Report of 56th meeting of SAC

CFHT Oct 28-29, 1999

Megacam surveys
observing station
Visitor Instruments
High resolution 
page limits 
Queue scheduling and 
service observing 
CFHT Archive
 CFHT future 
CFHT anniversary 
Other topics 
Future actions 
Status of future large telescope 
discussions in Canada 
CADC Proposal for 
SAC Resolution on CFH12K

      The meeting was attended by all SAC members Hutchings, Cuby, Mazure, Forveille, Hickson, Lilly, Bohlender, and Wainscoat. M. Pierre and J.Tonry were unable to attend. CFHT were represented by G. Fahlman, D. Salmon, C. Veillet, and other staff members who participated in specific discussions.
On Oct 27, a summit visit was made by J. Hutchings, J-G Cuby, and A. Mazure, accompanied by G. Fahlman, D. Salmon, and C. Veillet.

      The following agenda items were discussed. Some relevant supporting documentation is included at the end of the report. The main body of the  report gives a brief narrative of the discussions, and formal recommendations and comments of SAC are numbered.

Agenda items

1. a) Telescope and instrument status, particularly

   b) Telescope use (99I) and scheduling (99II)

2. Grundman report on upper end changes

3. Policies for Gecko/Espadons, f/35

4. CTAC issues for proposals and review

5. Archiving and calibration issues for CFHT12K

6. Queue scheduling progress (P. Martin)
   NEO presentation (S. Asani)

7. MegaPrime:
   a) project status
   b) Megaprime commissioning schedule

8. Megacam survey working group progress

9. WIRCAM negotiations progress, IR working group report

10 Mauna Kea master plan issues, CFHT future

11 Proposed 20 year celebration next year

12 Future actions and meetings

    In addition to the agenda of the meeting, SAC undertook the following actions since the last (May 1999) meeting.

    A call for ideas for Megacam survey programs was issued to the CFH scientific communities, as follows:

                   CFHT imaging surveys

        A call for ideas and working group candidates

   The CFHT currently offers wide field imaging with the CFH12K camera, and will commission the Megaprime camera in 2 years. Megacam will have a field over one degree with tip-tilt guiding, automatic focus, and throughput below 4000A. The SAC, CFHT, and Megaprime project have agreed that Megacam will be used for imaging surveys which will be scheduled for a nominal 6 weeks of time per year. Surveys may extend over more than one year but will be selected or reviewed annually by an international review committee. The survey data will be available to all astronomers from participating CFH communities.

   The CFH agencies will be asked to approve that this time be allocated from their shares of CFHT time. Non participating agencies will not have access to survey data. It is also possible that the minimum survey program time could be accomplished by using more time for fewer years. It is desired that this program should be completed on the CFHT without interruption or further major alterations to the telescope. It is currently hoped that Megacam will begin full scale science operations in 2001 semester II.

   Processed data will be deposited in a database accessible to the participating agencies as they are completed. Individual survey participants will be involved in processing as needed. Access to data outside the participating agencies will await the usual 1 year delay before release, and only raw and calibration data will be publicly archived.

   The CFHT, with advice from SAC, has agreed to sponsor a working group to to begin planning of an initial suite of programs that account for a nominal 2/3 of the proposed Megacam survey program time. The group should define the filters and observing strategies for a core suite of survey programs. These will take into account survey programs planned or under way elsewhere, and also consider image quality, data processing, and sky areas. The discussions should consider observing date windows, the advantages of queue or shared night scheduling, and the optimum way to complete programs over 5 years or less. Techniques for observing and making use of transient targets such as KB objects or SN should also be planned.

   The working group will be appointed by CFHT, with advice from SAC, CEA and Terapix, to represent a balance of interests, expertise, and community. The members of the group should expect to participate in the surveys as they occur, after peer review.

     In order to set up the group, and also to initiate survey planning, this notice calls for survey suggestions, as well as for volunteers to serve on the group.

     The CFHT SAC invites brief proposals of ideas for surveys from all CFH communities. These may be from individuals or groups. Responders should submit, to the CFHT director, by August 31 1999:
a) a description in 2 pages or less of the survey idea and database required and, optionally,
b) statement of interest in serving on the working group, plus brief resume.

   The group should begin work during summer/fall 1999. Meetings and activities will be funded by CFHT.

    The call for idea and volunteers produced the following list of submissions.


