Call for international expressions of interest to engage with the Anglo-Australian Telescope

The Anglo-Australian Telescope (AAT) Consortium is currently seeking  expressions of interest from international groups to engage with the  AAT facility through pay-for-access arrangements from July 2022.

The AAT is a 3.9m equatorially-mounted Cassegrain reflector, located  at Siding Spring Observatory in NSW, Australia. It can be accessed via  remote observing from nodes around the world. The telescope is  operated by the Australian National University on behalf of the  funding Consortium, which at present comprises 13 Australian  universities.

The AAT currently offers four facility-class spectrographic  instruments: AAOmega (with 2dF or Koala), Hermes and Veloce. The new  Hector spectrograph is expected to come online in 2021. Requests for  the use of visitor instruments on the AAT will also be considered.  Please visit the following website for more on these instruments:

As part of this call, we welcome proposals and are open to  conversations regarding conditions of access, including joining the  Consortium as a full partner, medium-to-long-term paid-time contracts,  data-sharing or access, or other innovative arrangements. These may  also include potential public outreach components.

If you are interested in seeking access on the AAT, please contact Dr  Lucyna Chudczer, AAL’s Program Manager for the AAT  (, by May 31 2021. Please  include an expression of interest (up to 2 pages) detailing how you  wish to use the telescope; this may involve instruments of interest,  length/time of proposed use, research details or the outreach  component, and level and source of potential funding support.

For more information regarding the AAT, including available  instruments and capabilities, please visit:

Peter G. Martin Award for mid-career achievement: Dr. Sara Ellison

CASCA is pleased to announce Dr. Sara Ellison as the recipient of the 2021 Martin Award. Dr. Ellison obtained her PhD from Cambridge University, and is currently a Professor of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Victoria. Dr. Ellison is an international leader in both the study of high redshift QSO absorption lines and galaxy mergers in the nearby universe. She displays an outstanding breadth in her research. As an observer Dr. Ellison has led observing programs across the electromagnetic spectrum, from X-rays to optical to radio wavelengths. As a theorist, she has complemented her observational work with simulations on a variety of length scales and cutting edge techniques such as machine learning. Her research is of the highest impact, garnering more than 11,500 total citations, with many of her works on galaxy metallicity and galaxy interactions/mergers considered definitive treatments in the field. Dr. Ellison received the Annie Jump Cannon Award from the American Astronomical Society in 2004, the University of Victoria Faculty of Science Award in Research Excellence in 2009, the Royal Society of Canada’s Rutherford Memorial Medal in Physics in 2014, and the REACH Silver Medal for Research Excellence in 2020.

2021 Qilak Award for Astronomy Communications, Public Education and Outreach: Dr. Jayanne English

CASCA is pleased to announce Dr. Jayanne English as the recipient of the 2021 Qilak Award. Dr. English obtained her PhD from Australian National University, and is currently an Associate Professor of Astronomy at the University of Manitoba. Over many decades, Dr. English has leveraged her prior training as an artist (at the Ontario College of Art and Design University) to build a unique outreach program that bridges art and science. She has promoted the use of artistic techniques and design to influence how astronomical images are constructed by both professional astronomers and amateur enthusiasts. During her two-year tenure as the coordinator for the Hubble Heritage Project, she led the production of some of the most iconic Hubble Space Telescope images, many of which have had billions of views. Combining optical data with radio observations, Dr. English was recently awarded a 2nd Place National Radio Astronomy Observatory 2020 Visualization Award for her stunning composite HST-VLA image of the galaxy NGC 5775. In collaboration with composer Nicole Lizee, she produced “Colliding Galaxies: Colours and Tones”, a unique integration of astronomy and electronic music. By designing and teaching courses such as “The Art of Scientific Visualization”, Dr. English has also trained a next generation of astronomical visualization experts, guaranteeing that her work will have a multiplicative effect on the broader community.

CASCA is delighted to recognize Dr. Jayanne English’s efforts with this award.

2021 J.S. Plaskett Medal: Dr. Ziggy Pleunis

CASCA is pleased to announce Dr. Ziggy Pleunis as the recipient of the 2021 J. S. Plaskett Medal for the most outstanding doctoral thesis in astronomy or astrophysics. Dr. Pleunis completed his PhD thesis in 2020 under the supervision of Prof. Victoria Kaspi at McGill University, and will soon be moving to the University of Toronto as a Dunlap Fellow. His thesis, titled “Fast radio burst detection and morphology with the CHIME telescope” represents a set of groundbreaking contributions to the fast-emerging field of Fast Radio Burst (FRB) astronomy. Dr. Pleunis has contributed to all aspects of the CHIME telescope’s FRB project, from instrumentation to software to observation to analysis to science interpretation. Beyond CHIME, he has also made multiple breakthroughs using the LOw Frequency Array (LOFAR), whether in the discovery of a low-frequency FRB or the study of millisecond pulsars.

