Tagged: SKA – Square Kilometre Array Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • richardmitnick 2:26 pm on May 9, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: SKA - Square Kilometre Array,   

    From University of Cambridge: “Design work on ‘brain’ of world’s largest radio telescope completed” 

    U Cambridge bloc

    From University of Cambridge

    09 May 2019
    Sarah Collins
    sarah.collins@admin.cam.ac.uk

    1
    Artist’s impression of the full Square Kilometre Array at night

    An international group of scientists led by the University of Cambridge has finished designing the ‘brain’ of the Square Kilometre Array (SKA), the world’s largest radio telescope. When complete, the SKA will enable astronomers to monitor the sky in unprecedented detail and survey the entire sky much faster than any system currently in existence.

    The SKA’s Science Data Processor (SDP) consortium has concluded its engineering design work, marking the end of five years’ work to design one of two supercomputers that will process the enormous amounts of data produced by the SKA’s telescopes.

    The SDP consortium, led by the University of Cambridge, has designed the elements that will together form the ‘brain’ of the SKA. SDP is the second stage of processing for the masses of digitised astronomical signals collected by the telescope’s receivers. In total, close to 40 institutions in 11 countries took part.

    The UK government, through the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC), has committed £100m to the construction of the SKA and the SKA Headquarters, as its share as a core member of the project. The global headquarters of the SKA Organisation are located in the UK at Jodrell Bank, home to the iconic Lovell Telescope

    “It’s been a real pleasure to work with such an international team of experts, from radio astronomy but also the High-Performance Computing industry,” said Maurizio Miccolis, SDP’s Project Manager for the SKA Organisation. “We’ve worked with almost every SKA country to make this happen, which goes to show how hard what we’re trying to do is.”

    The role of the consortium was to design the computing hardware platforms, software, and algorithms needed to process science data from the Central Signal Processor (CSP) into science data products.

    “SDP is where data becomes information,” said Rosie Bolton, Data Centre Scientist for the SKA Organisation. “This is where we start making sense of the data and produce detailed astronomical images of the sky.”

    To do this, SDP will need to ingest the data and move it through data reduction pipelines at staggering speeds, to then form data packages that will be copied and distributed to a global network of regional centres where it will be accessed by scientists around the world.

    SDP itself will be composed of two supercomputers, one located in Cape Town, South Africa and one in Perth, Australia.

    “We estimate SDP’s total compute power to be around 250 PFlops – that’s 25% faster than IBM’s Summit, the current fastest supercomputer in the world,” said Maurizio. “In total, up to 600 petabytes of data will be distributed around the world every year from SDP –enough to fill more than a million average laptops.”

    Additionally, because of the sheer quantity of data flowing into SDP: some 5 Tb/s, or 100,000 times faster than the projected global average broadband speed in 2022, it will need to make decisions on its own in almost real-time about what is noise and what is worthwhile data to keep.

    The team also designed SDP so that it can detect and remove manmade radio frequency interference (RFI) – for example from satellites and other sources – from the data.

    “By pushing what’s technologically feasible and developing new software and architecture for our HPC needs, we also create opportunities to develop applications in other fields,” said Maurizio.

    High-Performance Computing plays an increasingly vital role in enabling research in fields such as weather forecasting, climate research, drug development and many others where cutting-edge modelling and simulations are essential.

    Professor Paul Alexander, Consortium Lead from Cambridge’s Cavendish Laboratory said: “I’d like to thank everyone involved in the consortium for their hard work over the years. Designing this supercomputer wouldn’t have been possible without such an international collaboration behind it.”

    See the full article here .

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

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    U Cambridge Campus

    The University of Cambridge (abbreviated as Cantab in post-nominal letters) is a collegiate public research university in Cambridge, England. Founded in 1209, Cambridge is the second-oldest university in the English-speaking world and the world’s fourth-oldest surviving university. It grew out of an association of scholars who left the University of Oxford after a dispute with townsfolk. The two ancient universities share many common features and are often jointly referred to as “Oxbridge”.

    Cambridge is formed from a variety of institutions which include 31 constituent colleges and over 100 academic departments organised into six schools. The university occupies buildings throughout the town, many of which are of historical importance. The colleges are self-governing institutions founded as integral parts of the university. In the year ended 31 July 2014, the university had a total income of £1.51 billion, of which £371 million was from research grants and contracts. The central university and colleges have a combined endowment of around £4.9 billion, the largest of any university outside the United States. Cambridge is a member of many associations and forms part of the “golden triangle” of leading English universities and Cambridge University Health Partners, an academic health science centre. The university is closely linked with the development of the high-tech business cluster known as “Silicon Fen”.

