CFHT News and Updates

By Nadine Manset (Director of Science Operations, on behalf of the CFHT ‘ohana)
(Cassiopeia – Summer 2024)

The Canada-France-Hawaiʻi Telescope will be 45 years old in August! Strong with experience and expertise, we are planning the upcoming 10 years to continue serving our communities. CFHT’s mission is to provide you with a versatile and state-of-the-art astronomical observing facility that is well-matched to your scientific goals and fully utilizes the potential of the Maunakea site.

As CFHT approaches the end of the current Maunakea lease, we plan to spend the remainder of this decade working in close consultation with the newly formed Maunakea Stewardship and Oversight Authority (MKSOA), our Hawaiʻi community, and our astronomy community to build a collaborative future that we hope results in the continuation and upgrade of CFHT on Maunakea past 2033.

The four pillars of CFHT’s strategy revolve around successfully operating CFHT for at least 10 more years, engaging with the local community in Hawaiʻi, raising awareness in the astronomy community of the need to change the way we practice our profession, and advancing the design work for the Maunakea Spectroscopic Explorer (MSE), which remains our long-term objective.

Operational Component of the 10-year Plan

The operational component of the plan adopted consists of implementing Wenaokeao formerly known as VISION, the co-mount of  ESPaDOnS and SPIRou, starting in 2025, followed by the decommissioning of WIRCam and SITELLE at the end of 2026B. The optomechanical interface Wenaokeao will allow the use of SPIRou only (no intervening optics), ESPaDOnS only (using relay optics), or both SPIRou and ESPaDOnS simultaneously (using a beam splitter).

On the development side, we continue the design of the CFHT-IFU, contingent on grant approval, and advance the Maunakea Spectroscopic Explorer design.

On the science side, we are increasing the fraction of time dedicated to Large Programs for the 2025A – 2026B period and planning for a major scientific survey that will follow.

In early 2024, we opened a call for Large Programs (LP) to use up to 400 nights from 2025A to 2026B. Out of the 6 proposals received, the one(s) selected will be announced in the fall.

Given the remarkable success of the CFHTLS, we are considering having another major scientific survey, defined by the community (as opposed to teams centered around a single PI), to follow this upcoming round of LP. This major effort would extend over 4 or 5 years and be carried on MegaCam and/or Wenaokeao. Since this has to be community-driven, a call for ideas will be issued and we already welcome your suggestions.

To share your thoughts, feel free to send an email to

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