victoria’s Christ Church Cathedral they will not soon forget. Fittingly, the concert recognized the DAO’s centennial and the RASC’s sesquicentennial and, equally fittingly, it was sandwiched between William Herschel’s 285th birthday (15 Nov.) and founding DAO Director John Stanley Plaskett’s 153rd birthday (17 Nov.).

The program consisted of three lively symphonies and two concerti written by musician/composer turned astronomer William Herschel who, inter alia, discovered Uranus and infrared radiation. The program had what are believed to be three North American premieres. Harpsichord virtuoso Michael Jarvis, with his virtuosic violinist partner Paul Luchkow (the “Luchkow Jarvis Duo”), is working to revive Herschel’s music for modern audiences. Eight other excellent musicians joined them with period instruments. RASC members David Lee and John McDonald created the beautiful video that accompanied the music using images and sketches by RASC, Victoria Centre members. David and John both participated in an informative pre-concert talk led by the concert’s producer Ian Alexander (Co-chair of the Cathedral’s Music Committee) which also featured retired DAO astronomer Alan Batten and Michael Jarvis. The audience learned about the music, the origin many years ago of this presentation concept, and what to look for in the accompanying images. Dramatic narration throughout the concert by Alan Batten (William Herschel) and Carolyn Sinclair (Caroline Herschel) was based upon the Herschel’s’ original writings, as extensively researched by Alan and scripted by Ian.

A rehearsal photo by David Lee is shown above. Performance photos by Chris Gainor may be seen here and a short recording by David Lee made during rehearsal may be listened to here.

JWST Update

The two halves of the James Webb Space Telescope are now residing together at Northrop Grumman Space Park in Los Angeles. The completed telescope with integrated science instruments is awaiting integration with the spacecraft in 2019. The spacecraft and its enormous deployable sunshield are undergoing a series of environmental tests. Having successfully completed the acoustics test, the spacecraft has now begun a series of vibration tests that simulate the stresses experienced during a launch.

Following the Independent Review Board report released earlier this year, NASA has set a new launch date of March 30, 2021. The science planning timeline shows that the Cycle 1 Call for Proposals is expected to be released at the end of 2019 or start of 2020. The extra time available before launch is being used to improve the efficiency of JWST operations and the state of the data reduction pipeline and archive functionality (including the Canadian Astronomy Data Centre).

The Canadian JWST team recently supported the first Science Instrument Rehearsal at the Mission Operations Center in Baltimore, replicating a week of instrument commissioning activities, including some planned “anomalies”. The exercise was very valuable to test both the flight software and human interactions in this phase of the mission.

There have been some changes to the JWST team at the Universite de Montreal. Julien Rameau has moved on from his position as JWST Instrument Scientist to a new position in France. An advertisement for his replacement is now online here. Nathalie Ouellette has joined the team as the new Canadian JWST Outreach Scientist.


This photo shows the two halves of JWST together in Los Angeles. On the left side three gold-coated hexagonal primary mirror segments of the stowed telescope can be seen. On the right side the stowed spacecraft is being raised for transportation to the environmental test facility; the purple shiny material is the folded sunshield.



Nouvelles d’intérêt général

Luc Simard a accepté le poste de directeur général du Centre de recherche Herzberg en astronomie et en astrophysique. Luc s’est joint au CNRC en 2002 à titre d’expert en archivage des données au Centre canadien de données astronomiques. Il est par la suite devenu chef de l’équipe responsable des instruments au sein du programme Technologies d’astronomie, et a assumé en 2015 le rôle de directeur, Technologies d’astronomie. À ce titre, Luc a dirigé une équipe de 68 scientifiques, ingénieurs et techniciens, répartis dans les sites de Penticton et de Victoria. Au fil des ans, il a participé à de nombreux projets internationaux de haut niveau dans le domaine de l’instrumentation des télescopes, notamment pour le spectrographe optique haute résolution de Gemini [High resOlution SpecTrograph ou GHOST], le corrélateur de moyennes fréquences et le conformateur de faisceaux du Réseau d’un kilomètre carré (SKA) et les spectrographes SPIRou et Near-InfraRed Planet Search (NIRPS) pour le Télescope Canada-France-Hawaï.

Il a également été chef du groupe des instruments scientifiques de l’observatoire abritant le Télescope de trente mètres. Dans ce poste, Luc a été responsable de la livraison de trois instruments scientifiques et d’un dispositif d’étalonnage d’optique adaptative, et a supervisé des travaux exécutés dans 20 instituts différents situés dans cinq pays.

