Current projects

EHT

Image of black hole

The Event Horizon Telescope is an Earth-sized network of millimeter-wavelength telescopes that together comprise the highest resolution imaging instrument in the history of astronomy, sufficient to image the event horizons of known astronomical black holes.

Photo of Mayall 4-meter telescope

The Dark Energy Spectroscopic Instrument in a new multi-object spectrograph being built for the Mayall telescope, which will be able undertake a spectroscopic survey 20 times faster than the Sloan Telescope, used for the influential Sloan Digital Sky Survey. It will be used to create a galaxy survey containing 30 million galaxies forming an unprecedented large-scale structure survey, which will be cosmic variance limited out to redshift z<1.4. Percival is one of the working group chairs for this survey and a member of the DESI executive.

Photo of the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope

The Canada-France-Imaging Survey is a Large Program on the Canada-France-Hawaii-Telescope to map 5000 square degrees of the northern sky in the r-band with exquisite image quality, and 10,000 square degrees in the u-band. This takes advantage of two unique strengths of this 4-m class telescope: good image quality and blue sensitivity.

Photo of Sloan Telescope

The extended Baryon Oscillation Spectroscopic Survey is an ongoing survey using the Sloan telescope. It is the only ongoing cosmological galaxy redshift survey and has already published a number of cosmological measurements covering the intermediate redshift range
0.9<z<2.0. 

Proposed projects

Photo of part of XRISM banner

The X-ray Imaging and Spectroscopy Mission succeeds the Hitomi X-ray Observatory that failed on orbit in 2016. Prior to the failure, Hitomi delivered a ground-breaking observation of the Perseus Cluster of Galaxies’ hot atmosphere. The observations revealed bulk and turbulent velocities and chemical composition with unprecedented detail.

TMT

Artist view of TMT

Participation in the Thirty Meter Telescope Project has been the top recommendation of Canada’s Long-range Plan for astronomy for the last 15 years. Federal funding obtained in 2014 currently affords Canada about a 15% share in this facility, one of only three planned telescopes in its class worldwide. As the name suggests, the TMT is an optical/infrared telescope with a single, segmented mirror that is 30m in diameter.

MSE

Artist view of MSE

The Maunakea Spectroscopic Explorer is a proposed spectroscopic survey telescope, to replace the CFHT on Maunakea. The telescope will have an 11m primary mirror and a 1-degree field of view, with a fibre-fed spectrograph capable of obtaining simultaneous spectra for thousands of objects at resolutions spanning 2000 to 20,000. Its operations will be dedicated to conducting several wide area surveys that provide a critical complement to the ambitious imaging surveys on the horizon.

Artist's rendering of WFIRST observatory, Credit: NASA

The Wide-Field Infrared Survey Telescope is a NASA flagship space mission – the grandchild of the Hubble Space telescope - to launch in 2025 that will study dark matter, dark energy and exoplanets with unprecedented precision. Mike Hudson has been leading the scientific effort that will enable Canada to join this mission. He is also a member of the WFIRST Cosmology Science Investigation Team.

Artist view of LSST

The Large Synoptic Survey Telescope is an ambitious, US-led experiment to map most of the observable sky at optical wavelengths, revisiting each point on the sky approximately every three nights for ten years. Each visit will consist of multiple images spaced by about 15 seconds. This will provide an unprecedented look at the transient universe, discovering myriad phenomena that vary on timescales ranging from seconds to years.

Projects by status