The Astronomy Research Centre (ARC)

First Comprehensive View of a Stellar Flyby Event Has Discovered

First Comprehensive View of a Stellar Flyby Event Has Discovered

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

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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

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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.

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Alan McConnachie

Alan McConnachie has been elected to the Royal Society of Canada

Alan McConnachie (NRC Herzberg), has been elected to the Royal Society of Canada (RSC), a council of distinguished scholars and leaders recognized with the country's highest academic honours. Six Uvic researchers in the fields of science, social sciences, engineering, and humanities, have been elected to the Royal Society of Canada.Image credit:UVic Photo Services

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Transition Disks with ALMA

2021 Science Exposed Competition Finalist

This beautiful assembly of dusty disks complied by Logan Francis and Nienke van der Marel from ALMA observations is a 2021 finalist in NSERC's Science Exposed image competition. Please give it a vote!

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Slice of a vorticity in a massive star

Elements in the First Stars

This simulation shows a slice of the vorticity through a massive star that would be among the first to have formed right after the Big Bang, as it burns hydrogen and helium. Prof. Falk Herwig and recently graduated Dr. Ondrea Clarkson, as part of a large collaboration, study the perplexing elemental abundance signatures left behind from the first stars.  Image: Falk Herwig/Paul Woodard, NSF, TACC

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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 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.

UVic's territory acknowledgement on a background of cedar trees and star trails: "We acknowledge with respect the Lekwungen peoples on whose traditional territory the university stands and the Songhees, Esquimalt and WSÁNEĆ peoples whose historical relationships with the land continue to this day."

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

ARC Director's Corner

Kim VennWelcome 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, and is involved in the CFI-funded GIRMOS instrument being built at NRC-Herzberg for the Gemini-South Observatory.   In addition, several members of ARC are involved in a large CFI proposal for the final design phase of a new 11-meter spectroscopic survey telescope, the Maunakea Spectroscopic Explorer.   

Finally, ARC supports UVic activities, such as the observatory open houses and group tours, and student-led initiatives, such the astrophotography group.   More recently, ARC has initiated efforts to be more inclusive of Indigenous students, Indigenous knowledge, and 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

June 2020


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)
Mallory Thorp (Physics & Astronomy, UVic)
Dr. Karun Thanjavur (Physics & Astronomy, UVic)
Prof. Julio Navarro (Physics & Astronomy, UVic)
Prof. Ruobing Dong (Physics & Astronomy, UVic)