Waimea, Hawaii, November 16-17, 2001

The meeting was attended by SAC members Pierre Bastien, Jean-Luc Beuzit, David Bohlender (vice-chair), Laurent Drissen, Eric Emsellem, Marguerite Pierre, Chris Pritchet, Geneviève Soucail (chair) and Brent Tully. B. Tully was appointed by UH as a new member to replace J. Tonry, who was unable to attend. Eduardo Martin was also unable to attend. KAO representative H.I. Kim and Taiwanese representative S.Y. Wang were present as observers. G. Fahlman, C. Veillet, D. Salmon and other CFHT staff members participated in the discussions.

Agenda items:

  1. NOP status report (Martin et al.)
    Comments on Semesters 01A-01B report and other NOP elements
  2. Trends in time application (CFTCFH, CTAC, UH) and telescope scheduling (Veillet)
  3. Archive report (Bohlender)
  4. Technical activities report (Salmon)
  5. Instrumentation Project Reports:
    - Espadons [project status] (Manset)
    - near-IR spectrographs (FILAO, OSIS/IR, GRiF) (Salmon) science goals, operating costs, evaluation of the proposals (submitted / accepted). FILAO [project report] GRIF/KIR upgrade [project report] (Lai)
    - skyprobe / IQ studies (Cuillandre/Magnier)
    - OHANA / AOB upgrade (Lai)
  6. Megaprime project update (Veillet)
  7. CFHLS: Report of the MSWG (Veillet), review of external refereeing, report from TACs. Towards a final recommendation to the BoD
  8. WIRCam:
    Report of the Steering group (Beuzit)
    Schedule, design, management (Salmon)
  9. The future of CFHT (Fahlman)
    - OASIS and CFH12k disposition
    - Instrumentation plan to 2006
    - CFHT replacement studies
  10. Other issues
    SAC/TAC memberships
    other items

CFHT technical reports, memos and reports were circulated before and during the meeting. Most of the documents were made available on a secured Web site at CFHT.

1. New Observing Process (NOP) - Status Report

A detailed report of the different steps in the NOP was presented, and extensively discussed, at the SAC meeting. SAC is very enthusiastic about the level of efficiency reached by the NOP after less than 2 semesters of operation, from the data acquisition to the data distribution. Although some problems remain, SAC warmly congratulates the NOP team for its efficient work. The detailed analysis of data quality with the Elixir tools (flat-field uniformity and correction of scattered light, image quality versus charge diffusion effects on the chips, follow-up of seeing variations) was greatly appreciated. In order to better understand the benefits of the NOP, SAC recommends that a quantitative evaluation of the queue mode efficiency versus classical observations be performed by the NOP team. A comparison with other telescopes working in service mode (ESO/VLT, JCMT) should be provided.
SAC recognises that the implementation of Sky Probe provides a great improvement in the evaluation of the data quality. Therefore SAC strongly supports Sky Probe implementation with all available instruments in the very near future.
The development of a seeing monitor at the Mauna Kea summit was discussed. It was recognised that technical installation difficulties remain to be solved. However, SAC recommends that, together with other facilities on Mauna Kea, CFHT continue to search for an efficient solution to these problems.
Moreover, in order to improve the efficiency of the queue observations, SAC recommends that a “cirrus monitor” (or equivalently, an all-sky infra-red camera) be considered as a priority for future development.
SAC recognizes the difficulty in handling efficient queue observations at the boundaries of each semester. A proposal emerged from the discussions in which A-ranked programmes accepted in one semester could be queued for completion during the following semester, upon the agreement of TACs. As the ramifications of such a proposal could not be fully examined during the meeting, SAC recommends that the NOP team evaluate this proposition, for discussion at the next meeting, and for possible Board approval next year.
Finally, the question of the use of the telescope in bad seeing conditions was raised. Presently there are not enough programmes requesting bad observing conditions in the queue; most poor quality nights are allocated to discretionary time. But allocating time for “snapshot” programmes matched to these conditions implies that the observations are likely to be obtained, whatever the TAC grade of these proposals. Such low-ranked observations will be therefore be included in the total time accounting of each agency, which could be considered undesirable. Some new rules for optimal use of poor observing conditions should be defined for a better use of the telescope; SAC recommends that this issue be discussed at the next Board meeting.

