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New and next-generation space exploration technology to highlight SPIE Astronomical Telescopes + Instrumentation

Montréal is the 2014 host city for biennial event showcasing the newest advances for astronmical instrumentation

02 June 2014

HESS: Werner Hofmann, Max-Planck
Daily plenary talks will be a
returning highlight at this year's
event; above, in 2012, Werner
Hofmann, Max-Planck-Institut
für Kernphysik, highlighted
research in gamma ray
detection at the High-Energy
Stereoscopic System (HESS)
project in Namibia.

BELLINGHAM, Washington -- Reports on newly deployed and next-generation technology to explore the depth, breadth, and deep past of the universe will be presented at SPIE Astronomical Telescopes + Instrumentation 2014 later this month in Montréal. The biennial symposium and two-day exhibition will be held 22-27 June at the Palais des congrès de Montréal, and is sponsored by SPIE, the international society for optics and photonics.

The 12 conferences are organized into two program tracks - on technology advances, and telescopes and systems - and include more than 2,200 presentations in areas such as adaptive-optics systems, observatory operations, ground-based and airborne instrumentation, facility concepts, and cyber infrastructure.

The meeting's eight plenary talks by research leaders of innovative and ambitious missions will focus attention on the behind-the-scenes processes that define the path from the drawing board to the sky.

  • Mark Clampin, James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) Observatory Project Scientist at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, will review recent work on the JWST.
  • Philip Diamond, Director-General of the Square Kilometre Array Organisation, will outline future prospects of the the radio telescope mega-science facility with sites in Australia and South Africa.
  • Timo Prusti, Gaia Project Scientist at the European Space Agency, will present on-orbit performance results of the Gaia mission, charting a 3D map of the Milky Way.
  • Pierre Cox, Director of the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA), will talk about lessons learned and next steps as the complex telescope array begins its third observational cycle.
  • Roland Bacon, director of research at CNRS and director of the Centre de Recherche Astrophysique de Lyon, will present an update on the Multi Unit Spectroscopic Explorer (MUSE) second-generation instrument being developed for the Very Large Telescope (VLT) of the European Southern Observatory (ESO).
  • John Hutchings, NRC-Herzberg Institute of Astrophysics, will describe the history of astronomy in Canada, review current technical and scientific capabilities, and outline prospects for the future, including a concept for a high-resolution orbiting telescope.
  • Satoshi Miyazaki, National Astronomical Observatory of Japan, will discuss the Hyper Suprime-Cam (HSC), a next-generation wide-field optical-imaging camera built for the Subaru telescope on Mauna Kea.
  • George Ricker, Director of the CCD Laboratory at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Kavli Institute, will give an update on the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS). The successor to the Kepler mission, TESS is the first-ever spaceborne, all-sky transit survey. It will serve as the "People's Telescope," with data releases every 4 months, inviting immediate community-wide efforts to study the new planets.

Onsite courses taught by international experts will cover systems engineering, advanced composite materials, aerial spectrograph design and development, optics analysis, and related topics at introductory and intermediate levels.

Nearly 100 companies -- including CILAS, PI (Physik Instrumente), SCHOTT, Thorlabs, and ZYGO -- will display products and technologies during the two-day exhibition, 25-26 June. Exhibition access is free.

The event's first Software Hack Day, organized by Sarah Kendrew of the University of Oxford, will be held in conjunction with the conference on Software and Cyberinfrastructure for Astronomy. The event is open to all attendees.

Symposium chairs are Gillian Wright, UK Astronomy Technology Center, and Luc Simard, National Research Council of Canada.

SPIE is the international society for optics and photonics, a not-for-profit organization founded in 1955 to advance light-based technologies. The Society serves nearly 256,000 constituents from approximately 155 countries, offering conferences, continuing education, books, journals, and a digital library in support of interdisciplinary information exchange, professional networking, and patent precedent. SPIE provided more than $3.2 million in support of education and outreach programs in 2013.


Amy Nelson
Public Relations Manager
+1 360 685 5478