Assistant Professor, Computational Extragalactic Astronomy – Department of Physics & Astronomy, Faculty of Science, York University

The Department of Physics and Astronomy in the Faculty of Science at York University in Toronto, Canada, invites highly qualified candidates to apply for a professorial stream tenure-track appointment in computational extragalactic astronomy at the Assistant Professor level, to commence July 1, 2022. Salary will be commensurate with qualifications and experience. All York University positions are subject to budgetary approval.

The successful candidate will be expected to engage in outstanding, innovative, externally funded research at the highest level. Applicants should have a demonstrated record of excellence in research and a clearly articulated program of research involving computational extragalactic astronomy. Through this hire and several others anticipated over the next few years, the Department seeks to establish a leadership role in the study of structure in the cosmos, on scales from star formation to the cosmic microwave background, enabled by existing and planned world-class facilities and the “big data” they will generate. Particularly, we seek applicants who use leading-edge computational facilities or techniques to model the formation and development of structures on galactic and/or cosmological scales, with relevance to the next generation of observing facilities or their data products.

Candidates must provide evidence of research excellence of a recognized international calibre as demonstrated in their application materials. This includes a compelling plan for future research; publications in significant journals in the field; presentations at major conferences; awards and accolades; and strong recommendations from three referees of high standing.

The position will involve graduate teaching and supervision, as well as undergraduate teaching. Candidates must show evidence of, or the potential for, superior teaching and mentoring of undergraduate and graduate students, as demonstrated though a teaching statement, teaching accomplishments and pedagogical innovations including in high priority areas such as experiential education and technology enhanced learning, and strong letters of reference. The successful candidate must have a PhD in Astronomy, Astrophysics or Physics along with relevant postdoctoral experience and be eligible for prompt appointment to the Faculty of Graduate Studies.

Astronomers and astrophysicists in the Department of Physics and Astronomy have core strengths in extragalactic astronomy with a focus on observational and theoretical studies of galaxy evolution, dark matter, early Universe cosmology, the cosmic microwave background, large-scale structure, and active galactic nuclei. Further information about the Department can be found at https://www.yorku.ca/science/physics/.

York is a leading international teaching and research university, and a driving force for positive change. Empowered by a welcoming and diverse community with a uniquely global perspective, we are preparing our students for their long-term careers and personal success. Together, we can make things right for our communities, our planet and our future.

York University has a policy on Accommodation in Employment for Persons with Disabilities and is committed to working towards a barrier-free workplace and to expanding the accessibility of the workplace to persons with disabilities. Candidates who require accommodation during the selection process are invited to contact Professor Adam Muzzin, Chair of the Search Committee at muzzin@yorku.ca.

York University is an Affirmative Action (AA) employer and strongly values diversity, including gender and sexual diversity, within its community. The AA Program, which applies to women, members of visible minorities (racialized groups), Aboriginal (Indigenous) people and persons with disabilities, can be found at https://www.yorku.ca/acadjobs or by calling the AA line at 416-736-5713. Applicants wishing to self-identify as part of York University’s Affirmative Action program can do so by downloading, completing and submitting the form found at: https://acadjobs.info.yorku.ca/affirmative-action/self-identification-form.

All qualified candidates are encouraged to apply; however, Canadian citizens, permanent residents and Indigenous peoples in Canada will be given priority. No application will be considered without a completed mandatory Work Status Declaration form which can be found at https://acadjobs.info.yorku.ca/affirmative-action/work-authorization-form.

Applicants should submit a comprehensive up-to-date curriculum vitae, a one-page statement of teaching philosophy, and a three-page summary of key research contributions and current and future research plans. Furthermore, applicants should arrange for three signed letters of recommendation to be sent on their behalf. All application materials should be submitted electronically through: https://academicjobsonline.org/ajo/jobs/#####.

To guarantee full consideration, applications should be received by November 22, 2021. Any queries about the position should be directed to Professor Adam Muzzin, Chair of the Search Committee at muzzin@yorku.ca.

CANADIAN INSTITUTE FOR THEORETICAL ASTROPHYSICS (CITA) National Fellowships

CITA is a national centre for theoretical astrophysics located at the University of Toronto. As part of its mandate to promote research throughout Canada, the Institute provides partial support for postdoctoral fellows working in theoretical astrophysics or closely related fields at Canadian universities other than the University of Toronto, through its National Fellows Program.

If you are interested in a CITA Fellowship, please contact any of the following faculty by email or check department websites for further research projects and details. Apply through the CITA application website and check off the Fellowships you are interested in applying to. You will be required to submit a CV, research statement and arrange for three letters of recommendation.

Please apply online at: https://icat.cita.utoronto.ca/pdf

The deadline for applications and all letters of recommendation is November 8, 2021 for fellowships to start in September 2022.

