Tagged: Parkes Radio Telescope Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • richardmitnick 9:00 am on July 25, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , Parkes Radio Telescope,   

    From CSIROscope: Women in STEM-“The pioneer of pulsars pops into Parkes” 

    CSIRO bloc

    From CSIROscope

    25 July 2018
    Andrew Warren,
    Lucy Thackray

    1
    Dame Jocelyn with the record of her discovery

    In 1967, as a 24-year-old PhD student at Cambridge University, Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell made one of the most significant scientific discoveries of the 20th Century when she identified and precisely analysed the first pulsar.

    Dame Jocelyn recently visited Australia, and while she was in Parkes to deliver the John Bolton lecture at the local Astrofest event, she had the chance to pop in to see our Parkes radio telescope, which you probably know as ‘The Dish’. This was the first time Dame Jocelyn had visited The Dish, which has detected more than half of the more than 2500 pulsars found since her original discovery, and when the opportunity presented itself she just ‘couldn’t resist.’ And while she was here we had the chance to catch up with her to hear her thoughts on the breakneck speed of modern science, as well as the adversity women face when pursuing a career in science.

    Puzzling pulsars

    A pulsar is a small star left behind after a normal star has died in a fiery explosion, which spins up to hundreds of times per second and sends out beams of radio waves. We now know those radio waves can be detected as a ‘pulse’ when the beam is pointed in the direction of our telescopes.

    Dame Jocelyn discovered pulsars by spotting a tiny but of ‘scruff’ in the 30 metres of chart recordings made by the telescope each day.

    “It was troubling me because it didn’t fit into any previously known category, so I was a bit puzzled by what it actually was. I started calling it ‘LGM’, which stood for Little Green Men, although I didn’t seriously believe it was little green men,” Dame Jocelyn said.

    It wasn’t until she found the second pulsar that she was able to relax a little and know that the first detection wasn’t an anomaly.

    “It wasn’t till that point I was able to stop and think aaah…this is a new branch of astronomy we’re opening up.”

    3
    Celebrating her 75th birthday at The Dish with a surprise cake

    A trailblazing pioneer

    Dame Jocelyn’s ambition when starting out was to develop a career in radio astronomy.

    “I’d already felt like a bit of a pioneering woman during my time as an undergraduate, when I was the only women in a class of fifty people doing their honours physics degree,” she said.

    And even though she’d been credited with such an important scientific discovery, she would go on to face adversity many times during her career. Perhaps the most high profile example is when the Nobel Prize in Physics was awarded to her thesis supervisor and another astronomer in 1974 for the work discovering pulsars.

    Reflecting on the incident now, Dame Jocelyn thinks “…it was far more important that there was a Nobel Prize in astrophysics, rather than what it was for, or who it went to, because it created a precedent and opened the door, because until then astrophysics hadn’t been recognised at all.”

    “There were certainly discouragements, and you sometimes had to find workarounds, but it got even harder when I married and had a child, because mothers weren’t meant to work, so I ended up working part-time for about eighteen years,” Dame Jocelyn said.

    “I knew that I needed to work… I was quite lucky that directors were prepared to give me part-time jobs, they weren’t very wonderful jobs, but they were intellectually engaging and enjoyable, and allowed me to work part-time, so that kept me sane and kept me in touch with the field.”

    “The world is getting much better at recognising women, but there’s still not parity. There’s still more room for women, and as it becomes more normal for women to do scientific things more women will come through and play a role, which will be great,” Dame Jocelyn said.

    Inspiring the next generation

    Shivani Bhandari is one of our postdoctoral astronomers who had the opportunity to hear Dame Jocelyn speak while she was in Australia.

    “It was an absolute honour to chair Dame Jocelyn’s colloquium and see her speak enthusiastically about her 50 year old discovery.” Shivani said.

    “Her struggle to pursue research in a male dominated area of study, driven by pure passion for astrophysics, is truly inspiring for female scientists, including myself.”

    4
    Our Postoctoral astronomer Shivani Bhandari with Dame Jocelyn

    Science at breakneck speed

    Dame Jocelyn also had time to reflect on the breakneck speed of modern research.

    “It’s fantastic seeing the technological change being applied to astronomy. The equipment on the Parkes telescope and others around the world is forever improving, and the pace of discovery just gets faster and faster as the equipment gets better. It leaves you a bit breathless, but it’s very exciting,” she said.

    “It’s been magnificent to see so many developments in the field since the original discovery of pulsars fifty years ago. It’s since become a major field of astronomical research, especially here at Parkes.”

    “It’s a very exciting time to be around, it’s fascinating!”

    Dame Jocelyn’s discovery

    See the full article here .


    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    SKA/ASKAP radio telescope at the Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory (MRO) in Mid West region of Western Australia

    So what can we expect these new radio projects to discover? We have no idea, but history tells us that they are almost certain to deliver some major surprises.