     
  • richardmitnick 2:11 pm on May 9, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Joining the Square Kilometre Array", , , , , MPG-Max Planck Gesellschaft, , SKA - Square Kilometre Array   

    From Max Planck Gesellschaft: “Joining the Square Kilometre Array” 

    From Max Planck Gesellschaft

    May 08, 2019

    Max Planck Society becomes newest member of SKA Organization.

    The Max Planck Society has become the 13th member of the SKA Organisation, following an unanimous vote by the SKA Board of Directors. The decision to accept the application for membership was taken at the 29th Board meeting at SKA Organisation Global Headquarters in the UK.

    The Max Planck Society joins the final phase of the SKA Organisation, which is overseeing the telescope design phase, until the process of transitioning into the SKA Observatory, an intergovernmental organisation (IGO) established by treaty to manage the construction and operation of the SKA, is completed. Any further German engagement with a joining of the SKA Observatory remains to be decided and will be subject to future discussions.

    “I am delighted to welcome the Max Planck Society to the SKA Organisation as our 13th member, a deserved recognition of the significant contributions Germany has made to the SKA project over the years, and particularly in this crucial pre-construction phase”, said Chairperson of the SKA Board of Directors Dr. Catherine Cesarsky.

    German research institutions and industry have been an intrinsic part of SKA-related projects since its earliest days, and have significant involvement in ongoing SKA design activities. In particular, the Max Planck Society provides instrumentation in the form of detectors, data acquisition and analysis systems for South Africa’s world-class MeerKAT telescope, an SKA precursor facility which will become part of SKA-Mid.

    SKA Meerkat telescope, South African design

    “I am extremely pleased to see our German colleagues consolidating their long-lasting involvement in SKA-related activities both at a scientific and industrial level”, added Prof. Philip Diamond, SKA Director-General. “Germany’s great wealth of expertise in radio astronomy, both in science and engineering, will continue to be invaluable as we move ever closer to SKA construction and operations.”

    The Max Planck Society is a non-profit organisation with 84 institutes and research facilities. In collaboration with other German institutions and industry, it has been involved across many areas of SKA design work, including within the Mid Frequency Dish Array, Low Frequency Aperture Array, Central Signal Processor, Science Data Processor, Telescope Manager, Signal and Data Transport consortia, and research and development work within the Phased Array Feeds and Wideband Single Pixel Feeds consortia.

    Among the Max Planck Society’s institutes is the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy (MPIfR) a key player in the SKA’s Dish engineering consortium.


    Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy Bonn Germany

    Together with German industry partners, such as the telescope antenna specialists MT Mechatronics (MTM), and international partners, the Dish consortium is responsible for designing the SKA’s mid-frequency array (SKA-Mid), to be deployed in South Africa, The Dish consortium has already delivered two prototype SKA dishes: SKA-P, which is currently being tested in China, and SKA-MPI, funded by the Max Planck Society, which is under construction on the SKA site in South Africa’s Karoo region.

    “The SKA is a great opportunity for astronomers, engineers, physicists and data scientists. Besides becoming an amazing discovery machine, SKA pushes the boundaries of what is technically possible, especially in the handling and analysis of huge amounts of data. The Max Planck Society is in the middle of all these exciting science and technology developments, and we are pleased to now be able to contribute officially to the SKAO efforts”, says Prof Michael Kramer, director at the MPIfR.

    See the full article here .

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

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    The Max Planck Society is Germany’s most successful research organization. Since its establishment in 1948, no fewer than 18 Nobel laureates have emerged from the ranks of its scientists, putting it on a par with the best and most prestigious research institutions worldwide. The more than 15,000 publications each year in internationally renowned scientific journals are proof of the outstanding research work conducted at Max Planck Institutes – and many of those articles are among the most-cited publications in the relevant field.

    What is the basis of this success? The scientific attractiveness of the Max Planck Society is based on its understanding of research: Max Planck Institutes are built up solely around the world’s leading researchers. They themselves define their research subjects and are given the best working conditions, as well as free reign in selecting their staff. This is the core of the Harnack principle, which dates back to Adolph von Harnack, the first president of the Kaiser Wilhelm Society, which was established in 1911. This principle has been successfully applied for nearly one hundred years. The Max Planck Society continues the tradition of its predecessor institution with this structural principle of the person-centered research organization.