2. Trends in Time Application

The pressure on the CFHT is still quite high (oversubscription ratio around 2.7) , even in the new era of 8m telescopes. The most requested instruments by far is the CFH12K camera, followed by PUEO. Other instruments scheduled for the next semester are OASIS (last run), MOS, Gecko and CFHTIR.

3. Archives report

SAC recognizes the efforts of CFHT, CADC, and Terapix in commencing the implementation of the CFHLS archive, and reduction and analysis pipelines. SAC also recognizes the urgency of this work, given the fact that MegaCam is scheduled to be available for users in less than one year. Because of this, SAC requests that the design and implementation of this infrastructure receive very high priority from all three groups.
SAC also recognizes that the success of the CFHLS program, as well as other archival science carried out with MegaPrime data, will depend critically on the bandwidth of the internet connection between CFHT and the CADC and Terapix, as well as between the CADC and CFHLS participants and MegaPrime archive users around the world. The CADC is already taking steps to increase their internet link to a speed of 1 Gigabit/second by the end of 2003. SAC urges CFHT and Terapix to research possible options, in coordination with the CADC, to address this vital connectivity concern.
In the interest of assisting the CADC's efforts to make detrended CFH12K data available to CFHT archive users, SAC recommends that CFHT provide the CADC on-line access to the CFH12K "manifests" provided to CFH12K program PI's upon the completion of their programs. However, since the software which produces these manifests is still under development, the CADC must recognize that CFHT is under no obligation to provide a consistent structure or content for these manifests at the present time. Any proprietary data contained in these datasets must also respect the current CFHT proprietary period.

4. Technical activities report

A detailed report of CFHT's on-going activities was presented by D. Salmon, and SAC reviewed some specific points which are listed below:

  1. declination axis oscillations: SAC encourages the CFHT staff to continue their investigation on oscillations of the declination axis of the telescope. This issue is seriously considered by SAC to be extremely serious, as it appears as a limitation in the image quality of some data.
  2. clean room: SAC congratulates the CFHT staff for the installation of a clean room at the 3rd floor of the CFHT building. SAC recognises the importance of this room for work on large detectors such a Megacam and Wircam.
  3. GRiF/KIR: The KIR upgrade, the implementation of the GRiF focal plane wheel, and the installation of the grism in the filter wheel were successfully lead by the CFHT staff; SAC congratulates them for this work, which makes GriF a fully operational mode for PUEO.
  4. FILAO: SAC recognises the work done so far in implementing FILAO, the fibre optic feed to the OSIS-IR spectrograph. SAC is concerned, however, that a significant amount of additional time - engineering, optical, and software - is still needed to reach a fully-functioning system. Given this, and given the fact that the projected usage of this instrument is unlikely to ever reach the 8 night per semester threshold needed for an instrument to be scheduled, SAC recommends that work on this instrument be discontinued.

5. Instrumentation Project Reports


SAC is pleased to hear that ESPaDOnS is proceeding essentially on schedule, and congratulates CFHT and OMP staff on the excellent working relationship that appears to have developed between the Observatory and OMP staff.
In addition to the commissioning time required for ESPaDOnS and assigned by CFHT, SAC recommends that 5 nights of "demonstration science" time be allocated to the ESPaDOnS team (2 nights taken from French time, 2 nights from Canadian time and 1 night from discretionary time). To enable a scientific evaluation of the proposed observations, SAC requests that the ESPaDOnS team submit proposals to the CFHT TAC (via the SAC chair) three weeks before the 2002 November/December SAC meeting. (This assumes that ESPaDOnS will be commissioned at some time between January and June 2003.) Raw data from these nights should be immediately made publicly available; a summary of the instrument performance, based on these data and other commissioning data, should be made available on the CFHT web site 4 weeks prior to the CFHT proposal deadline that follows after the demonstration science data have been obtained.
On a related topic, SAC members continue to be concerned about the low demand for poor seeing conditions for queue scheduled observations. Because of this, SAC requests that CFHT begin an investigation of the practicality (in terms of hardware and cost) of installing fiber feeds to ESPaDOnS from both the MegaPrime and the future WIRCAM prime focus upper ends. Such fiber assemblies would need to be available for rapid deployment during the night when seeing conditions degrade below those required by programs in the MegaCam and WIRCAM observing queues.


