22 October 2013

Results of CFHT's Announcement of Opportunity for New Instrumentation and Upgrades

CFHT is pleased to announce the outcome of the recent Announcement of Opportunity (AO) to develop new capabilities for our community. A number of excellent proposals were submitted in response to this AO, and CFHT thanks all proposing teams for participating in our procurement process. The CFHT Scientific Advisory Council (SAC) reviewed all proposals during their September 27-28 meeting and provided to the Board and Observatory a recommendation about how to proceed, within the overall funding constraints ($3,000,000) articulated in the AO. On October 17 the Board, Observatory executive, and SAC leadership discussed SAC’s recommendation and the Board approved proceeding with SAC’s recommendation #1. In summary, this means that CFHT is moving forward with the following instrument upgrade and development activity:

  1. CFHT will procure an extensive set of filters for use with SITELLE, to leverage the investment made in this new instrument and to help ensure its scientific success. Approximately $100,000 will be allocated to this effort.

  2. CFHT will collaboratively develop the high-resolution near-IR spectro-polarimeter SPIRou as a Guest Instrument. Support will be primarily in the form of providing key components with a total value of approximately $2,000,000.

  3. MegaCam will be upgraded to the extent possible with the remaining funds (approximately $900,000). Nominally this includes only resources for new filters and controller upgrades. CFHT leaves open the possibility of upgrading MegaCam’s CCDs with higher performance devices, pending the identification of external funding.

This combination of instrument development activity will provide exciting near and long-term research opportunities for CFHT’s community and anticipates significant amounts of time being allocated for surveys in the future. The nature and scale of these surveys will be formulated in advance of the arrival of new capabilities, will rely upon community consultation, and will incorporate a careful assessment of the long-term future of CFHT in the context of other facilities worldwide.