Cosmic highlights from Montreal

Highlights from SPIE Astronomical Telescopes + Instrumentation

01 October 2014

SPIE Astronomical Telescopes and Instrumentation in Montréal served as the global gathering place in June for the worldwide community of researchers, suppliers, and project managers of large ground- and space-based telescopes.

The biennial meeting drew nearly 2400 participants for more than 2000 presentations and posters and a two-day exhibition featuring more than 100 companies.

“We heard all about next-generation space- and ground-based facilities that will explore astrophysics on a grand scale from the inflationary expansion of the early Universe to the detection and characterization of Earth-like planets,” said Luc Simard of the National Research Council (NRC) of Canada, who served as symposium chair with Gillian Wright of the UK Astronomy Technology Centre.

“We discussed the latest from projects that are just starting and learnt from those beginning to be used on the sky,” Wright added. “The variety and breadth of topics coupled with the opportunity for deeply technical debate is really valuable and unique.”

Photos and synopses of plenary talks and a sampling of other papers from the week are at

Video presentations from eight plenary talks on the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), the ALMA (Atacama Large Millimeter/Submillimeter Array), the Square Kilometre Array (SKA), the Gaia galaxy-mapping program, and other projects are available from SPIE.TV. They include these talks:

• Roland Bacon of Observatoire de Lyon (France), principal investigator of the Multi Unit Spectroscopic Explorer (MUSE), on preliminary results from the second-generation VLT panoramic integral-field spectrograph

• SPIE Fellow Mark Clampin of NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, discussing the JWST systems already built and tested and the remaining tasks for the large aperture IR telescope’s planned 2018 launch and first science observations

• Pierre Cox, director of the ALMA Observatory (Chile), giving an update on the transition from construction to operations

• Philip Diamond, director general of the SKA Organisation (UK), who discussed the design phase of the next-generation radio telescope

• John B. Hutchings of Canada’s NRC Herzberg Institute of Astrophysics, who discussed the history and future plans for space astronomy in Canada

• Satoshi Miyazaki, director of the Hyper Suprime-Cam (HSC) and associate professor at the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan, who gave an overview of the weak gravitational lensing survey with the camera for the Subaru telescope

• Timo Prusti, Gaia Project Scientist at the European Space Agency (The Netherlands), on the scientific in-orbit performance of the mission launched in 2013

• George R. Ricker of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Kavli Institute, principal investigator for the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) mission, who discussed preparations for NASA’s planned 2017 launch of TESS

The next SPIE Astronomical Telescopes and Instrumentation event will run 26 June through 1 July 2016 in Edinburgh. Symposium chairs will be SPIE Fellow Colin Cunningham of the UK Astronomy Technology Centre and SPIE member Masanori Iye of the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan.


image of JATIS SPIE will launch the Journal of Astronomical Telescopes, Instruments, and Systems (JATIS) in the fourth quarter of 2014.

One of three new journals from SPIE this year, JATIS responds to the need expressed by the astronomical instrumentation community for a high-quality, peer-reviewed journal focusing on the technologies covered in the astronomy programs at SPIE Astronomical Telescopes and Instrumentation and SPIE Optics + Photonics.

Edited by Clampin, the journal will publish papers on the development, testing, and application of telescopes, instrumentation, techniques, and systems for ground- and space-based astronomy.

The first issue will include papers on mirror performance, spatial filters, active and adaptive optics, and other topics.

Free access to the online versions of JATIS, Neurophotonics, and the Journal of Medical Imaging will be available through the end of 2015.

More information:

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