SAC reaffirms its strong support to the work led by O. Lai on OHANA, resulting in a first draft document that includes performance and science cases. SAC sees this draft as a very positive first step towards the detailed definition of an exciting project, which would place CFHT on the leading edge for the development of optical interferometry on Mauna Kea. SAC encourages O. Lai and collaborators to pursue their efforts, and to produce a final version of the 'science case' document, to be presented during the next SAC meeting. SAC also recommends more aggressive advertising of the project to the C, F and H communities: this should ensure some additional input on the present document, and allow a better evaluation of the potential use of such a unique instrument.


SAC thanks O. Lai and F. Menard for the work achieved on the study of the upgrade of PUEO. Again, SAC strongly encourages the ongoing effort to finalise the present document, which should be sent as soon as possible to the TACs for evaluation. SAC recommends that the authors include a detailed examination of the PUEO-NUI project in the light of planned adaptive optics developments, and to answer the few items mentioned in the last SAC report which are still missing. SAC also recommends that the project be more advertised to the different communities, which, again, will help the more detailed evaluation of the project at the next SAC meeting. A stronger decision on the continuation of PUEO-NUI should be taken at that time.

6. MegaPrime project up-date

The SAC congratulates CFHT on the encouraging progress made on the MegaPrime project since the last SAC meeting. MegaPrime, of course, should remain the highest priority CFHT project and SAC urges all concerned parties to attempt to meet the current schedule of first light at the end of 2002 May, and first science runs in 2002 November. In anticipation of MegaPrime's availability in semester 2002B, CFHT should make a clear statement of the instrument's status to prospective users no later than 1 March 2002 (3 weeks in advance of the 2002B proposal deadline).
While discussing the status of Mauna Kea cloud and seeing monitors and the importance of accurate information on current seeing and photometric conditions for efficient QSO operations, SAC raised a question about the possibility of using the MegaPrime guide unit as a seeing monitor. SAC requests that CFHT investigate the suitability or limitation of the MegaPrime guide system as such a real-time seeing monitor.

7. The Canada-France-Hawaii Legacy Survey (CFHLS)

Important aspects of this matter are still under discussion with the Board and agencies, but please see the separate announcement from the Board on CFHTLS

8. Wircam

The status of the WIRCAM project was presented to SAC. SAC acknowledges the new design of the camera, now to be mounted at the primary focus, as originally suggested at the last SAC meeting. SAC is supportive of this new and simplified design, which should alleviate some of the weight and space constraints.
SAC strongly encourages the WIRCAM team to enforce the aggressive schedule presented during the kick-off meeting, which foresees first light at CFHT in March 2004. This would meet the previous recommendation of SAC, reiterated here, for the camera to be on the sky not later than 2004A.
SAC also encourages the WIRCAM Steering Group to start examining possible avenues for survey programs, in the MegaPrime and CFHLS context. Science cases for such surveys should be developed as soon as possible.
After review of the proposed assignment of the main work packages which comprise the WIRCAM project, SAC recommends that the Board allocates as follows those contracts which are to be let in the near term to scientific institutions:
Scope Contracting Institution

Scope Contracting Institution
Camera optics and mounts University of Montreal
Cryovessel and Cryocooling system Observatoire de Grenoble
Filter wheels (if separate) Observatoire de Toulouse
Detector controller University of Hawaii

9. Other items

New changes in the SAC membership were mentioned: J. Tonry (UH) and D. Bohlender (C) retire. B. Tully (UH) will start his mandate at the beginning of 2002. A new Canadian member will be announced later.
For the TAC membership, the changes will be the following: UH member will be E. Martin, M. Pierre (F) will be replaced by E. Emsellem. A new Canadian member will be nominated in replacement of D. Bohlender.
The next SAC meeting will be scheduled for the spring of 2002 in Canada, the exact dates being fixed later.