    The currently 83 Max Planck Institutes and facilities conduct basic research in the service of the general public in the natural sciences, life sciences, social sciences, and the humanities. Max Planck Institutes focus on research fields that are particularly innovative, or that are especially demanding in terms of funding or time requirements. And their research spectrum is continually evolving: new institutes are established to find answers to seminal, forward-looking scientific questions, while others are closed when, for example, their research field has been widely established at universities. This continuous renewal preserves the scope the Max Planck Society needs to react quickly to pioneering scientific developments.

     
  • richardmitnick 3:42 pm on March 14, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , SKA - Square Kilometre Array,   

    From insideHPC: “In a boon for HPC, Founding Members Sign SKA Observatory Treaty” 

    From insideHPC

    March 14, 2019

    1
    The initial signatories of the SKA Observatory Convention. From left to right: UK Ambassdor to Italy Jill Morris, China’s Vice Minister of Science and Technology Jianguo Zhang, Portugal’s Minister for Science, Technology and Higher Education Manuel Heitor, Italian Minister of Education, Universities and Research Marco Bussetti, South Africa’s Minister of Science and Technology Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane, the Netherlands Deputy Director of the Department for Science and Research Policy at the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science Oscar Delnooz, and Australia’s Ambassdor to Italy Greg French (Credit: SKA Organization)

    Earlier this week, countries involved in the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) Project came together in Rome to sign an international treaty establishing the intergovernmental organization that will oversee the delivery of the world’s largest radio telescope.

    SKA Square Kilometer Array

    Ministers, Ambassadors and other high-level representatives from over 15 countries have gathered in the Italian capital for the signature of the treaty which establishes the Square Kilometre Array Observatory (SKAO), the intergovernmental organization (IGO) tasked with delivering and operating the SKA.

    “Today we are particularly honored to sign, right here at the Ministry of Education, University and Research, the Treaty for the establishment of the SKA Observatory” Italian Minister of Education Marco Bussetti who presided over the event, said. “A signature that comes after a long phase of negotiations, in which our country has played a leading role. The Rome Convention testifies the spirit of collaboration that scientific research triggers between countries and people around the world, because science speaks all the languages of the planet and its language connects the whole world. This Treaty – he added – is the moment that marks our present and our future history, the history of science and knowledge of the Universe. The SKA project is the icon of the increasingly strategic role that scientific research has taken on in contemporary society. Research is the engine of innovation and growth: knowledge translates into individual and collective well-being, both social and economic. Participating in the forefront of such an extensive and important international project is a great opportunity for the Italian scientific community, both for the contribution that our many excellences can give and for sharing the big amount of data that SKA will collect and redistribute.”

    Seven countries signed the treaty today, including Australia, China, Italy, The Netherlands, Portugal, South Africa and the United Kingdom. India and Sweden, who also took part in the multilateral negotiations to set up the SKA Observatory IGO, are following further internal processes before signing the treaty. Together, these countries will form the founding members of the new organisation.

    Dr. Catherine Cesarsky, Chair of the SKA Board of Directors, added “Rome wasn’t built in a day. Likewise, designing, building and operating the world’s biggest telescope takes decades of efforts, expertise, innovation, perseverance, and global collaboration. Today we’ve laid the foundations that will enable us to make the SKA a reality.”

    “…SKA will be the largest science facility on the planet, with infrastructure spread across three continents on both hemispheres. Its two networks of hundreds of dishes and thousands of antennas will be distributed over hundreds of kilometres in Australia and South Africa, with the Headquarters in the United Kingdom.”

    SKA South Africa

    Together with facilities like the James Webb Space Telescope, CERN’s Large Hadron Collider, the LIGO gravitational wave detector, the new generation of extremely large optical telescopes and the ITER fusion reactor, the SKA will be one of humanity’s cornerstone physics machines in the 21st century.

    NASA/ESA/CSA Webb Telescope annotated

    LHC

    CERN map


    CERN LHC Tunnel

    CERN LHC particles

    MIT /Caltech Advanced aLigo new bloc


    ITER Tokamak in Saint-Paul-lès-Durance, which is in southern France

    Prof. Philip Diamond, Director-General of the SKA Organization which has led the design of the telescope added: “Like Galileo’s telescope in its time, the SKA will revolutionize how we understand the world around us and our place in it. Today’s historic signature shows a global commitment behind this vision, and opens up the door to generations of ground-breaking discoveries.”

