Astronomy Research Centre (ARC)

Silicon Chip Probes Exoplanet Atmospheres for Life

NRC scientists have developed a groundbreaking technology using a silicon chip to explore the atmospheres of exoplanets in search of signs of life. By compressing starlight into waveguides smaller than a human hair, this innovative approach overcomes atmospheric distortions and allows for more precise observations. With successful initial field tests on a professional-grade telescope, this pioneering chip technology brings us closer to discovering potentially habitable planets and our place in the universe.

Silicon Chip Probes Exoplanet Atmospheres for Life
ghost first spectra

GHOST spectrograph at Gemini South

GHOST, the Gemini High-resolution Optical SpecTrograph, achieved first light by making exquisite observations of HD 222925, a remarkably bright, chemically complex star located more than 1400 light-years away in the direction of the southern hemisphere constellation Tucana. Image credit: Gemini Observatory

eagle simulation of galaxy formation

EAGLE simulation wins RAS award

As a collaboration of Julio Navarro and an international group of researchers, the EAGLE simulation project has won the 2022 Group Achievement Award of the Royal Astronomical Society. Image credit: EAGLE Simulation

First Comprehensive View of a Stellar Flyby Event Has Discovered

First Comprehensive View of a Stellar Flyby event

Ruobing Dong, lead investigator of an international research team, discovered the first evidence of a flyby event, an intruder object disturbing the protoplanetary disk—or birthplace of planets, in the Z Canis Majoris (Z CMa) star system. Image credit: ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO), S. Dagnello (NRAO/AUI/NSF), NAOJ

Shredded remnant of a globular cluster found at Milky Way's edge

Ruins of a unique globular cluster discovered

Kim Venn and a team of Uvic and international astronomers have discovered the ruins of an ancient star cluster at Milky Way’s Edge. The low metallicity and the chemical fingerprints show that this stream is the tidal remnant of the most metal-poor globular cluster ever discovered, well below the metallicity floor for star and galaxy formation. Image credit: N. Martin & Observatoire Astronomique de Strasbourg; Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope/Coelum; ESA/Gaia/DPAC

James Webb Space Telescope

The UVic ARC celebrates the launch of JWST

The Canadian space agency (CSA) worked in collaboration with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the European Space Agency (ESA) on the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST). The National Research Council Canada (NRC) has worked closely with CSA to support the science and technology behind this advanced science mission, which is designed to see the invisible and change our understanding of the Universe.


The Astronomy Research Centre (ARC) at the University of Victoria brings together world-renowned researchers in astrophysics, engineering, computation, and instrumentation working in or near Victoria, BC.

UVic scientists and engineers work closely with colleagues at the nearby NRC Herzberg Institute in Saanich, the NRC DRAO in Penticton, and at TRIUMF in Vancouver, to form one of the largest concentrations of astronomy-related talent in Canada.

Our mission is to communicate the exciting astronomical research being done at/with UVic, to facilitate new collaborations and synergy, to support high quality undergraduate, graduate and post-doctoral training, and to foster public engagement in science.

ARC Director's Corner


Welcome to the UVic Astronomy Research Centre! We were established in 2015 as a communication platform to increase awareness and opportunities in astronomical research at UVic. Our members from UVic’s faculties of Science and Engineering work with researchers at the nearby NRC’s Herzberg Astronomy & Astrophysics Research Centre in Saanich, BC, the NRC’s Dominion Radio Astronomy Observatory in Penticton, BC, the TRIUMF lab in Vancouver, BC, and with industrial partners across Canada.

Members of the ARC include students, postdocs, staff, faculty, adjuncts, and associates involved in a wide range of astronomical research, including ground and space-based instrumentation.  All of our work requires research support, through local and national computer servers, rapid access to cloud computing, and high-performance computing for intensive simulations.  These are top priorities for the ARC, both to serve our members, and to share the research outcomes from this cluster of excellence across Canada and with the broader community.

ARC hosts or supports local astronomy-related workshops, and helps to coordinate major funding requests and other research initiatives.  Currently, ARC hosts an NSERC-CREATE training program on New Technologies for Canadian Observatories (NTCO), it is involved in the CFI-funded GIRMOS instrument being built at NRC-Herzberg for the Gemini-South Observatory, and is part of the large CFI-proposal to contribute to the ANDES high resolution spectrograph at the European Extremely Large Telescope.  Members of ARC have been involved in building and commissioning of the new GHOST spectrograph at the Gemini-South Observatory (summer 2022).  In addition, several members of ARC are involved in observing programs with the newly launched JWST, as well as the scientific and technical teams designing the Canadian-led CASTOR UV space mission.  

Finally, ARC supports UVic activities, such as the observatory open houses and group tours, and student-led initiatives, such the astrophotography group.  ARC works to be inclusive of Indigenous ways of knowing, and to be respecful of diverse perspectives in astronomy.   This is a pillar in the UVic Strategic Plan, and we hope to provide a more welcoming space for all those who are curious about the sky.

We encourage you to browse these webpages, and explore the exciting research outcomes, research opportunities, and other activities supported by the ARC.

Prof. Kim Venn

ARC Director

September 2022


Program Management Team

The Program Management Team helps to identify and prioritize the goals of the ARC, and oversees the strategic planning to reach those goals.   This team is comprised of members from all significant partners in the ARC.  

ARC Program Management Team members:   

Dr. James Di Francesco (NRC Herzberg)
Dr. Iris Dillmann (TRIUMF)
Lydia Toorenburgh (Tri-Faculty Resurgence Coordinator, UVic)
Dr. Mallory Thorp (Physics & Astronomy, UVic)
Dr. Karun Thanjavur (Physics & Astronomy, UVic)
Prof. Julio Navarro (Physics & Astronomy, UVic)
Prof. Ruobing Dong (Physics & Astronomy, UVic)




Land Acknowledgment


We encourage you to explore and learn from UVic's Office of Indigenous Academic & Community Engagement pages and ARC's Indigenous Acumen page.