CASCA-Westar Lectureship

The CASCA-Westar Lectureship in Astronomy is a program that makes it possible to arrange for a professional astronomer to visit and share with your community the most recent discoveries about the universe!

If your community would like to apply to host a CASCA-Westar Lecture, please see our list of speakers and then fill out the application to host a CASCA-Westar Lecturer. Applications for in-person visits are currently on hold because of COVID 19. However, many lecturers are willing to visit remotely – e.g., via Zoom or Teams. Please fill out as much as the application as you are able and/or email us at with questions. Previous applicants may also request a talk.

If you are an astronomer who is interested in becoming a CASCA-Westar Lecturer, please see the page on Becoming a CASCA-Westar Lecturer.

Background and Introduction

The Canadian Astronomical Society (CASCA) has established a Lectureship — the CASCA-Westar Lectureship (CWL) — whose mandate is to bring highlights of current astronomical research to the general public and students using Canadian professional astronomers. The CWL will primarily sponsor visits by professional astronomers to schools and communities that currently do not have easy access to nearby post-secondary institutions with astronomy programs and facilities.

There are few sciences that resonate as strongly with the public of all ages than astronomy. This is why local observatories (professional and public), planetariums and science centers are so successful at attracting public attention.

Typical Visit

An average CWL visit will normally last about two days, and involve 2-3 presentations in the local area. For example, in addition to the main public evening lecture, there might be a presentation to students at a community college, another to a high school, etc. If the lecturer is also willing to host a workshop for local teachers, we encourage a collaboration with our educational program Discover the Universe to make this happen. We would also suggest a follow-up virtual visit by the lecturer to school groups to answer any questions they may have. The goal is to maximize the benefit of the CWL to the host community. The lectureship pays for all travel expenses for the lecturer. Any other expenses for the lecture, such as venue rental, should be covered by the host community.

Why the name Westar?

This program is possible thanks to a donation from Westar dedicated to the advancement of astronomy in Canada.

Previous Visits

Year Lecturer Location
2021 Stan Metchev Inuvik, NT (virtual visit)
2021 Doug Johnstone Whitehorse, YT (virtual visit)
2019 Christian Marois The Pas, MB
2019 Stan Metchev Igloolik, NU
2018 Jon Willis Ashcroft and Cache Creek, BC
2018 Doug Johnstone Nitinaht Lake, BC
2018 Louise Edwards Nutashkuan, QC
2016 Christa Van Loerhoven Whitehorse, YT

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