    It will help address fundamental gaps in our understanding of the Universe, enabling astronomers from its participating countries to study gravitational waves and test Einstein’s theory of relativity in extreme environments, investigate the nature of the mysterious fast radio bursts, improve our understanding of the evolution of the Universe over billions of years, map hundreds of millions of galaxies and look for signs of life in the Universe.

    Two of the world’s fastest supercomputers* will be needed to process the unprecedented amounts of data emanating from the telescopes, with some 600 petabytes expected to be stored and distributed worldwide to the science community every year, or the equivalent of over half a million laptops worth of data.

    Close to 700 million euros worth of contracts for the construction of the SKA will start to be awarded from late 2020 to companies and providers in the SKA’s member countries, providing a substantial return on investment for those countries. Spinoffs are also expected to emerge from work to design and build the SKA, with start-ups already being created out of some of the design work and impact reaching far beyond astronomy.


    In this video from the Disruptive Technologies Panel at the HPC User Forum, Peter Braam from Cambridge University presents: Processing 1 EB per Day for the SKA Radio Telescope.

    Over 1,000 engineers and scientists in 20 countries have been involved in designing the SKA over the past five years, with new research programs, educational initiatives and collaborations being created in various countries to train the next generation of scientists and engineers.

    Guests from Canada, France, Malta, New Zealand, the Republic of Korea, Spain and Switzerland were also in attendance to witness the signature and reaffirmed their strong interest in the project. They all confirmed they are making their best efforts to prepare the conditions for a future decision of participation of their respective country in the SKA Observatory.

    The signature concludes three and a half years of negotiations by government representatives and international lawyers, and kicks off the legislative process in the signing countries, which will see SKAO enter into force once five countries including all three hosts have ratified the treaty through their respective legislatures.

    SKAO becomes only the second intergovernmental organization dedicated to astronomy in the world, after the European Southern Observatory (ESO) [What about ESA and ALMA?].

    *Not identified in the article. I have asked for the names and locations of the supercomputers.

    See the full article here .

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

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    Founded on December 28, 2006, insideHPC is a blog that distills news and events in the world of HPC and presents them in bite-sized nuggets of helpfulness as a resource for supercomputing professionals. As one reader said, we’re sifting through all the news so you don’t have to!

    If you would like to contact me with suggestions, comments, corrections, errors or new company announcements, please send me an email at rich@insidehpc.com. Or you can send me mail at:

    insideHPC
    2825 NW Upshur
    Suite G
    Portland, OR 97239

    Phone: (503) 877-5048

     
  • richardmitnick 1:54 pm on February 7, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , Now You Can Join the Search for Killer Asteroids, , SKA - Square Kilometre Array, ,   

    From WIRED: “Now You Can Join the Search for Killer Asteroids” 

    Wired logo

    From WIRED

    02.07.19
    Sarah Scoles

    1
    A Hawaii observatory just put the largest astronomical data trove ever online, making it free and accessible so anyone can hunt for new cosmic phenomena. R. White/STScI/PS1 Science Consortium

    If you want to watch sunrise from the national park at the top of Mount Haleakala, the volcano that makes up around 75 percent of the island of Maui, you have to make a reservation. Being at 10,023 feet, the summit provides a spectacular—and very popular, ticket-controlled—view.

    2
    Looking into the Haleakalā crater

    Just about a mile down the road from the visitors’ center sits “Science City,” where civilian and military telescopes curl around the road, their domes bubbling up toward the sky. Like the park’s visitors, they’re looking out beyond Earth’s atmosphere—toward the Sun, satellites, asteroids, or distant galaxies. And one of them, called the Panoramic Survey Telescope and Rapid Response System, or Pan-STARRS, just released the biggest digital astro-dataset ever, amounting to 1.6 petabytes, the equivalent of around 500,000 HD movies.

    Pann-STARS 1 Telescope, U Hawaii, situated at Haleakala Observatories near the summit of Haleakala in Hawaii, USA, altitude 3,052 m (10,013 ft)

    From its start in 2010, Pan-STARRS has been watching the 75 percent of the sky it can see from its perch and recording cosmic states and changes on its 1.4-billion-pixel camera. It even discovered the strange ‘Oumuamua, the interstellar object that a Harvard astronomer has suggested could be an alien spaceship.

