Timothy (Tim) Robishaw

Roles and responsibilities

  • Observational radio astronomer with an interest in spectropolarimetric measurements using single-dish and interferometric arrays of telescopes.
  • Science Leader for infrastructure upgrade of the John A. Galt 26m Telescope at DRAO.
  • Science Leader for development of a radio frequency interference monitor for the DRAO site.
  • Science Leader for developing project to use electromagnetic modeling software to characterize the full-polarization instrumental response of a radio telescope system to incoming interstellar radio signals; to be used for assessing the response of single-dish telescopes and interferometers like the Jansky Very Large Array (JVLA), Atacama Large Millimetre Array (ALMA), the Square Kilometer Array (SKA), and the Next Generation VLA (ngVLA).
  • Principal Investigator and Project Scientist: NRC New Beginnings Project A Common Coordinated System for Radio Frequency Interference

Current research and/or projects

Actively employing spectropolarimetric techniques to use interstellar radio signals to study the role of magnetic fields in the structure and physics of the interstellar medium, both in our own Milky Way Galaxy and in other galaxies far, far away.

Research and/or project statements


  • Employing the spectropolarimetric tools of Zeeman splitting and Faraday rotation to detect magnetic fields via radio emission from a diverse set of astrophysical environments. These include such objects as molecular and atomic gas clouds in the Milky Way, galaxies undergoing intense high-mass star formation, and distant galaxies whose interstellar matter has been ionized.
  • Current specialization in single-dish radio astronomy and currently using the 26-m John A. Galt Telescope at the DRAO, the 64-m Parkes Radio Telescope, the 100-m Robert C. Byrd Green Bank Telescope, and the 305-m William E. Gordon Arecibo Telescope. Also using the multi-element Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array and the Very Long Baseline Array in order to study the magnetic fields in other galaxies at high spatial resolution.


Ph.D. (Astrophysics) University of California at Berkeley, 2008
M.A. (Astrophysics) University of California at Berkeley, 2002
B.A. (Astrophysics & Physics) University of California at Berkeley, 1998

Professional activities/interests

  • Supervized multiple co-op students in project to model polarization response of radio telescopes.
  • Meeting organizer for multiple international conferences.
  • Invited speaker at many international conferences, symposia, and department colloquia.


  • Adjunct Professor: University of British Columbia, Okanagan Campus, Department of Computer Science, Mathematics, Physics, and Statistics
  • Adjunct Professor: L'Université Laval, Département de physique
  • Canadian Astronomical Society (CASCA)
  • American Astronomical Society (AAS)
  • International Astronomical Union (IAU)

Key publications

Robishaw's Publications at the NASA Astrophysics Data System

Timothy Robishaw & Carl Heiles, "The Measurement of Polarization in Radio Astronomy," 2021, in The WSPC Handbook of Astronomical Instrumentation, Vol. 1: Radio Astronomical Instrumentation, ed. Alex Wolszczan (World Scientific), 127


Xuan Du, Thomas L. Landecker, Timothy Robishaw, et al., "Gain and Polarization Properties of a Large Radio Telescope from Calculation and Measurement: The John A. Galt Telescope," 2016, Publications of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific, 128, 115006

James McBride, Timothy Robishaw, Carl Heiles, Geoff C. Bower, & Anuj P. Sarma, "Parsec-scale Magnetic Fields in Arp 220," 2015, Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 447, 1103

James A. Green, Malcolm D. Gray, Timothy Robishaw, James L. Caswell, & Naomi M. McClure-Griffiths, "A Quantum Mechanical Approach to Establishing the Magnetic Field Orientation from a Maser Zeeman Profile," 2014, Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 440, 2988

Shane P. O'Sullivan, Shea Brown, Timothy Robishaw, et al., "Complex Faraday Depth Structure of Active Galactic Nuclei as Revealed by Broad-Band Radio Polarimetry," 2012, Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 421,

Timothy Robishaw & Carl Heiles, "On Measuring Accurate 21 cm Line Profiles with the Robert C. Byrd Green Bank Telescope," 2009, Publications of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific, 121, 272

Timothy Robishaw, Eliot Quataert, & Carl Heiles, "Extragalactic Zeeman Detections in OH Megamasers," 2008, The Astrophysical Journal, 680, 981

Leo Blitz & Timothy Robishaw, "Gas-Rich Dwarf Spheroidals," 2000, The Astrophysical Journal," 541, 675

Previous work experience

Sep 2015 - Present
Dominion Radio Astrophysical Observatory
NRC Herzberg Astronomy and Astrophysics

Radio Astronomer, Associate Research Officer

Oct 2013 - Sep 2015
Dominion Radio Astrophysical Observatory
NRC Herzberg Astronomy and Astrophysics

Radio Astronomer, Assistant Research Officer

Aug 2011 - Oct 2013
Dominion Radio Astrophysical Observatory
NRC Herzberg Astronomy and Astrophysics

Covington Postdoctoral Fellow

Nov 2010 - Aug 2011
University of Sydney

Australian Research Council Super Science Fellow

Sep 2008 - Nov 2010
University of Sydney

Postdoctoral Fellow in Radio Polarimetry

Timothy (Tim) Robishaw

Timothy (Tim) Robishaw

Senior Research Officer
Herzberg Astronomy and Astrophysics
717 White Lake Road, P.O. Box 248
Kaleden, British Columbia V0H 1K0
Preferred language: English
Telephone: 250-497-2350

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