    Making these new discoveries may not be so simple. Gone are the days when astronomers could just notice something odd as they browse their tables and graphs.

    Nowadays, astronomers are more likely to be distilling their answers from carefully-posed queries to databases containing petabytes of data. Human brains are just not up to the job of making unexpected discoveries in these circumstances, and instead we will need to develop “learning machines” to help us discover the unexpected.

    With the right tools and careful insight, who knows what we might find.

    CSIRO campus

    CSIRO, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, is Australia’s national science agency and one of the largest and most diverse research agencies in the world.

     
  • richardmitnick 8:38 am on September 27, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , Few Australians know the unique role the country plays in the global space network, , Parkes Radio Telescope,   

    From CSIROscope: “Few Australians know the unique role the country plays in the global space network” 

    CSIRO bloc

    CSIROscope

    27 September 2017
    Dr. Larry Marshall

    1
    CSIRO leases time from NovaSAR satellite for images of SA bushfires, floods. No image credit.

    In 1969, I sat on the floor of my classroom watching, spellbound, as Neil Armstrong took his first steps on the Moon. I never dreamt that a few decades later, I’d be one of the first to see images from Pluto as part of the critical role CSIRO’s team at the Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex plays in NASA’s New Horizons and Cassini missions.

    NASA Canberra, AU, Deep Space Network

    How could a kid sitting in a classroom in Sydney, miles away from the rest of the world, believe Australia had such an important part to play in our exploration of space?

    Today few schoolchildren — in fact, probably few adults as well — know the unique role Australia plays in the global space network. Australia is positioned perfectly to look up into the centre of the galaxy — something you can’t do from many other parts of the world. That outstanding location and our world-class capability in space science underpins a phenomenal contribution to international space programs.

    CSIRO and NASA’s partnership stretches back more than 50 years, grounded in our world-class infrastructure and scientists at Canberra and Parkes, and fuelled into the future by our shared ambition to push the boundaries of exploration to benefit life back on earth.

    CSIRO/Parkes Observatory, located 20 kilometres north of the town of Parkes, New South Wales, Australia

    From November, CSIRO will control all NASA’s deep space assets worldwide for about a third of every day, using the ‘follow the sun’ protocol, as well as communicating with European and Indian spacecraft. It’s a rare day in our control centres when we don’t talk to partners on every part of the globe.

    But beyond the beauty, the mystery, and the innate lure of the vast universe that surrounds us — what’s in it for Australia to invest in space?

    For a start, if you’re reading this online, chances are you’re using WiFi, invented by CSIRO and using an algorithm we developed in radio astronomy work. But what about implications for the environment? On a daily basis, many dedicated people across CSIRO deliver crucial insights through Earth observation.

    They work closely with more than a dozen international space organisations to turn big data into insights that solve challenges ranging from disaster prevention, bushfires, floods and spills, to biosecurity threats.

    We partner with the European Space Agency (ESA) to access their international satellite data, and with NASA to monitor places from the Great Barrier Reef to the Great Australian Bight, to the Lake Eyre Basin to the Adelaide Hills.

    And today, here in Adelaide, we were thrilled to announce CSIRO has purchased a 10 per cent share of the NovaSAR Earth observation satellite, giving Australian scientists first usage rights when it flies over Australia and Southeast Asia, strengthening our ability to understand our environment and prepare for our future, and for the first time, giving Australian scientists the ability to control an imaging satellite.

    2
    UrtheCast said that SSTL’s experience with the NovaSAR synthetic aperture radar satellite (above) was a key reason it selected the company to work on its Generation 3 satellite constellation. Credit: SSTL

    But you don’t have to be a space organisation to be part of CSIRO’s space team.

    We work with Australian businesses up and down the space supply chain who benefit economically.

    For example, our partnership with EMC, a small business based in Perth, is about to deliver the world’s first solar power solution suitable for a radioastronomy site at our Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder (ASKAP) in Murchison, WA.

    SKA/ASKAP radio telescope at the Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory (MRO) in Mid West region of Western Australia

    This same site will soon be the Australian home to the world’s largest telescope.

    SKA Square Kilometer Array

    The project has been a brilliant result for EMC, which grew from a workforce of 10 to over 100 during the project. They’re now positioned to take on global radio astronomy energy tenders — and beyond.

    Building on our long, strong history of partnerships with international space organisations, we’re seeing more deeply into the Universe, in more detail into our own environment, and sharing the benefits across our economy.

    So what’s next? Australian science created the coatings on every Boeing aircraft, and as we go to Mars don’t be surprised to see Aussie innovation along for the ride.

    CSIRO collaborates with every Australian research institution, with the nation’s space advantage driven by this network of brilliant minds, working collaboratively to deliver the best outcomes for our nation.

    Our opportunity is as unlimited as space itself.

