The Astronomy Research Centre (ARC)

Credits: D. Rennehan, B. Moa, C Hayward / UVic, Westgrid, Compute Canada, Flatiron Institute.

Massive galaxy cluster found assembling much sooner than expected

ARC members Arif Babul and Douglas Rennehan and their team developed the simulation that predicts what will happen next 

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Artist’s illustration of two merging neutron stars. Credit: NSF/LIGO/Sonoma State University/A. Simonnet

UVic researcher participates in observation of neutron star collision

A University of Victoria doctoral student visiting an observatory in Chile unexpectedly became a participant in the observation of the first recorded gravitational wave signature caused by a neutron star collision – a discovery that is transformational to our understanding of the universe.

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A four planet system in orbit, imaged by Jason Wang and Christian Marois

Watch exoplanets in orbit, with images from a team led by ARC's Christian Marois

A movie showing images of four exoplanets in orbit around the star HR 8799 has been created by Jason Wang at Nexus for Exoplanet System Science (NExSS), using images captured by Christian Marois' team at the Herzberg Institute of Astrophysics.


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Illustration of two supermassive black holes weighing millions of times the mass of the Sun. These black hole couples formed when two galaxies collided and merged with each other, forcing their supermassive black holes close together. Credit: Illustration: NASA/CXC/A. Hobart

When galaxies collide: In search of supermassive black hole pairs

A University of Victoria astronomer has discovered an inspired method of finding the elusive pairing of supermassive black holes that mark merging galaxies, a discovery that may provide clues to the future of Earth’s own galaxy.

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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 research

Members of the ARC are engaged in a wide variety of scientific and engineering research.  Science programs including searching for exoplanets, studying the environments for star formation, calculating the evolutionary stages of stellar and galaxy evolution, modelling nuclear processes in stars and in the formation of galaxies, and participating in team science related to astronomical instrumentation and future observational facilities.

Engineering programs range from new adaptive optics technologies, phased array feeds for higher sensitivities at long wavelengths, and exquisite wide field imaging and spectroscopic instrumentation.  

ARC members are also leaders in the operations and development of the next-generation astronomical facilities, such as the Thirty Meter Telescope to be built on Maunakea, the developments at the Atacama Large Millimetre/submillimeter Array in Chile, and instruments on the James Webb Space Telescope to be launched in 2018. 

More information

Please contact us if you would like to know more about the ARC and its activities.

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.

The Director of the ARC oversees its organization and communications, and helps to promote the extraordinary research in astronomy being done at/with UVic. 

ARC Director :  Prof. Kim Venn (Physics & Astronomy)

Members of the ARC are drawn from the Departments of Physics and AstronomyMechanical EngineeringElectrical & Computer Engineering, the School of Earth and Ocean Sciences at the University of Victoria, NRC Herzberg Institute in Saanich, NRC DRAO Institute in Penticton, and TRIUMF  in Vancouver.    

Please see the full list of our members through the People tab.

If you are interested in joining the ARC, please contact us.

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:   

Prof. Adam Ritz  (Physics & Astronomy, Chair)
Prof. Chris Pritchet (Physics & Astronomy)
Prof. Sara Ellison (Physics & Astronomy)
Prof. Colin Bradley (Mechanical Engineering)
Dr. Iris Dillmann (TRIUMF)
Dr. JJ Kavelaars (NRC Herzberg)
Dr. Lisa Locke (NRC Herzberg)

The Advisory Council reviews the progress of the ARC in reaching its goals, and advises on new directions and opportunities.

ARC Advisory Council members : 

Prof. Gregory Fahlman (NRC Herzberg, General Manager)
Dr. Markus Kissler-Patig (Gemini Observatory, Director)
Dr. Reiner Kruecken (TRIUMF, Deputy Director)
Prof. Rob Lipson (UVic, Dean of Science)