CASCATO Abstract submission deadline and early-bird registration deadline extended

We are pleased to see your abstract submissions coming in. We are extending the abstract submission date to April 4, 2024 and the early-bird deadline to April 24, 2024 to make sure we don’t miss your abstracts!

Go to to register – don’t delay

See you in Toronto

This is a reminder that the abstract submission will close on Thursday March 28th. Don’t delay, submit your abstract at as soon as possible. The potential list of sessions is given on the abstract submission forms.

Program: The draft block schedule is now available on the website: We have an exciting program including the graduate student day on Monday June 3, we look forward to seeing you at CASCATO!

Accommodation: We note that there are some graduate options listed on the website, but also that it is possible to double up and share some of the rooms at the Sheraton (details listed on the website). We have had some requests for room bookings for the Sunday night at the Sheraton, and the hotel has agreed to make an additional block of rooms available for Sunday night – you should be able to book those now. Please contact if you have any issues.

Online registration: There have been some requests for discounted student and retiree rates for online registration, those are now available to book on the Eventbrite page.

Student grants: We have some limited funds available for student grants, please email to request support for the meeting. We look forward to welcoming you to Toronto,


Register now for CASCATO 2024

Registration is now open for CASCATO 2024 (, co-hosted by the University of Toronto and York University, and held at the Sheraton Centre Toronto Hotel.

Early bird registration will only continue until April 17, 2024, so don’t delay in registering.

A block of rooms at the Sheraton is already available (see the accommodations page if you wish to begin planning your trip: Please book soon as we have a room booking at the hotel – and filling those rooms is an essential part of being able to host the meeting at such a comfortable hotel venue.

Note that we have also included a spreadsheet on that page to help facilitate sharing of rooms for those who want to double up to save on accommodation costs.

There is also some information on options for graduate student accommodation at York University, we will send more information on downtown options shortly.

A reminder that abstract submission is now open (here: and will continue until March 28, 2024. We will send out decisions on accepted abstract submissions before the close of the early bird deadline.

We look forward to welcoming you to Toronto!


Canadian Gemini News / Nouvelles de l’Office Gemini Canadien

By / par Eric Steinbring with translation by / avec traduction par Stéphanie Côté (Canadian Gemini Office, NRC Herzberg Astronomy & Astrophysics Research Centre / Office Gemini Canadien, Centre de Recherches Herzberg en Astronomie & Astrophysique du CNRC)
(Cassiopeia – Spring / printemps 2024)
La version française suit

Upcoming Deadlines

There are three important Call for Proposal (CfP) application deadlines coming up – all back-to-back-to-back – providing Canadians competitive access to Gemini. So just to help keep these straight:

  • First is the monthly CfP for Fast Turnaround (FT) time, at noon Hawai’i Standard Time (HST) on 31 March. For the FT Call see here. These are short proposals that can put a small, but important dataset in your hands quickly;
  • Next, on 1 April is the deadline for full proposals to the Large and Long Program (LLP) 2024 Call. These are big proposals, asking for either significantly more time than a Regular proposal, or spread over many semesters – or both;
  • And then, finally, is the 2024B semester CfP, at 4 PM (PDT) / 7 PM (EDT) on 2 April. This is for Regular semesterly proposals. Look here for the Canadian-specific information about that Call.

Good luck.

New Modes and Instruments

Something new in the North is the Gemini Near-Infrared Spectrograph (GNIRS) low-resolution Integral Field Unit (IFU); this has coverage from 1 to 2.5 microns over a 3.15″ x 4.80″ Field of View (FoV) with 0.15″ pixels. A second high-resolution IFU (using the 0.05″-pixel-sampling camera) is also now available on a shared-risk basis in the upcoming 2024B CfP. They can be used along with Altair adaptive optics, and together are meant to replace the venerable Near-infrared Integral Field Spectrograph (NIFS) – which has been retired. Incidentally, the Near-InfraRed Imager (NIRI) is also retired, but GNIRS has got your back, allowing imaging using its direct “keyhole” FoV. And, coming soon to the North is the new Immersion GRating INfrared Spectrograph-2 (IGRINS-2), which is essentially a clone of the visiting instrument IGRINS, which will soon leave Gemini South. IGRINS-2 is an efficient, high-resolution (R~40,000; 1.49-2.46 micron) spectrograph, which will undergo a Science Verification phase in the May/June timescale. Keep on the lookout for that!

