Report of the 79th meeting

of the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope

Scientific Advisory Council

Toulouse, France, 12-13 May 2011


NOTE: The report presented below is the public version of the SAC report as amended by the CFHT Board of Directors.

After deliberation, the CFHT Board of Directors has endorsed SAC’s recommendations No. 2, Future Large Programs; No. 3 'Imaka project; No. 5 Operational priorities.

The remaining recommendations will be further discussed at the Board's next regular meeting, December 2011.

Recommendation 1 CFHTLS Data
Recommendation 2 Future Large Programs
Recommendation 3 'Imaka
Recommendation 4 Dome Venting
Recommendation 5 Operational Priorities


Report of the 79th meeting of the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope's Science Advisory Council Toulouse, France, May 12-13/2011

The 79th CFHT Science Advisory Council meeting was held at l'Observatoire Midi-Pyrénées in Toulouse France May 12-13/2011. SAC members John Blakeslee, Mark Chun, Thierry Contini, Pierre-Alain Duc, Thierry Forveille (vice-chair), Brett Gladman (chair), Coralie Neiner, David Sanders, Gregg Wade and Jon Willis attended the meeting. Hiro Tanaka, from the Academia Sinica Institute of Astronomy and Astrophysics in Taiwan, attended the meeting as an invitee. The CFHT executive director Christian Veillet, and CFHT staff Derrick Salmon, Daniel Devost, and Jean-Charles Cuillandre participated in presentations and discussions.

1. CFHT legacy survey.

SAC heard the steering group report on continued work on the CFHT-LS data. The T0007 release has not come out in the fall of 2010 as intended, with the T0006 release being made public in early 2011. SAC desires the next release to occur as quickly as possible and to be the final release.

Recommendation 1

Only the stacks and catalogues from the Deep and Wide survey components should form part of the Final CFHT-LS release, which should be made public as soon as possible. Additional data products after this final release should be considered 'value-added' products. The Legacy survey steering group should perform a validation of the Final Release products before the release.

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2. Large program progress reports

SAC reviewed the status reports from the six large programs, and was satisfied with their progress. The PAndAS LP is now considered finished, and all other remaining large programs are scheduled to end in either 2012A or 2012B; SAC clarifies that requests for time after this will not be considered except via the new competitive round. The poor weather so far in 2011A has reduced data collection for several large programs, and shows that LPs which request the majority of any available resource (instrument, RA, or which have strong time constraints) are simply inherently fragile.

SAC will review progress reports again in November 2011. The currently-active LPs must provide CFHT with their requested RA and observing conditions (for inclusion in the 2012A call for proposals) by August 1st/2011. The LPs must deliver their next status report to the TACs and CFHT by Oct 15/2011. A longer (Mid-Term) review for the CFHQSIR and TETrEs LPs should be submitted by Oct 15 for review at the November 2011 SAC meeting.

3. Future Large Programs

The current LP agency was created for the 2009A to 2012B semesters from time allocated by the C and F agencies. SAC believes that future Large Programs continue to provide significant scientific potential and recommends that the agencies consider allocating time to the creation of a second LP agency starting 2013A. The call for proposals would be issued fall 2011 for proposals due early 2012, with review by a Large-Program review committee and subsequent approval by SAC at the May 2012 meeting. The next call will include a clarification of the ability of national TACs to optionally set priorities between later PI programs and LPs, although the balancing of the LP agency versus other agencies would continue to be the default way in which CFHT QSO proritizes the telescope.

Recommendation 2

The CFHT Agencies contribute time to create a new LP agency, that will exist from 2013A to 2016B inclusive. A call for proposals should be issued fall 2011 for proposals due early 2012.

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4. Spirou

SAC heard a report about the progress of Spirou towards a Phase B study. SAC re-states (see Recommendation 3 of the November 2010 SAC report) that the phase B deliverables include a revised Spirou Science Case for SAC review, based on the updated technical-capability estimates and arrival timeline relative to competing projects.

5. `Imaka

SAC reviewed the application for a Phase A study for the 'Imaka project, and expresses its appreciation of the quality of the document. SAC had the following comments:

- The unique combination of median delivered IQ of 0.3" with a field of view greater than 0.5 sq degrees is the essential attraction of the project, but also presents the greatest risk. SAC would be uncomfortable if either of these specifications were relaxed.

- The science cases developed in the proposal were well received. There is of course a broad range of other science applications that will serve the well-developed C+F+H wide-field imaging community, and additional science applications could be presented at the end of Phase A.

- The next science case should include an improved consideration of the science case partitioned out into the estimated delivered IQ distribution

- Project organization and management was well-developed.

- SAC was pleased to see more involvement in the project from France.

Recommendation 3

SAC recommends that the 'Imaka project proceed to a phase A study.

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6. Technical Activities report.

SAC reviewed the technical activities report delivered by Derrick Salmon. The last 6 months have been relatively smooth from this point of view.

SAC extends its great congratulations to the CFHT staff for having completed both the Observatory Automation Project and the installation of the new dome drives with essentially no telescope downtime. This is a huge step for the observatory, with the next major project being the dome venting.

SAC heard its first report on the Image Quality Improvement Project (IQIP), which is a unified effort to improve the delivered IQ via dome venting and addressing heat-sources in the dome. The dome-flow study results were very interesting and have been worthwhile to help specify the number of vents and their sizes.

Recommendation 4

SAC recommends that progress towards a vented dome advance as quickly as possible. A summer 2013 completion is currently envisioned, which would connect reasonably well to the start of a new LP round (which will begin 2013A).

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A progress report on the status of the Sitelle project was presented. All seems to be proceeding well for the installation of this guest instrument.

A bandpass for a possible new U-band filter for Megacam was presented. SAC feels that the science which this could enable is strong for the relatively minor cost, and urged CFHT to proceed to purchase this filter. (Such a filter replacement does not require opening the camera, and thus has no science implications for currently-running programs, who could continue to use the older filter if they wished).

Recommendation 5:

That the Operational Priorities be revised to:

1 Normal Operations


3 SPIRou

4 Imaka

5 Sitelle

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7. QSO report

The latest Queued-Service Observing report was presented. 2010B was a very good semester with nearly 100% completion of A and B programs on most of the instrumentation. The first half of 2011A has had serious weather interruption.

A request was placed from SAC for a re-processing of historical Espadons data. While essentially all recent ESPaDOnS observations are available in the CFHT archive in raw and reduced form, only raw data is available for many observations acquired prior to 2009. This limits the legacy value of the ESPaDOnS archival record, and SAC is aware of access requests for those currently-unavailable reduced data. SAC encourages CFHT to develop a plan to make reduced data available for all ESPaDOnS observations in the CFHT archive.

8. Next Meeting:

The next CFHT SAC meeting will be held in Waimea Hawaii on Nov 20-22/2011.