    3
    An artist’s rendering of the first recorded visitor to the solar system, ‘Oumuamua.
    Aunt_Spray/Getty Images

    Big surveys like this one, which watch swaths of sky agnostically rather than homing in on specific stuff, represent a big chunk of modern astronomy. They are an efficient, pseudo-egalitarian way to collect data, uncover the unexpected, and allow for discovery long after the lens cap closes. With better computing power, astronomers can see the universe not just as it was and is but also as it’s changing, by comparing, say, how a given part of the sky looks on Tuesday to how it looks on Wednesday. Pan-STARRS’s latest data dump, in particular, gives everyone access to the in-process cosmos, opening up the “time domain” to all earthlings with a good internet connection.

    Pan-STARRS, like all projects, was once just an idea. It started around the turn of this century, when astronomers Nick Kaiser, John Tonry, and Gerry Luppino, from Hawaii’s Institute for Astronomy, suggested that relatively “modest” telescopes—hooked to huge cameras—were the best way to image large skyfields.

    Today, that idea has morphed into Pan-STARRS, a many-pixeled instrument attached to a 1.8-meter telescope (big optical telescopes may measure around 10 meters). It takes multiple images of each part of the sky to show how it’s changing. Over the course of four years, Pan-STARRS imaged the heavens above 12 times, using five different filters. These pictures may show supernovae flaring up and dimming back down, active galaxies whose centers glare as their black holes digest material, and strange bursts from cataclysmic events. “When you visit the same piece of sky again and again, you can recognize, ‘Oh, this galaxy has a new star in it that was not there when we were there a year or three months ago,” says Rick White, an astronomer at the Space Telescope Science Institute, which hosts Pan-STARRS’s archive. In this way, Pan-STARRS is a forerunner of the massive Large Synoptic Survey Telescope, or LSST, which will snap 800 panoramic images every evening, with a 3.2-billion-pixel camera, capturing the whole sky twice a week.

    LSST


    LSST Camera, built at SLAC



    LSST telescope, currently under construction on the El Peñón peak at Cerro Pachón Chile, a 2,682-meter-high mountain in Coquimbo Region, in northern Chile, alongside the existing Gemini South and Southern Astrophysical Research Telescopes.

    Plus, by comparing bright dots that move between images, astronomers can uncover closer-by objects, like rocks whose path might sweep uncomfortably close to Earth.

    That latter part is not just interesting to scientists, but to the military too. “It’s considered a defense function to find asteroids that might cause us to go extinct,” says White. That’s (at least part of) why the Air Force, which also operates a satellite-tracking system on Haleakala, pushed $60 million into Pan-STARRS’s development. NASA, the state of Hawaii, a consortium of scientists, and some private donations ponied up the rest.

    But when the telescope first got to work, its operations hit some snags. Its initial images were about half as sharp as they should have been, because the system that adjusted the telescope’s mirror to make up for distortions wasn’t working right.

    Also, the Air Force redacted parts of the sky. It used software called “Magic” to detect streaks of light that might be satellites (including the US government’s own). Magic masked those streaks, essentially placing a dead-pixel black bar across that section of sky, to “to prevent the determination of any orbital element of the artificial satellite before the images left the [Institute for Astronomy] servers,” according to a recent paper by the Pan-STARRS group. In December 2011, the Air Force “dropped the requirement,” says the article. The magic was gone, and the scientists reprocessed the original raw data, removing the black boxes.

    The first tranche of data, from the world’s most substantial digital sky survey, came in December 2016. It was full of stars, galaxies, space rocks, and strangeness. The telescope and its associated scientists have already found an eponymous comet, crafted a 3D model of the Milky Way’s dust, unearthed way-old active galaxies, and spotted everyone’s favorite probably-not-an-alien-spaceship, ’Oumuamua.

    The real deal, though, entered the world late last month, when astronomers publicly released and put online all the individual snapshots, including auto-generated catalogs of some 800 million objects. With that dataset, astronomers and regular people everywhere (once they’ve read a fair number of help-me files) can check out a patch of sky and see how it evolved as time marched on. The curious can do more of the “time domain” science Pan-STARRS was made for: catching explosions, watching rocks, and squinting at unexplained bursts.