Student and Outreach Initiatives

A couple things might be of interest, especially to students anticipating making use of Gemini – or, if you’re just curious. One is the Shadow the Scientists program which provides live, interactive sessions with honest-to-goodness astronomers doing astronomy from the big telescopes, and has lately had several sessions at Gemini North (with another coming up soon, on 27 March). It’s worth noting that “eavesdropping”, i.e. remote viewing during a night, is already an option which Gemini invites for successful Regular programs. Another new idea is the Student Visitor Program, which can fund selected graduate students attached to a successful Regular-semester program to visit Gemini (North or South) and, ideally, coordinate the visit to correspond with observations for the program itself. There’s more info here. The general intent of this is for a few students each semester to meet Gemini staff, give a talk, and learn about the observatory operations onsite: the telescope, instruments and data reduction, etc. It proved very popular for the first semester offered, in 2024A.

Echéances à venir

Il y a trois dates limites importantes pour les appels de demandes (AdD) qui s’approchent – et qui sont toutes consécutives – offrant aux Canadien.nes un accès compétitif à Gemini. Alors juste pour vous aider à y voir clair:

  • Le premier est l’appel de demandes mensuel pour le programme Retour Rapide (FT), à midi, heure normale d’Hawaï (HST), le 31 mars. Pour l’appel FT, voir ici. Il s’agit de demandes courtes qui peuvent rapidement vous apporter un ensemble de données restreint mais important;
  • Le 1er avril prochain sera la date limite pour les demandes complètes à l’appel 2024 du Programme Long et Large (LLP). Il s’agit de demandes de temps importantes, qui demandent soit beaucoup plus de temps qu’une demande régulière, soit s’étalent sur plusieurs semestres – ou les deux;
  • Et puis, enfin, l’appel de demandes du semestre 2024B, à 16h (HAP) / 19h (HAE) le 2 avril. Ceci concerne les demandes semestrielles régulières. Recherchez ici les informations spécifiques au Canada pour cet appel.

Bonne chance!

Nouveaux modes et instruments

L’unité de champ intégrale (=IFU) à basse résolution du spectrographe Gemini en proche infrarouge (GNIRS) est une nouveauté dans le Nord; il couvre de 1 à 2,5 microns sur un champ de vision (FoV) de 3,15″ x 4,80″ avec des pixels de 0,15″. Un deuxième IFU de haute résolution (utilisant la caméra à échantillonnage de pixels de 0,05″) est également désormais disponible en mode risques-partagés pour le prochain AdD 2024B. Ils peuvent être utilisés en mode optique adaptative avec Altair et, ensemble, sont destinés à remplacer le vénérable spectrographe de champ intégral dans le proche infrarouge (NIFS), qui a été retiré. Soit dit en passant, l’imageur proche infrarouge (NIRI) a également été retiré, mais GNIRS peut vous être utile, permettant l’imagerie en utilisant directement son champ en « trou de serrure ». Et bientôt dans le Nord nous aurons le nouveau spectrographe infrarouge à réseau en immersion (IGRINS-2), qui est essentiellement un clone de l’instrument visiteur IGRINS, qui quittera bientôt Gemini Sud. IGRINS-2 est un spectrographe efficace à haute résolution (R ~ 40 000 ; 1,49-2,46 microns), qui passera une phase de vérification scientifique en mai/juin. Restez à l’affût pour cela!