CASCA is delighted to recognize Dr. Pleunis’s achievements with this award. Additionally, we would like to recognize the exceptional theses of all the finalists: Dr. Ryan Cloutier, Dr. Maan Hani, Dr. Eric Koch, Dr. Ian Roberts, and Dr. Kaja Rotermund.

R.M. Petrie Prize Lecture: Dr. Heino Falcke

CASCA is pleased to announce Dr. Heino Falcke as the 2021 R.M Petrie Prize Lecturer. Dr. Falcke is a Professor of Astroparticle Physics and Radio Astronomy at the Institute for Mathematics, Astronomy, and Particle Physics of the Faculty of Science at Radboud University. For decades, he has been an international leader in the quest to use very-long baseline interferometry to image the shadow of a black hole. These efforts culminated in the stunning images of the supermassive black hole in M87 produced by the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT). Dr. Falcke is a member of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences, and in 2019 won the Breakthrough Prize for Fundamental Physics as part of the EHT collaboration.

CASCA is honoured to have Dr. Falcke give the Petrie Prize lecture.

Harvey B. Richer Gold Medal for Early Career Research in Astronomy: Dr. Renée Hložek

CASCA is pleased to announce Dr. Renée Hložek as the recipient of the 2021 Richer Medal. Dr. Hložek obtained her DPhil from Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar, and is currently an Assistant Professor at the Dunlap Institute and the Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics at the University of Toronto. She is a recognized expert in both observational and theoretical cosmology in all her investigations: in studies of the cosmic microwave background, probes of large-scale structure, or transient cosmology. She holds multiple leadership positions in international collaborations, including the Simons Observatory, the Atacama Cosmology Telescope, the Canadian Euclid Consortium, and the Vera Rubin Observatory. Coupling her own research accomplishments with the training of a large number of students since arriving at Toronto, she has raised the profile and impact of the Canadian cosmological community. Dr. Hložek received the University of Toronto Dean’s Faculty Merit Award in 2017 and 2018, and has been elected a CIFAR Azrieli Global Scholar as well as an Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellow.

CASCA is delighted to recognize Dr. Renée Hložek’s efforts with this award.

Canadian Astroparticle Physics Summer School (CAPSS) – Deadline extended

Organized by the Arthur B. McDonald Canadian Astroparticle Physics  Research Institute
Hosted Virtually by Queen’s University and SNOLAB

The McDonald Institute is pleased to announce this year’s Canadian  Astroparticle Physics Summer School (CAPSS). CAPSS 2021 is a week-long  undergraduate school that will introduce students to current topics in  the field of astroparticle physics at Queen’s University and SNOLAB.

We encourage all faculty to pass this announcement on to undergraduate  students keen to experience exciting research and detector  opportunities, particular those students without much access to  similar resources. This is a fantastic chance for students starting to  consider graduate school options, or those with limited opportunities  to learn from other institutes.

Find out more on our website:  or contact us at The schedule will  be a bit different this year due to the virtual nature.

Activities will include:
– Lectures and hands-on activities in particle physics, detector  development, neutrino physics, dark matter astrophysics and cosmology,  and more!
– An enriched Masterclass on the Nobel Prize winning SNO experiment
– A virtual tour of the world-famous SNOLAB underground facility
– Online social events and networking opportunities

Topics covered include:
-Astrophysical Evidence and Cosmology of Dark Matter
-Models and Signals of Dark Matter
-Direct Detection of Dark Matter: Techniques, Applications, and  Current Status of the Field
-Neutrinos: A History, Mass Theory and Neutrinoless Double-Beta Decay
-Detecting Neutrino Oscillations using the SNO Experiment

Target Audience:
This school is targeted at 2nd year and 3rd year undergraduate  students, but it is open to all undergraduate students.

Registration Fee:
There is no registration fee, but successful applicants will need to  pay a pre-registration fee of $50, reimbursable upon satisfactory  completion of the school.

For information on how to apply, see

The application deadline has been extended to April 16th, and  successful applicants will be notified by the end of April 2021.

Please distribute this advertisement to any groups, institutions or  individuals who may be interested in this opportunity.