Dans ses travaux de recherche scientifique, Luc s’est avant tout concentré sur les grands levés de galaxies. Il s’intéresse principalement à la mise à l’essai de modèles de formation et d’évolution de galaxies. Il est l’auteur ou le coauteur de 98 publications à comité de lecture, lesquelles ont été citées plus de 9 400 fois. Il a présidé des congrès internationaux en astronomie, il a été membre de diverses commissions consultatives et de groupes d’experts, et il a été invité comme conférencier aux États-Unis, au Canada, en Europe et en Asie, pour aborder un vaste éventail de sujets, dont l’évolution des galaxies, la science et l’instrumentation des télescopes de très grande taille, et la gestion de projets. Il est également professeur auxiliaire au département de physique et d’astronomie de l’Université de Victoria. Il est titulaire d’un doctorat en physique et en astronomie de l’Université de Victoria et a obtenu une bourse postdoctorale à l’observatoire de l’Université de Californie à Santa Cruz, aux États-Unis.

Concert William Herschel

Le vendredi 16 novembre, plus de 250 personnes ont assisté à la cathédrale Christ Church de Victoria à un [concert][Concert.jpg] qu’elles ne sont pas prêtes d’oublier. L’événement, qui a souligné le centenaire de l’Observatoire fédéral d’astrophysique (OFA) et les 150 ans de la Société royale d’astronomie du Canada (SRAC), s’insérait fort à propos entre le 285e anniversaire de naissance de William Herschel (le 15 novembre) et le 153e anniversaire de naissance du directeur fondateur de l’OFA, John Stanley Plaskett (le 17 novembre).

Le programme proposait trois symphonies et deux concertos entraînants composés par le musicien et compositeur devenu astronome William Herschel, qui a notamment découvert Uranus et le rayonnement infrarouge. Le concert incluait en outre ce que nous considérons comme trois premières nord-américaines. Tout d’abord, la présence de Michael Jarvis, virtuose du clavecin, et de son partenaire violoniste virtuose Paul Luchkow (le « duo Luchkow Jarvis »), qui cherchent à remettre la musique d’Herschel à l’honneur auprès des auditoires d’aujourd’hui. Huit autres excellents musiciens se sont joints à eux avec leurs instruments anciens. Les membres de la SRAC David Lee et John McDonald avaient en outre mis au point une magnifique vidéo pour accompagner la musique d’images et esquisses créées par des membres du centre de Victoria de la SRAC. David et John ont tous deux participé avant le concert à une causerie animée par l’organisateur, Ian Alexander (coprésident du comité musical de la cathédrale), à laquelle ont aussi pris part Alan Batten, astronome de l’OFA à la retraite, et Michael Jarvis. L’auditoire a pu ainsi découvrir l’origine de la musique et du concept de présentation, ainsi que glaner des conseils utiles pour savoir quoi regarder dans les images d’accompagnement. Une narration théâtrale d’Alan Batten (incarnant William Herschel) et de Carolyn Sinclair (incarnant Caroline Herschel) a accompagné le concert, inspirée d’écrits originaux de Herschel et rédigée par Ian à la suite d’une recherche étendue effectuée par Alan.

Ci-dessus une photo prise par David Lee durant une répétition. Des photos du spectacle, prises par Chris Gainor, sont accessibles ici et un court enregistrement vidéo réalisé par David Lee durant les répétitions peut être visionné ici.

Nouvelles du JWST

Les deux moitiés du télescope spatial James Webb (James Webb Space Telescope, ou JWST) sont maintenant rassemblées au Northrop Grumman Space Park de Los Angeles. Le télescope complet doté de tous les instruments scientifiques requis attend son intégration au véhicule spatial, prévue en 2019. L’astronef et son énorme écran solaire rétractable sont actuellement soumis à divers tests environnementaux; les essais acoustiques ont été complétés avec succès et les essais de vibration ont débuté, soumettant l’engin spatial aux stress qu’il devra subir lors du lancement.

À la suite du rapport du comité d’examen indépendant publié plus tôt cette année, la NASA a fixé une nouvelle date de lancement, soit le 30 mars 2021. Le calendrier de planification scientifique indique que l’appel de propositions pour le cycle 1 sera lancé à la fin de 2019 ou au début de 2020. Le temps additionnel prévu avant le lancement sera utilisé pour améliorer l’efficacité du JWST, l’état du flux de réduction des données et les fonctions d’archivage (y compris celles du Centre canadien de données en astronomie).

L’équipe canadienne du JWST a récemment participé à une première répétition de l’utilisation des instruments scientifiques au Mission Operations Center de Baltimore. La simulation a reproduit une semaine de mise en service des instruments, y compris quelques « anomalies » programmées. L’exercice a été extrêmement utile pour tester le logiciel de vol et les interactions humains-machines durant cette phase de la mission.