                        Field           Comment


Olivier Bienayme        Gal Struc       Proper Motion
Annie Robin             Gal Struc       Dark Matter (on paper only)
Philippe Rousselot      Sol Sys         TNOs
Albert Bosma            X-Gal           LoSurBrightness Galaxies
Catherine Dougados      Star Form       Taurus and Orion MC
Alain Blanchard         LSS             Galaxy Clusters
Gilles Bergond          Gal Struc       Star Clusters
Francois Menard         Star Form       Jets and outflows
J-G Cuby                                Near IR (>9000 A)
Misha Haywood           Gal Struc       (i) BD LF  (ii) Halo survey
Bruno Milliard          LSS             GALEX follow-up
J.G. Bartlett           LSS             Weak Lensing
O. Lefevre              LSS             (i) Deep, (ii) wide surveys
Patrick Guillot         LSS             XMM complement
Reynald Pain            Cosmology       SNe
Denis Burgarella        Ex-Gal          Glob Clusters
Yannick Mellier         LSS             Weak Lensing
M. Pierre (L. Vigroux)  LSS             XMM/VIRMOS
A. Mazure (with M.West)                 Coma Cluster survey


Harvey Richer           Gal Struc       Dark Matter in Halo (one liner)
Simon Lilly             LSS             Broad Program
Chris Pritchet          Cosmology       Hi-z SNe
Sidney Van den Bergh    Gal Struc       Young Glob Clusters (?)
Anthony Moffat          X-Gal           WRs in Nearby Gals
Marshall McCall         X-Gal           Test of Weak Field Gravity
Mike deRobertis (a)     X-gal           Primeval Galaxies
Mike deRobertis (b)     Gal Struc       Halo Dwarfs
JJ Kavelaars            SolSys          Ecliptic Survey
Mike Hudson             LSS             Weak lensing



Michael West (a)        X-Gal           Glob Clusters in Virgo
Michael West (+A.Mazure)                Coma Cluster Survey
Nicholas Kaiser         LSS             Weak Lensing in field
Richard Wainscoat       X-Gal           Virgo Cluster: Dwarfs +



Greg Fahlman            Gal Struc       Halo structure
Pierre Martin           X-Gal           Virgo (H-alpha)
Christian Veillet (a)   Sol Sys         Inner Earth Asteroids
Christain Veillet (b)   Sol Sys         MegaWisp
Thierry Forveille       Gal Struc       Brown Dwarfs


    SAC consulted with CFHT in inviting the following to serve on the working group.

        Annie Robin:            Galac Astr.     Obs de Besancon
        Olivier Le Fevre:       LSS             LAS (Marseille)
        Alain Blanchard         LSS             Obs Midi-Pyrenees

        Harvey Richer           Galac Astr      UBC
        Simon Lilly             LSS             U of Toronto
        JJ Kavelaars            Sol Sys         McMaster

        Richard Wainscoat       Extra-Gal       U.H. Manoa

        Laurent Vigroux         LSS             -

        Christian Veillet       Sol Sys         -

  All have accepted, and were issued with the following initial activities.

By the time of the SAC meeting, the group had not yet met, and it was decided that there should be an initial meeting organised by CFHT as early as possible - by the end of 1999. The members will be given science categories to concentrate on, and will be contacting proposers of ideas for further discussion. Those interested are invited to make
contact with the working group by contacting C. Veillet. The group will establish a public web site to report their activities.

Mandate of the MegaCam surveys working group

    This working group will report to SAC, CFHT, and CEA, and will be funded for meetings by CFHT. The group will report to SAC as often as needed and at least at every SAC meeting. The group members are expected to serve until the first year of survey observing has been selected, unless there are reasons for early resignation.

    The group is expected to review all survey ideas that have been submitted from the CFH communities, and prepare a set of surveys that account for some 2/3 of the nominal 6 weeks per year of observing over 5 years - i.e. some 140 nights.

    The survey planning should lead to specific full survey proposals that will be reviewed by an independent survey TAC before the start of observations. While it expected that the surveys planned by the working group will form the main part of the survey time observations, they will be judged competitively with any other proposals that are submitted for annual review meetings.

    In planning the surveys, the working group should suggest ways to achieve different science goals within one survey. It is important to place these in context with other major surveys under way or planned. The group should consider optimum ways to perform surveys in terms of field size, regions of sky, time of year, image quality, lunar phase, timing, exposure length, and filters.
   The working group is expected to advise on the overall calendar duration and amount of observing time that will produce important scientific results, including deviations from the nominal 6 weeks for 5 years (e.g. more time for fewer years, uneven distribution over different years, etc.). The group will also recommend filters, which require a long lead time for fabrication.