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition

    SKA/ASKAP radio telescope at the Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory (MRO) in Mid West region of Western Australia

    So what can we expect these new radio projects to discover? We have no idea, but history tells us that they are almost certain to deliver some major surprises.

    Making these new discoveries may not be so simple. Gone are the days when astronomers could just notice something odd as they browse their tables and graphs.

    Nowadays, astronomers are more likely to be distilling their answers from carefully-posed queries to databases containing petabytes of data. Human brains are just not up to the job of making unexpected discoveries in these circumstances, and instead we will need to develop “learning machines” to help us discover the unexpected.

    With the right tools and careful insight, who knows what we might find.

    CSIRO campus

    CSIRO, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, is Australia’s national science agency and one of the largest and most diverse research agencies in the world.

     
  • richardmitnick 2:50 am on February 10, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , Parkes Radio Telescope,   

    From perth now for CSIRO: “Australian astronomers zero-in on the ‘Great Attractor’ pulling on our Milky Way” 

    perth now

    perth now

    CSIRO bloc

    Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation

    February 9, 2016
    Jamie Seidel

    A STRANGE intergalactic force is drawing our Milky Way galaxy inward. We don’t know what, or why. But a hidden swarm of hundreds of nearby galaxies just discovered by Australian astronomers may help reveal the identity of the ‘Great Attractor’.

    Great Attractor galaxies

    This pack of galaxies has been spotted by International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research (ICRAR) researchers using CSIRO’s Parkes Observatory in NSW.

    CSIRO Parkes Observatory

    The study was published today in Astronomical Journal.

    Despite being ‘just next door’ in astronomical terms — a mere 250 million light years away — these galaxies have remained hidden from view because they are on the opposite side of our own.

    The intensity of stars and dust crowded together along the plane of the Milky Way is directly in the line of sight — masking everything behind it from view.

    That something must be there has been known for some time.

    Its immense gravitational pull — the equivalent of a million billion Suns — has been observed through calculations of strange deviations in the flight path of nearby galaxies.

    And our own.

    In the absence of any indication as to what it may be, astronomers have simply dubbed it the Great Attractor.

    Universe map
    Panoramic view of the entire near-infrared sky. The location of the Great Attractor is shown following the long blue arrow at bottom-right.

    Our Milky Way is just one of hundreds of thousands of local galaxies ensnared by its grasp.

    And we’re hurtling towards the mysterious source of this attraction force at more than two million kilometres per hour.

    GREAT ATTRACTOR

    “We don’t actually understand what’s causing this gravitational acceleration on the Milky Way or where it’s coming from,” says study lead author Professor Lister Staveley-Smith of the University of Western Australia.

    “We know that in this region there are a few very large collections of galaxies we call clusters or superclusters, and our whole Milky Way is moving towards them.”

    Superclusters
    Superclusters

    Essentially, all we know is that there is an immense — but probably diffuse — concentration of mass lurking some 250 million light years away.

    Is it a monster-black hole? Or a whole army of these collapsed points in space-time?

    “Some astronomers think the Great Attractor is a super-supercluster of galaxies; some astronomers think that some regions of the universe are “darker” than others,” Professor Staveley-Smith says, referring to densities of the invisible source of gravity dubbed Dark Matter.

    “Some physicists are even considering the possibility that the mass fluctuations in the universe are so significant that astronomers may be fundamentally misinterpreting the relationship between gravity and motion.”

    It all remains speculation.

    But observing and understanding the distribution and behaviour of the new galaxies may uncover vital clues.

    “The ‘Great Attractor’ lies at the intersection of several large-scale filaments of galaxies,” says Dr Barbel Koribalski of CSIRO Astronomy and Space Science. “One could picture a giant hoover with galaxies near and far slowly streaming towards it. We can’t see much of this hoover, but we can measure the motion of the galaxies.”

    What is doing the hoovering is the issue.

    SUPER SIGHT

    The Parkes radio telescope is a 64-metre dish that was activated in 1961. It was more recently modified with an innovative receiver, allowing the international team of scientists to peer past the ‘interference’ of our galactic core into unexplored space.

    “The Milky Way is very beautiful of course and it’s very interesting to study our own galaxy but it completely blocks out the view of the more distant galaxies behind it,” says Professor Staveley-Smith.

    Not so completely anymore.

    What the survey revealed was a field of 883 galaxies, a third of which had not previously been suspected says Professor Staveley-Smith.

    University of Cape Town astronomer Professor Renée Kraan-Korteweg — also part of the research team — said astronomers have been trying to map the galaxies hidden behind the Milky Way for decades.

    “We’ve used a range of techniques but only radio observations have really succeeded in allowing us to see through the thickest foreground layer of dust and stars,” she said.

    “An average galaxy contains 100 billion stars, so finding hundreds of new galaxies hidden behind the Milky Way points to a lot of mass we didn’t know about until now.”