Certains changements se sont produits dans l’équipe du JWST de l’Université de Montréal. Julien Rameau a quitté son poste de scientifique en instrumentation au JWST pour un nouveau poste en France. Le poste est actuellement annoncé ici. Nathalie Ouellette s’est en outre jointe à l’équipe canadienne du JWST à titre de scientifique chargée de la vulgarisation.


Cette photo illustre les deux moitiés du JWST qui ont été réunies à Los Angeles. On peut voir à gauche trois segments hexagonaux du miroir primaire enduit d’or du télescope en position rentrée. À droite, l’engin spatial est soulevé pour être transporté aux installations d’essais environnementaux; le matériel mauve et brillant est l’écran scolaire replié.

CRAQ Summer School Announcement / Annonce d’École d’Été

By / par Robert La Montagne
(Cassiopeia – Winter / hivers 2018)

La version française suit

The Centre for Research in Astrophysics of Quebec (CRAQ) is announcing its annual Summer School, which will be held on June 12-14, 2019 in Montreal, Quebec.

This year’s topic will be “Stellar Astrophysics”. This 3-day school will focus on star formation, evolution and death, astrophysics from the Sun to the stars as well as astrophysics of massive stars, stellar winds and low-mass stars at the bottom of the main sequence. The summer school will include formal lectures from local and international experts in the field.

The CRAQ Summer School is principally aimed at graduate students in the field of physics, astronomy, and astrophysics, although students who have completed an undergraduate program in physics will also be accepted.

There is no registration fee. However, we cannot offer traveling funds or cover lodging expenses. Lodging at a reasonable cost will be made available to the participants on the university campus.

Additional information about the program, registration and accommodation will be available soon on this site: craq-astro.ca/summerschool.

Email contact: Summer.School@craq-astro.ca



Le Centre de recherche en astrophysique du Québec (CRAQ) annonce son école d’été annuelle, qui aura lieu du 12 au 14 juin 2019 à Montréal, Québec.

Le thème de cette année portera sur « L’astrophysique stellaire ». Cette école d’une durée de 3 jours, se concentrera sur la formation, l’évolution et la mort des étoiles, sur l’astrophysique du Soleil aux étoiles ainsi que sur l’astrophysique des étoiles massives, des vents stellaires et des étoiles de faible masse au bas de la séquence principale. Cette école d’été comprendra des présentations formelles offertes en anglais par des experts locaux et internationaux dans le domaine.

L’école d’été du CRAQ s’adresse principalement à des étudiants aux cycles supérieurs dans le domaine de la physique, de l’astronomie et de l’astrophysique. Les étudiants ayant complété un programme de premier cycle en physique seront également acceptés.

Il n’y a aucuns frais d’inscription. Cependant, nous ne pouvons offrir de subside pour couvrir les frais de déplacement ou d’hébergement. Des chambres à coût abordable sur le campus de l’université seront disponibles pour les participants.

Les informations additionnelles à propos du programme, de l’inscription et de l’hébergement seront disponibles bientôt sur le site : craq-astro.ca/summerschool.

Courriel: Summer.School@craq-astro.ca

A Summary of the “Future of Space Astronomy in Canada” Workshop

By / par Pauline Barmby (Western University)
(Cassiopeia – Winter / hivers 2018)

Approximately 65 members of the space astronomy community, from universities, industry, government, and public institutions, gathered at the Université de Montréal on Nov 6-7, 2018 for the Future of Space Astronomy in Canada workshop. The goal of the meeting was to “stimulate ideas and plans for the forthcoming Long Range Plan 2020.. [and].. hear about the status of ongoing and future space astronomy projects and to discuss current issues with CSA [Canadian Space Agency] funding.” Many of the most exciting science questions in astronomy including detection of life on exoplanets, and uncovering the nature of dark energy require observations from space. Canadian astronomers want to be or already are involved in a vast array of space astronomy missions.

Presentations discussed the background and context for LRP2020, Canadian involvement in current and future [proposed] space astronomy missions, the unique space technologies existing and under development in Canadian industry, and space-related outreach. Current mission involvement by Canadians ranges from leadership roles in design studies (e.g. CASTOR) to development of specific and globally unique technologies for proposed missions (e.g. LiteBIRD, SPICA), to instrument testing and science planning for soon-to-launch missions (e.g. JWST). CSA science advisor S. Gallagher emphasized that Canadian astronomers can be proud of our world-leading science1; with J. Hutchings [NRC] and J. Rowe [Bishop’s] she made it clear that the CSA’s space astronomy budget is far too low to support our future ambitions. The long timescale between mission initiation and science return require a long-term plan for CSA and its funding which allows for open, competitively-allocated support for missions of various sizes2. Our inability to join missions in the last decade means that JWST will be the last “new mission” in which Canada participates for some time.