   The working group will advise on data handling, early release, and final data products. It is expected that members of the working group will be closely involved in executing the surveys and in some of the scientific analysis. SAC, CFHT, and CEA have recommended that the final data  products will be available to all members of the participating CFH communities, and should address the mechanisms of data access and quality control.

   The working group should also look for ways to leave sufficient dark galactic pole observing time for proposals submitted for non survey time. This should include use of bright time (red or NB filters), and use of observing time other than the galactic pole seasons. The group should also address the pros and cons of conducting any or all the surveys in queue scheduled mode.

October meeting discussions

      The following are comments and requests that SAC made during the course of the meeting.

1. SAC is pleased and impressed with the excellent performance of the CFHT12K camera, and wishes to congratulate the CFHT staff on this major and successful accomplishment.

2. It is hoped that the dome painting will be carried out in a way that minimizes impact on observing and image quality. If significant impact is anticipated, SAC wishes to be advised.

3. SAC thanks CFHT and Walter Grundmann for the report on mechanisms for rapid change between coude and cass foci. As anticipated from the preliminary
report discussed im May, the cost is a major issue. Since no significant savings were identified, SAC considers that this option is not feasible within the current CFHT operational plans.

4. SAC requests a report from CADC on the use of the CFHT archive, for its next meeting (anticipated Oct 2000).

5. SAC requests a status and progress report from Terapix for the next to be delivered to SAC electronically or otherwise, by April 2000. In particular, SAC is interested in the use being made of CFHT12K data for testing the Terapix pipeline processing.

 SAC recommendations.

1. Waimea observing station

Recommendation #1
SAC is pleased to see the progress in implementing remote observing from Waimea.
In order to ensure the success of this mode of observation on CFHT, SAC recommends that possibilities for appropriate local accommodations for observers should  be explored, noting that this has been a major factor in the success of Waimea observing at the Keck Observatory.


   The lack of bright time proposal pressure is of concern to the CFHT TACs. It is regarded as urgent that the CFHTIR camera be brought on-line as soon as possible. The schedule presented shows that the camera should be available during semester 2000B. SAC is concerned that this schedule be kept. This seems reasonable but there is little room for any further slips in schedule.

Recommendation #2
The SAC puts the highest priority on the rapid implementation of the CFHT-IR instrument, particularly in its f/8 imaging mode.  If the CFHT-IR schedule slips, then resources should be allocated to the CFHT-IR project to ensure that the instrument can be offered in at least the f/8 imaging mode for Semester 2000B.

3. Visitor Instruments

    In order to make the best use of visitor instruments, and to help with the minimum 8 night runs for instruments, SAC makes the following recommendation.

Recommendation #3
In order to increase awareness within the communities of opportunities for proposing to use Visitor Instruments, the SAC suggests that CFHT set up web links to the "owners" of potential Visitor Instruments. This will enable interested astronomers within the three communities to easily find out about the capabilities of such instruments and to approach the owners of the instruments to discuss collaborations preparatory to submitting observing proposals. These web sites should be set up at least a month before the proposal deadline. This is seen as advantageous to both the wider communities and to the owners of the instruments.

4.  High resolution spectrographs

   SAC notes that no upgrades are proposed for Gecko, so that it wishes to see the development of Espadons move forward. It is not necessary at this time to choose between the two instruments for operation.

Recommendation #4 - Espadons and Gecko
SAC recognizes that CFHT can not provide manpower resources for the development of the Espadons instrument. However, SAC recommends that CFHT provide a significant portion of the previously identified funds for Espadons as soon as possible so that further development of the instrument is not delayed.
SAC also recommends that Espadons be offered to the community as a Guest  Instrument  - i.e. that it is available for use by the entire CFHT community - but that some level of operations support and maintenance will be requested from the Espadons team.
After the first year of Espadons operations, the future status of both Gecko and Espadons should be reviewed by SAC with input from the user community.

5.  Proposal page limits

   In order to bring CFHT into line with other facilities, and following  suggestions from CTAC and CFGT, the following proposal page limits are proposed.

Recommendation #5
SAC recommends a shortening of the CFHT proposal form to the following format: Up to one page of Scientific Justification with an additional page allowed for Figures and References, plus up to one page of Technical Justification. Large proposals (requesting 5 nights or more per semester) would be allowed an  additional two pages for "Experimental Design".  The concept of "umbrella" proposals for large multi-user survey proposals would be retained. These changes would bring CFHT proposals more into line with those of other major facilities.