Initiatives pour é et pour la sensibilisation

Nous avons quelques nouvelles intéressantes en particulier pour les é qui envisagent d’utiliser Gemini prochainement- ou même si vous êtes simplement La première est le programme Shadow the Scientists qui propose des sessions interactives en direct avec de vrais astronomes faisant de la science sur des grands télescopes. Ce programme a récemment organisé plusieurs sessions à Gemini Nord (avec une autre à venir, le 27 mars). Il convient de noter que ce mode de «eavesdropping», c’est-à-dire la connection et visualisation à distance pendant une nuit, est déjà une option que Gemini offre à tous ses programmes réguliers cédulés dans la queue d’observation. Une autre nouvelle initiative est le programme d’É, qui paye pour qu’une sélection d’é gradué.es qui ont un programme accepté dans le semestre régulier puissent venir visiter Gemini (Nord ou Sud au choix); idéalement, la visite est coordonnée pour qu’elle corresponde à la prise d’observations de leur programme. Veuillez trouver toutes les informations ici. L’objectif général est de permettre à quelques étudiants chaque semestre de rencontrer le personnel de Gemini, donner une conférence et se familiariser avec les opérations de l’observatoire sur place: le télescope, les instruments et aussi la réduction des données, etc. Cela s’est avéré très populaire pour le premier semestre pour lequel le programme était offert, en 2024A.

ngVLA Update

By / par Erik Rosolowsky (U Alberta), Joan Wrobel (NRAO)
(Cassiopeia – Spring / printemps 2024)

ngVLA development is continuing apace with ongoing science plan and technology planning in Canada and other engaged nations including Germany, Japan, Mexico, and Taiwan. There are two upcoming conferences that could be of interest to the Canadian ngVLA community.

Follow the Monarchs: A Journey to Explore the Cosmos at (Sub)milliarcsecond Scales with the ngVLA

Conference poster for “Follow the Monarchs: A Journey to Explore the Cosmos at (Sub)milliarcsecond Scales with the ngVLA” (credit: IRyA/NRAO/AUI/NSF)

This ngVLA international science conference will be held November 11-14 in person in the UNESCO World Heritage site of Morelia, Mexico. The conference will highlight and explore the novel scientific opportunities that will unfold with the unprecedented angular resolution and sensitivity capabilities offered by this new flagship facility. The conference will coincide with the Monarch butterflies completing their migration journey from Canada and the US to the mountains surrounding Morelia. Registration and abstract submission will open on April 1.

A variety of oral presentations and posters will be featured, with a special focus on the new science that will be possible at high angular resolution. The ngVLA will allow, for the first time, the detection of thermal emission at 1 mas angular scales, as well as unprecedented high fidelity imaging of non-thermal emission on scales less than 1 mas. Researchers within and beyond radio astronomy expertise are invited to engage in discussions, share insights, and start to plan the groundbreaking science that the ngVLA will make possible. We particularly encourage the participation of early career scientists, who will be the major users of this observatory.

A Coherent View of Atomic and Molecular Gas from Infrared to Radio Wavelengths

This IAU Focus Meeting 2 will be held August 6-7 in person in Cape Town, South Africa. The meeting will explore how the work taking place at existing facilities is shaping our understanding of the interstellar medium structure and feedback in our own Milky Way and external galaxies, and how this work is re-framing the science that will be addressed by the remarkable capabilities of future radio observatories. Contributed speakers will be announced on April 8.

ALMA Matters


By / par Brenda Matthews and Gerald Schieven (ALMA)
(Cassiopeia – Spring / printemps 2024)

Cycle 10 Resumes

Cycle 10 observing resumed on schedule after the February shutdown. Band 1 PI observations started last week (with ~40 antennas). ALMA is currently in Configuration 1 and will change to Configuration 2 on 25 March 2024. ALMA will remain in Configuration 2 until 19 April.

Cycle 11 Call for Proposals

On 21 March, the Joint ALMA Observatory (JAO) will issue the call for proposals for Cycle 11, which will run October 2024 through September 2025.  The proposal deadline is expected to be 25 April 2024 at 15h UT.

Some of the new capabilities being offered in Cycle 11 include:

  • Band 1 (35 GHz to 50 GHz) full polarization on all antennas of the 12-m Array with the same capability and accuracy as Bands 3-7
  • Band 1 Stokes I on the 7-m Array
  • Full range of configurations (C-1 through C-10) in all bands (Bands 1, 3-10) on the 12-m Array
  • For a full list of capabilities, refer to the ALMA Proposer’s Guide on the documents and tools page

For complete information on the call for proposals, see the documents and tools page.

Cycle 11 ALMA Ambassadors

The selected Cycle 11 ALMA Ambassadors include two Canadians: Jess Speedie of the University of Victoria and Hamid Hassani of the University of Alberta.  Both will be hosting workshops on data reduction in fall 2024 at their home institutions. Jess Speedie intends to host a hybrid workshop to enable participation beyond local participants. Watch this space for more information on these workshops in the next eCass.

The ALMA Ambassador Program provides training and an up to $10,000 research grant to postdoctoral researchers, senior graduate students, and early career researchers interested in expanding their ALMA/interferometry expertise and sharing that knowledge with their home institutions.  The selected Ambassadors receive training at the NRAO headquarters in Charlottesville, VA on topics including interferometry basics, ALMA science capabilities, proposal writing, and guidance on speaking on these topics.  For more information and to apply for the program, see here.

ALMA Primer Video Series

The ALMA Primer Instructional Video series, which can be found on the Science Portal here, is designed to provide a basic introduction to radio interferometry, calibration, imaging, and other topics in short (5-10 minute), easy-to-digest segments.  As a work in progress, new videos are released periodically.  A new video, an Introduction to Self-Calibration, was recently released.  In this ~8 minute video, we look at Self-Calibration, how it works, and how and when to use this powerful technique that can significantly improve the dynamic range of your images.  A new video on Sidebands, Basebands and Spectral Windows will be released soon.

Other videos in the series include an Introduction to Radio Interferometry, Calibration, CLEAN, and much more.  Subscribe to the ALMA Primer Video Series youTube channel to be alerted to new videos as they are released.

We are always looking for ideas for new videos, and especially looking for people who would like to help with script generation, animation, and narration.  If you have an idea or would like to join the Primer Video Working Group (at any level of effort), please contact

Update on CASTOR

By / par John Hutchings, Patrick Côté (NRC Herzberg Astronomy & Astrophysics Research Centre)
(Cassiopeia – Spring / printemps 2024)

CASTOR continues to progress towards approval and flight contracts. An extended (three-year) industrial technical (STDP) contract will wrap up this month, with the final review meeting scheduled on March 21. The work packages are being defined in detail for Phase A, with a subset prioritized in the event flight approval is delayed.

While delayed due to personnel and supply issues, the detector testing to be done at the University of Calgary vacuum facility is planned in detail. In discussions with JPL and Teledyne-e2v, the performance specifications and expectations for the flight arrays are being defined. Significant resources are being devoted by HAA to support this effort.

Our international partners also await funding, to be triggered by a formal approval in Canada, and subsequent agreements. Informal interchange of details continues as official export licences allow. The UK Space agency has approved their initial CASTOR funding to begin this spring. The Coalition for Astronomy has continued a program of meetings and mailings to alert government MPs, the PMO and related ministries to the CASTOR opportunity and international interest. They have also instigated significant media coverage. CASTOR will be represented in several upcoming conferences, including the CASCA AGM in Toronto where a Town Hall meeting is planned.

The recent MIDEX selection of UVEX by NASA offers further, anticipated, opportunity for collaboration and follow-up, similar to the CASTOR surveys coordinated with Roman, Euclid, and Rubin. The delayed launch date of 2030 for UVEX is also compatible with the CASTOR flight schedule.

For more information on the mission, see here.

Abstract Submission: 2024 CASCA AGM

This is the second announcement for the 2024 annual general meeting of the Canadian Astronomical Society, co-hosted by the University of Toronto and York University. Abstract submission is now open at

Key dates:

The meeting will be held June 3rd – 6th at the Sheraton Centre Toronto Hotel, and it will be a hybrid meeting.

March 28th: Abstract submission deadline

March 15th: Registration opens – look out for an email soon

April 17th: Early-bird registration deadline


Monday June 3: Graduate student workshop, and welcome reception
Tuesday June 4: First day of annual general meeting, public lecture
Wednesday June 5: Second day of annual general meeting, conference banquet
Thursday June 6: Third day of annual general meeting, CASCA business meeting

For further details and information, please contact the help team (, the SOC (, the LOC ( or the registration team (

We look forward to seeing you in Toronto!