Our team studies the formation and evolution of galaxies at epochs when the Universe was only a fraction of its present age and we do so using very large ground- and space-based telescopes, including HST, Spitzer, CFHT, Gemini, Subaru and -- very soon, JWST GTO observations.


The research of our group is financially supported by the Canada Research Chairs program, NSERC, the Canadian Space Agency, the Canada Foundation for Innovation, the Research Nova Scotia Trust, and Saint Mary’s University, and makes use of ACEnet, Compute Canada, and CANFAR computing resources.



The Canadian NIRISS Unbiased Cluster Survey (CANUCS) project will study high-redshift  galaxies with Hubble’s successor, the James Webb Space Telescope.  We will be investing a massive 200 hours of guaranteed JWST observing time into getting JWST NIRISS spectroscopy of distant galaxies behind five intermediate-redshift massive lensing clusters (including Abell 370 - shown in the NASA HST image to the left). And at the same time, because Webb instruments can operate in parallel two at a time, we will be investing a further 200 hours into the medium-band imaging of areas in the cluster outskirts. JWST’s superb sensitivity, further boosted through gravitational lensing by the cluster potentials, will let us detect galaxies in the Epoch of Reionization at z~7 and above, and study in detail how these galaxies subsequently grew over cosmic time.  We are now building the data analysis pipelines so as to be ready when our observing campaign starts early in Webb’s Cycle 1 in 2022.
  1.                                                             more here   

  1. CLAUDS and DEUS:

The CFHT Large Area U-band Deep Survey (CLAUDS -- see here for the overview paper) is a Canada-France-China collaboration to obtain deep CFHT U-band imaging to an unprecedented combination of area and depth (~20 sq deg to U~27AB at SNR=5.  CLAUDS overlaps with the Subaru Hyper Suprime-Cam (HSC) survey Deep/UltraDeep fields and greatly enhances the Subaru grizy dataset: it allows the selection of star-forming galaxies at z~2-3, measurement of star formation rates at z<1, and dramatically improves photometric redshift performance of the combined surveys. The CLAUDS data (68 dedicated CFHT dark-time nights plus archival data) are all in hand, and merged with the HSC dataset from our Subaru partners. Together, these catalogs are ideal for a large range of scientific applications from detailed galaxy evolutions studies over 0<z<1, to assembling large samples of galaxies, quasars and protoclusters at z~2-3. We are working on many of these topics, and have published close to 20 papers on them already, but we have barely begun to scratch the surface and there is so much science to do with this incredibly rich dataset!

DEUS, a new deep U-band survey has started observations on CFHT in August 2021!  DEUS (which stands for Deep Euclid U-band Survey) is a Canada+France project to obtain CFHT u-band imaging of the northern Euclid deep field.  This will cover a contiguous 10 square degrees to a depth similar to that of CLAUDS, in a area of the sky that will soon also contain very deep Euclid imaging and spectroscopy, in addition to a wealth of ancillary data from the ground and from space. Together, these data will allow us to trace the Cosmic Web skeleton out to redshift z~3, and study how galaxy evolution depends on a galaxy’s location in this filamentary cosmic structure.  In addition to superb photometry and Euclid imaging, Euclid slitless grisms will let us study galaxies in a way that’s similar to what we will do with NIRISS on JWST but over much larger areas of the sky.

... read more here and here  

  1. GIRMOS:

GIRMOS (Gemini InfraRed Multi-Object Spectrograph) is a next-generation instrument that we are building for the Gemini-North 8-metre telescope in Hawai`i. GIRMOS will have the ability to take spatially-resolved spectra of several separate targets at once with light fed to it by Gemini’s new state-of-the-art GNAO adaptive optics system now also under construction as the largest component of Gemini’s GEMMA program. One of the key science goals of GIRMOS is to study in great detail high-z galaxies behind gravitationally lensing clusters. I am leading the team that’s developing the GIRMOS observation planning and data reduction software.

                                                                      more here and here


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Marcin Sawicki
Canada Research Chair in Astronomy