Maunakea iREx Graduate School: a unique opportunity for Canadian students

Panorama Mauna Kea

Observatories at the summit of Maunakea. Credit : NASA/JPL

This year, iREx associated itself with the Maunakea Graduate School. This event will take place from the 29th of May to the 8th of June 2018 and is the product of a unique partnership between the Institute for research on exoplanets, Queen’s University, the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope (CFHT) and the Gemini Observatory, with associated participation from other Maunakea summit observatories such as the W. M. Keck Observatory, the Subaru Telescope, and the James Clerk Maxwell Telescope.

Half a dozen graduate students from various Canadian universities, including two iREx students, Anne Boucher and Marie-Eve Desrochers, will be part of the program this year. During the school, they will visit several observatories on Maunakea as well as receive expert training in observational astronomy, instrumentation, and data analysis. The students will also have the chance to take the lead on observations at the CFHT and Gemini telescopes for research projects that they have themselves worked on and selected.

During their stay, the students will be accompanied by Stéphane Courteau, the school’s founder and a professor at Queen’s University, as well as Loïc Albert, an iREx researcher. They both have extensive experience working on the large telescopes; M. Albert was even a resident astronomer at the CFHT for many years. They will also be joined by a cohort of Hawaiian astronomers that will give various presentations and formations.

This school is a unique opportunity to train the future generation of Canadian astronomers and make sure they have a concrete experience of how to acquire data at the observatory.