    So what caused this odd accumulation of galaxies?

    That bit remains the problem.

    BIONIC EYE

    Dr Koribalski says innovative technologies on the Parkes radio telescope had made it possible to survey large areas of the sky quickly. And things are about to get much, much better.

    “Detecting galaxies behind the Milky Way (in the so-called Zone of Avoidance) and measuring their motions is important to pinpoint its location and total mass,” she says. “The Parkes multibeam system made this possible. With this receiver we’re able to map the sky 13 times faster than we could before and make new discoveries at a much greater rate.”

    Copies of this receiver have been purchased from CSIRO by United States and Chinese astronomers to upgrade their own radio telescopes.

    But this receiver is being temporarily removed from the Parkes telescope this week. A new Phased-Array Feed (PAF) is being attached for testing.

    Parkes Phased Array Feed

    “The PAF is a huge technological advance, a breakthrough of major proportion that will be able to do fast and sensitivities surveys of the sky, (and is) bound to make many new discoveries,” Dr Koribalski says. “How to learn more about the Great Attractor? The answer is WALLABY — the upcoming Australian SKA Pathfinder (ASKAP) HI All Sky Survey – which is expected to spot more than 500,000 galaxies.”

    SKA ASKAP telescope
    ASKAP

    This will offer much faster scanning of the skies than current equipment, combined with a twenty-fold increase in resolution.

    Dr Koribalski says she expects the new scope will detect an additional 10,000 galaxies tucked away behind our own.

    It may also, hopefully, paint a trail to the ‘Great Attractor’ itself.

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition

    CSIRO campus

    CSIRO, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, is Australia’s national science agency and one of the largest and most diverse research agencies in the world.

     
  • richardmitnick 10:16 am on July 27, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , Parkes Radio Telescope   

    From Discovry News: “Mystery Intergalactic Radio Bursts Detected” 

    dnews
    Discovery News

    Jul 4, 2013
    Irene Klotz

    Astronomers were on a celestial fishing expedition for pulsing neutron stars and other radio bursts when they found something unexpected in archived sky sweeps conducted by the Parkes radio telescope in New South Wales, Australia.

    Parks Radio Telescope

    The powerful signal, which lasted for just milliseconds, could have been a fluke, but then the team found three more equally energetic transient flashes all far removed from the galactic plane and coming from different points in the sky.

    Analysis later indicated that, unlike most cosmic radio signals that originate in the Milky Way or a nearby neighbor galaxy, these four seem to have come from beyond.

    Whatever triggered the bursts has come and gone. The signals, detected between February 2011 and January 2012, were one-time events so little follow-up work can be done.

    What is known is that in just a few milliseconds, each of the signals released about as much energy as the sun emits in 300,000 years.

    “They have come such a long way that by the time they reach the Earth, the Parkes telescope would have to operate for 1 million years to collect enough to have the equivalent energy of a flying mosquito,” astronomer Dan Thornton, with the University of Manchester in the United Kingdom, wrote in an email to Discovery News.

    Scientists have all kinds of theories about what exotic phenomena may have triggered the bursts. The contenders include colliding magnetars, which are neutron stars with super-strong magnetic fields; evaporating black holes; and gamma ray bursts that involve a supernova.

    Or, as Cornell University astronomer James Cordes points out, the bursts could be from an entirely new type of high-energy astrophysical event.

    “It is still early days for identifying the astrophysical origins of such common but (so far) rarely detected events,” Cordes wrote in an article published in this week’s Science.

    Whatever is happening is probably a relatively common, though difficult to detect, phenomenon. Extrapolating from the research, astronomers estimate there are as many as about 10,000 similar high-energy millisecond radio bursts happening across the sky every day.

    “This might seem common, and it is, but you need a big telescope to detect them,” Thornton said.

    Typically, telescopes only look at a very small patch of the sky at any one time, he added, “so you have to look for a long time before seeing many. This is why we have only detected a handful so far.”

    Similar radio signals have been found before, but astronomers could never nail down whether they came from inside or beyond the galaxy.

    Thornton and his team did so by characterizing the plasma the radio waves had to travel through before reaching the telescope. The shape of the wave is impacted by the amount of plasma along the signal’s path.

    The astronomers found that these four signals traveled through more plasma than what could be accounted for by interstellar gas in the Milky Way.

    They suspect the extra gas lies between galaxies, a finding that opens the door to a potential new technique to probe the contents of distant galaxies and why lies between them.

    The research appears in this week’s Science.


    ScienceSprings is powered by MAINGEAR computers

     
c
Compose new post
j
Next post/Next comment
k
Previous post/Previous comment
r
Reply
e
Edit
o
Show/Hide comments
t
Go to top
l
Go to login
h
Show/Hide help
shift + esc
Cancel
%d bloggers like this: