Celebrate 40+ Years of the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope

Canada-France-Hawaii Telesocpe located atop the summit of Mauna Kea, Hawaii

Come celebrate 40+ years of operations at the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope (CFHT) at our Paul Sykes Memorial Lecture. 2019 marked the 40th anniversary of the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope. Hear stories of the science, staff, and their adventures over those 40 years along with plans for the future.

Speaker: Mary Beth Laychak, CFHT Director of Strategic Communications
Title: 40 Years of Astronomy at the Top of the World

When: Friday, February 21, 2020 from 7:30 PM to 9:30 PM
Where: Saywell Hall, Room SWH10081, SFU Burnaby Campus

The event is free and open to the public! Our meetup event has additional details, directions, and a map.

Framed CFHT posters will be available for sale as special merchandise. The posters are from Dynamic Structures, a BC company located in Port Coquitlam, who did important engineering work in constructing the CFH telescope and enclosure – find out more at the RASC 2020 General Assembly in June where David Halliday, president of Dynamic Structures, is one the speakers.

Mary Beth Laychak, Director of Strategic Communications at the CFHT.
Mary Beth Laychak is the Director of Strategic Communications at the CFHT

Mary Beth has an undergraduate degree in astronomy and astrophysics from Penn State University and a masters degree in educational technology from San Diego State. Her passions include astronomy, sharing astronomy with the public, astronomy based crafts, and running.

The Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope is a joint facility of the National Research Council of Canada, the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique of France, and the University of Hawaii. The 3.6m telescope is located on the summit ridge of Mauna Kea, a 4200 meter, dormant volcano on the Big Island of Hawaii.

Inside the CFHT Observatory Enclosure. Image credit: National Research Council of Canada

CFHT crucially supported seminal observations:

  • The discovery of Dark Energy,
  • The first detections of cosmic gravitational lenses that paved the way to mapping dark matter across the universe, and
  • Tracking the first interstellar asteroid (Oumuamua) as it sped through our solar system

The CFHT remains at the forefront of astronomy thanks to the quality of its site, its state-of-the-art instrumentation, and the dedication of its staff. CFHT’s annual publications rate now exceeds 200 papers per year and has never been higher. The same can be said for CFHT’s #2 worldwide ranking for overall “science impact” in astronomy

The Annual Paul Skyes Memorial Lectures

These lectures honour Paul Sykes. Paul actively pursued his interest in astronomy, attending conferences and joining RASC, where he became a Life Member. Paul Sykes passed away in October 2005 at the age of 87 and left the Vancouver Centre a generous gift.

Paul Sykes was born in Hummelston, Pennsylvania USA in 1918. He acquired his interest in astronomy at an early age. During his teens he published his own monthly astronomical column and gave at least one lecture.

He was an officer in the United States Air Force, served in the Pacific during WWII attaining the rank of Captain. He was awarded a Presidential Unit Citation, the U.S. Air Medal, the Oak Leaf and Cluster and the Bronze Star. Following the war he attended UBC earning a degree in Physics in 1948. He rejoined the United States Air Force and attended the Oak Ridge School of Reactor Technology, studying nuclear physics. He worked on the NERVA Project, a nuclear rocket development effort and rose to the rank of Major.

Paul was appointed a lecturer and administrator in Physics at UBC and remained there until retirement in 1983.