Dunlap Institute Kicks Off Instrumentation Virtual Summer School 


Credit: Dunlap Institute.

The Dunlap Institute for Astronomy and Astrophysics is pleased to announce a successful start to its astronomical instrumentation summer school.

Early Monday afternoon, the 2021 Dunlap Instrumentation Virtual Summer School kicked off with a greeting from Dunlap Institute’s Acting Director and Professor Suresh Sivanandam. “The Dunlap Summer School is the largest event offered by our Institute that fulfills our training mandate,” said Sivanandam, who welcomed 125 students on zoom from across 31 countries.

“The school offers a unique opportunity for a diverse international group of students to learn about astronomical instrumentation across all wavelengths (frequencies) of light.”

Students in Dunlap’s instrumentation school attend to gain introductory instrumentation knowledge from renowned experts in the field. The program aims to set students up with the tools to help them successfully launch future careers in astronomy – specifically working with telescopes and other instrumentation. “Learning about how light is collected and processed by telescopes and their associated instruments make students more informed users of astronomical data – even if they do not pursue a career in instrumentation,” explained Sivanandam.

Now in its ninth successful year, instructors include Dunlap postdocs and faculty, as well as leading astronomers from across Canada and the U.S. Specifically, the program introduces students to basic principles of optics, spectrographs and detectors, in addition to advanced instrument design and development. It also offers career development sessions.

Notably, this year is the first time the summer school will run virtually. “COVID forced us to cancel last year, but this summer we decided the best option was to go online,” explains this year’s lead organizer and Dunlap Associate Professor Keith Vanderlinde. “It’s been a learning curve for everyone, but it’s also meant we can greatly expand our reach, with students attending from across six continents.”

“That includes many who just wouldn’t have the option to attend in person.”

The program runs from Monday until Friday of this week.


For more information, please contact:

Meaghan MacSween
Communications and Multimedia Officer
Dunlap Institute for Astronomy & Astrophysics,
University of Toronto


The Dunlap Institute for Astronomy & Astrophysics at the University of Toronto is an endowed research institute with more than 90 faculty, postdocs, students and staff, dedicated to innovative technology, ground-breaking research, world-class training, and public engagement. The research themes of its faculty and Dunlap Fellows span the Universe and include: optical, infrared and radio instrumentation; Dark Energy; large-scale structure; the Cosmic Microwave Background; the interstellar medium; galaxy evolution; cosmic magnetism; and time-domain science. The Dunlap Institute for Astronomy and Astrophysics, David A. Department of Astronomy & Astrophysics and the Canadian Institute for Theoretical Astrophysics comprise the leading centre for astronomical research in Canada, at the leading research university in the country, the University of Toronto.