After J. Hutchings discussed the lessons learned from the Long Range Plan 2010 (LRP2010), R. Thacker [St. Mary’s, CASCA] introduced the plans for LRP2020. Once Canadian astronomers have decided on their priorities through LRP2020, realizing them is the next step. Engagement with government and outreach to the public are critical to increasing funding for the CSA; the Don’t Let Go Canada campaign by the Canadian aerospace industry covers more than space astronomy but shares the goal of a re-invigorated CSA. A strong space sector is needed not just to stay internationally competitive, but also to guarantee national security, foster economic development, and improve resource management. As F. Grandmont [ABB] pointed out, space technology is subject to export limitations even from Canada’s closest international partners and allies: the US and Europe. University-led research into remote-sensing and/or space-based capabilities is an effective and economical way to pursue this, with a strong multiplier effect because of the involvement of HQP. The federal government’s recent investments in fundamental science are helpful but do not directly contribute to space science and technology, where CSA is the cognizant agency.

Resolutions discussed at the end of the meeting addressed the path forward to improve the state of Canadian space astronomy. Canadian industry has made (and has the potential to make more) unique technological contributions to space astronomy, and astronomers need to work more closely with industry in developing common talking points to jointly advocate for increased public support for the CSA. We need to be less shy about promoting our science to the public and discussing its benefits to Canada with our elected representatives, and to be united in our advocacy for community priorities after LRP2020 is complete. Enthusiastic participation in the LRP process and in utilization of JWST – our country’s largest space astronomy investment – is critical.

1Competing in a Global Innovation Economy: The Current State of R&D in Canada (2018), The Council of Canadian Academies
2See also Vision for Space Exploration in Canada (2017), Caiazzo, Gallagher, and Heyl; Consultations on Canada’s Future in Space: What We Heard (2018), Space Advisory Board

JWST Postdoctoral Instrument Scientist

Submit by: January 15th 2019 for full consideration. Open until filled.
Send inquiries to: René Doyon (doyon@astro.umontreal.ca)
Send application materials to: René Doyon (irex@astro.umontreal.ca)

********
We invite applications for a Postdoctoral Fellow position to contribute
to the development of the FGS/NIRISS – Fine Guidance Sensor/Near-Infrared
Imager and Slitless Spectrograph,
http://www.exoplanetes.umontreal.ca/?p=1513&lang=en – the Canadian-built
instrument onboard the James Webb Space telescope (JWST) funded by the
Canadian Space Agency.

The successful candidate, based out of the Physics Department at the
Université de Montréal, is expected to play a leading role at a level of
80% of their time in the development of the NIRISS instrument, more
specifically for data pipeline development, data analysis and simulation
tools. We are also seeking a candidate with solid experience in exoplanet
research. The successful candidate may use up to 20% of their time to
conduct independent research programs related to exoplanets.

The successful candidate will ideally have a PhD in physics, astronomy or
other related field with a strong background in the development of
complex data pipelines for ground- and/or space-based instruments along
with experience in exoplanet research. Candidates with a M.Sc. and very
strong experience will be considered. The initial term of employment is
for two years and is renewable annually, subject to performance and
availability of funding.

All applications received by January 15th, 2019 will be given full
consideration, but the position will remain open until filled. The
successful candidate is expected to start between April and September
2019. Salary will be commensurate with experience and be competitive with
leading international research centres. Review of applications will begin
February 1st, 2019 and candidates should be contacted in mid-February.

Applicants should email a CV, list of publications, and a statement of no
more than 3 pages of significant research contributions (in a single PDF
file) to: Prof René Doyon, irex@astro.umontreal.ca. Applicants must also
have two references email letters of recommendation directly to the same
address.

This position is a joint appointment between the Observatoire du
Mont-Mégantic (OMM) and the Institute for Research on Exoplanets (iREx).
OMM is actively involved in the development of astronomical
instrumentation for ground- and space-based facilities. iREx brings
together more than 40 people (professors, researchers and students)
actively involved in the detection and characterization of exoplanets and
related stellar astrophysics science programs.

Social Benefits:
Postdoctoral researchers at UdeM enjoy a comprehensive benefits package,
see:
http://www.fesp.umontreal.ca/fileadmin/Documents/PDF/GuideStagiairePostdoc
toral_Eng.pdf