6. Queue scheduling and service observing

   SAC heard and discussed extended presentations on the planning for queue scheduling, service observing, and the New Observing Environment. While proper planning is prudent, SAC remains anxious to see these changes implemented, especially in view of the excellent CFHT12K performance.

Recommendation #6
SAC is pleased to see the queue scheduling project plan being set up by CFHT for CFH12k observations. SAC recognizes the efforts and resources required to design, implement and operate it by Semester 2001A.  In view of the importance and benefits of the QS/SO, the SAC:
(1) requests that the final plan (including the NEO and calibration plan) be     submitted to the SAC (via the Chair) by April 1, 2000, for review, feedback, and approval.
(2) recommends that this plan be compatible with MegaCam observations.
(3) recommends that as of the 2001A proposal deadline, "Snapshot Proposals" be accepted by the TACs to promote the efficient population of the Queue. Such  proposals contain a number of potential observations some fraction of which need to be executed.
(4) support CFHT in its request for extra resources for both the development and operation of the QS/SO.  This could consist of external assistance for the database and software development and term-positions for the operations/observations.

7. CFHT Archive

   SAC discussed the points made in the CADC memo, given in the appendix. It is clear that all points require detailed negotiation between CADC and CFHT, and SAC  urges that this occur as soon as possible, to maximize the archival potential of the CFHT12K archive.

Recommendation #7
SAC urges CFHT and CADC to consult on the requirements for the archiving of CFH12k data, including the information in the header. SAC notes that the existing MOU may need updating.  It is urgent to put these measures into effect and for agreement to be reached on the responsibilities for archiving. Data from future cloud and seeing monitors and from satellite weather imagery should be incorporated into the CADC archive.

8. WIRCAM possibilities.

    SAC discussed the status of negotiations with potential partners who may enable funding of WIRCAM, or access to a WIRCAM. In view of the need of a bright time instrument in the Megaprime era, it is less desirable to have access to a WIRCAM on another telescope as to have one on CFHT. SAC urges that all possibilities be pursued vigorously, as the matter is now urgent.
     SAC was given a report of the IR working group on the UH and UKIRT WIRCAM designs, as well as a summary of other WIRCAM instruments under way. CFHT has been informed that the Universite de Montreal will submit a CFHT WIRCAM design, and SAC requests to see this when it is received.

Recommendation #8
The SAC was disappointed to find that there has been little progress in developing a wide field infrared imaging capability for CFHT. We believe that an instrument similar to the current WIRCAM concept has very high scientific merit and is essential for the effective utilization of bright observing time.  The WIRCAM will prove to be a very powerful complement to the MegaPrime and SAC urges CFHT and the Agencies to increase their efforts to find funding for WIRCAM.

9. CFHT future planning

    SAC was informed of the recent initiative under way in Canada to propose a lightweight 15m telescope with multiple guide beacon adaptive optics. This is described in the appendix, and further developments are occurring on short time scales. This initiative should be brought to the attention of the French community as it may be a candidate replacement for the CFHT during the next decade.

Recommendation #9 - Future of CFHT
The SAC reaffirms the importance of developing plans for the long-term future of the CFH telescope and its site.  We note that exploration of the feasibility of a 15-m class telescope has begun in Canada and that a facility such as this might also serve the needs of the French and Hawaiian astronomical communities.  We encourage further development of this concept, as well as other options, and discussion of these ideas amongst the CFH scientific communities.

10. CFHT anniversary celebration

   SAC was informed of the BOD suggestion of a celebration of the first ~20 years of CFHT. Suggestions from CFHT are outlined below.

                                CFHT 20

Purpose: 1. celebrate the past accomplishments
         2. honor those who made CFHT what is today
         3. look at the present and near future capabilities
         4. look to the more distant future: post 2007

The basic concept is to combine four functions:
        - SAC meeting (usually late October)
        - a local community open house
        - Celebration meeting
        - Board Meeting (normally early December)

Rough schedule: Late Fall 2000
  Main Event
        Thursday: open house for community and guests - all day
        Friday:  past and present of CFHT
                    evening: reception/dinner party with a "speech"
        Saturday: near term (Megaprime) and long-term future
                    evening: summit observing (open to staff and guests)

        Sunday: optional day-time tour (?)

  SAC Meeting: Prior Tues/Wed; possible 1/2d on Sunday
  BoD Meetings: Committees: prior Wednesday
                Main Meeting: Following Mon/Tues

   SAC discussed scientific, celebratory, and future planning aspects of this meeting, and expressed some concerns that the meeting be well planned and oriented. SAC agrees to participate in the meeting and its planning as in the following recommendation.

Recommendation #10 - 20 year meeting
SAC endorses the idea of celebrating the 20 year anniversary of the CFHT and agrees to hold its next Waimea meeting (in the Fall of 2000) simultaneously with the Board meeting.  SAC is keen to help with defining the general orientation and will assist with the scientific planning of the event.

11. Other topics discussed.

1. The status of detectors, Redeye camera, the FTS instrument. SAC has no recommendations on these items. It is assumed that Redeye and the FTS will be phased out as planned, and that they are likely to be in order for the final FTS runs scheduled. CCD spares appear to be satisfactory, and no anticipatory action is advised. SAC notes that no proposals have been received for upgrades or changes to FTS or Gecko.

2. The f/35 upper end may be useful for the new Megaprime upper end, and should be so used if needed. SAC notes that the detailed Megaprime commissioning schedule has not been presented, and notes its concern as expressed in the recommendation #7 from the last meeting.

3. The schedule change requested by CTAC to accommodate Gemini initial proposals was not feasible for CFHT or CFGT, and will not be made.

4. The new Mauna Kea master plan was reviewed and its impact on CFHT and astronomy on the mountain in general was discussed. No immediate impact on CFHT is anticipated, but any future replacements will be subject to the plan.

12 Future actions

   The membership and chair of SAC for 2000 are not yet established. M. West has been replaced by D. Bohlender beginning at this meeting. In view of this, and the lack of anticipated urgent business, no spring meeting of SAC is planned. Issues that arise and reports requested in this report will be dealt with by SAC without holding a formal
meeting. The next anticipated meeting of SAC will be at the time (not yet decided) of the CFHT celebratory meeting in December 2000.

John Hutchings, chair, for SAC


Status of future large telescope discussions in Canada

The "wf8m" group met in Victoria on Monday, Oct 18.  Developing the physical understanding of galaxy formation and large scale structure at z~1 to 5 as one science theme leads one to the conclusion that the minimal design requirements of a new "clean start" telescope should be as follows: D=15m, full AO on axis, wavelength coverage from roughly 0.4 micron to 2.3 micron, (images possibly specified at 1 micron), and low emissivity in IR.  The field of view should be about one degree. At this stage it seems likely that we could have multiple AO systems with laser guide stars that would correct small regions anywhere in this field. This would boost the multiplexing for faint object imaging and spectroscopy. The large field will also be very exciting at brighter levels for a very high *spectral* resolution, multi-object, spectrograph (useful for studies including stars, ISM, and QSO sight lines).

The telescope could be constructed in about five years from time of funding of a detailed design. The short time scale and cost reductions come from the rapid and ongoing growth of mirror and structural technology. The WF15m would then become the single largest aperture telescope with a multiplexing and AO capability for an Aperture*Field of View/resolution element "figure of merit" far exceeding any other telescope. It would be available at the beginning of the NGST mission if funded in the 2002-2003 window.

The next step is to develop the detailed science case. Agra Coast has agreed to put this forward in the next few weeks for consideration for design studies of the structures, mirrors, enclosure and other key technologies. Engineering students will have an opportunity to participate in these studies.

Siting will become an issue as the plan develops. Although this could use the existing CFHT site, it would also be appropriate for sites in Hawaii or Chile.

This, and surrounding strategy issues relating to other international initiatives, will be discussed further in Toronto on Nov 9, Tues.

CADC Proposal for SAC Resolution on CFH12K

 The combination of Mauna Kea, CFHT, and CFH12K represents the world's most powerful wide field, high resolution imaging capability. Archiving of these data are impossible in the present circumstances because of loss of information described below. Therefore, a large fraction of the potential scientific output of this instrument is being irretrievably lost. This is a shameful situation.

 As a first step toward developing procedures and capabilities that stop the loss of value of these data, the Canadian Astronomy Data Center (CADC) requests that the SAC adopt the following resolution and direct those responsible to take action immediately.

 The scientific value of CFH12K data must be preserved.  This requires action in the following areas to ensure that these data can be effectively archived and pipeline processed:
1. Data must be stored on secure media, such as DVD (tape is not secure)
2. Adequate calibration sequences must be developed and made mandatory for both queue and classical modes
3. Reliable and complete header information must be included with the data to enable automatic pipeline reduction and catalogue generation
4. Weather conditions must be monitored and linked to each observation
5. Electronic logs must be made of all events in the observation/telescope environment

 The CADC is willing and anxious to contribute to the development of procedures needed to implement these requirements.