Lorne Nelson, Bishop’s University (lnelson@ubishops.ca)
Mark Halpern, University of British Columbia (halpern@physics.ubc.ca)
Dan Siegel, University of Guelph (dsiegel@uoguelph.ca / www.physics.uoguelph.ca)
Robert Brandenberger, McGill University (rhb@hep.physics.mcgill.ca)
H. Cynthia Chiang, McGill University (hsin.chiang@mcgill.ca / www.physics.mcgill.ca/~chiang)
Eve Lee, McGill University (evelee@physics.mcgill.ca)
Nicolas Cowan, McGill University (nicolas.cowan@mcgill.ca / https://msi.mcgill.ca)
Adrian Liu, McGill University (acliu@physics.mcgill.ca)
Katelin Schutz, McGill University (kschutz@physics.mcgill.ca)
Yashar Hezaveh, Université de Montréal (hezaveh@astro.umontreal.ca / www.phys.umontreal.ca/accueil)
Julie Hlavacek-Larrondo, Université de Montréal (j.larrondo@umontreal.ca / www.phys.umontreal.ca/accueil)
Marcin Sawicki, Saint Mary’s University (marcin.sawicki@smu.ca / https://www.smu.ca/academics/departments/astronomy-and-physics.html)
Samar Safi-Harb, University of Manitoba (samar.safi-harb@umanitoba.ca / http://www2.physics.umanitoba.ca/u/samar)
Arif Babul, University of Victoria (babul@uvic.ca)
Sara Ellison, University of Victoria (sarae@uvic.ca)
Julio Navarro, University of Victoria (jfn@uvic.ca / www.phys.uvic.ca)
Ruobing Dong, University of Victoria (rbdong@gmail.com)
Mike Hudson, University of Waterloo (mike.hudson@uwaterloo.ca / www.uwaterloo.ca/astrophysics-centre)
Avery Broderick, Waterloo Centre for Astrophysics (www.uwaterloo.ca/astrophysics-centre)
James Taylor, Waterloo Centre for Astrophysics (taylor@uwaterloo.ca / www.uwaterloo.ca/astrophysics-centre)
Will Percival, University of Waterloo (will.percival@uwaterloo.ca)

Please visit CITA’s website at www.cita.utoronto.ca and click on “Opportunities” for more information.

Dunlap Postdoctoral Fellowships in Astronomical Instrumentation

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

McMaster University: Tenure Stream Assistant Professor in Observational Exoplanet Astronomy

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

Position Description

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

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

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

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

Commitment to Inclusive Excellence

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

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

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

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

How to Apply

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Salary will be commensurate with qualifications and experience.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cassiopeia Newsletter – Autumnal Equinox / equinoxe d’automne 2021

fall

In this issue:

President’s Message
ALMA Matters
BRITE-Constellation Mission Update
Update from the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) / Compte rendu de l’Agence spatiale canadienne (ASC)
Update on CASTOR
CATAC Update on the Thirty Meter Telescope
Update on Canadian Initiative for Radio Astronomy Data Analysis (CIRADA)
Report from the LRCIC
Maunakea Spectroscopic Explorer (MSE) Update
ngVLA Update
No More Academic Pipelines: Rethinking Inclusion in Astronomy
Square Kilometre Array (SKA) Update
Dissertation: Exotic Binaries in Galactic Globular Clusters: Identification, Classification, and their Formation


Editor: Joanne Rosvick

Cassiopeia is CASCA’s quarterly Newsletter, published on or near the solstices and equinoxes (March 21, June 21, September 21 and December 21). To submit a contribution please email cassiopeia.editors@gmail.com. All submissions must be received at least one week in advance to be published in the next edition. I accept plain text and Word documents. Note that the formatting of your document will not be preserved. Please include any images as attachments in your email, not embedded in the text. Please include URLs in parentheses next to the word or phrase that you wish to act as link anchors.

Cassiopeia est le bulletin d’information de la CASCA, publié quatre fois par année, aux solstices et aux équinoxes (21 mars, 21 juin, 21 septembre et 21 décembre). Pour soumettre un article, écrivez à cassiopeia.editors@gmail.com. Les soumissions doivent être reçues au moins une semaine avant la parution. J’accepte les fichiers en format texte (ascii) et Word. Veuillez noter que la mise-en-page de votre document ne sera pas conservée. Veuillez faire parvenir vos images en pièces jointes à votre courriel plutôt que de les insérer dans votre article. Pour les liens à des sites internets, veuillez inclure l’adresse entre parenthèses à côté du mot ou de la phrase devant servir d’ancre.


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

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

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

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

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

Upcoming releases include:

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

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

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

(Cassiopeia – Autumn / l’automne 2021)

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

Abstract

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

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

President’s Message

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

Dear Members,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

CASCA Office Update

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

Expected Duties of Directors

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

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

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

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

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

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

2022 AGM Board Elections

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wishing every one of you a safe and productive fall,

Rob

ALMA Matters

ALMAlogo

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

ALMA Development Project – Second Generation Correlator

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

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

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

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

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

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

For the complete news item, please visit here.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Employment Opportunities with the North American ALMA Research Center

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

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

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

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