    Pan-STARRS might never have gotten its observations online if NASA hadn’t seen its own future in the observatory’s massive data pileup. That 1.6-petabyte archive is now housed at the Space Telescope Science Institute, in Maryland, in a repository called the Mikulski Archive for Space Telescopes. The Institute is also the home of bytes from Hubble, Kepler, GALEX, and 15 other missions, mostly belonging to NASA. “At the beginning they didn’t have any commitment to release the data publicly,” says White. “It’s such a large quantity they didn’t think they could manage to do it.” The Institute, though, welcomed this outsider data in part so it could learn how to deal with such huge quantities.

    The hope is that Pan-STARRS’s freely available data will make a big contribution to astronomy. Just look at the discoveries people publish using Hubble data, says White. “The majority of papers being published are from archival data, by scientists that have no connection to the original observations,” he says. That, he believes, will hold true for Pan-STARRS too.

    But surveys are beautiful not just because they can be shared online. They’re also A+ because their observations aren’t narrow. In much of astronomy, scientists look at specific objects in specific ways at specific times. Maybe they zoom in on the magnetic field of pulsar J1745–2900, or the hydrogen gas in the farthest reaches of the Milky Way’s Perseus arm, or that one alien spaceship rock. Those observations are perfect for that individual astronomer to learn about that field, arm, or ship—but they’re not as great for anything or anyone else. Surveys, on the other hand, serve everyone.

    “The Sloan Digital Sky Survey set the standard for these huge survey projects,” says White. Sloan, which started operations in 2000, is on its fourth iteration, collecting light with telescopes at Apache Point Observatory in New Mexico and Las Campanas Observatory in Northern Chile.

    SDSS 2.5 meter Telescope at Apache Point Observatory, near Sunspot NM, USA, Altitude 2,788 meters (9,147 ft)

    Universe map Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) 2dF Galaxy Redshift Survey

    Carnegie Las Campanas Observatory in the southern Atacama Desert of Chile in the Atacama Region approximately 100 kilometres (62 mi) northeast of the city of La Serena,near the southern end and over 2,500 m (8,200 ft) high

    From the early universe to the modern state of the Milky Way’s union, Sloan data has painted a full-on portrait of the universe that, like those creepy Renaissance portraits, will stick around for years to come.

    Over in a different part of New Mexico, on the high Plains of San Agustin, radio astronomers recently set the Very Large Array’s sights on a new survey. Having started in 2017, the Very Large Array Sky Survey is still at the beginning of its seven years of operation.

    NRAO/Karl V Jansky Expanded Very Large Array, on the Plains of San Agustin fifty miles west of Socorro, NM, USA, at an elevation of 6970 ft (2124 m)

    But astronomers don’t have to wait for it to finish its observations, as happened with the first Pan-STARRS survey. “Within several days of the data coming off the telescope, the images are available to everybody,” says Brian Kent, who, since 2012, has worked on the software that processes the data. Which is no small task: For every four hours of skywatching, the telescope spits out 300 gigabytes, which the software then has to make useful and usable. “You have to put the collective smarts of the astronomers into the software,” he says.

    Kent is excited about the same kinds of time-domain discoveries as White is: about seeing the universe at work rather than as a set of static images. Including the chronological dimension is hot in astronomy right now, from these surveys to future instruments like the LSST and the massive Square Kilometre Array, a radio telescope that will spread across two continents.

    SKA Square Kilometer Array

    SKA Murchison Widefield Array, Boolardy station in outback Western Australia, at the Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory (MRO)


    Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder (ASKAP) is a radio telescope array located at Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory (MRO) in the Australian Mid West. ASKAP consists of 36 identical parabolic antennas, each 12 metres in diameter, working together as a single instrument with a total collecting area of approximately 4,000 square metres.

    SKA LOFAR core (“superterp”) near Exloo, Netherlands

    SKA South Africa


    SKA Meerkat telescope, 90 km outside the small Northern Cape town of Carnarvon, SA


    SKA Meerkat telescope, 90 km outside the small Northern Cape town of Carnarvon, SA

    SKA Meerkat telescope, South African design

    Now, as of late January, anyone can access all of those observations, containing phenomena astronomers don’t yet know about and that—hey, who knows—you could beat them to discovering.
    Big surveys like this one, which watch swaths of sky agnostically rather than homing in on specific stuff, represent a big chunk of modern astronomy. They are an efficient, pseudo-egalitarian way to collect data, uncover the unexpected, and allow for discovery long after the lens cap closes. With better computing power, astronomers can see the universe not just as it was and is but also as it’s changing, by comparing, say, how a given part of the sky looks on Tuesday to how it looks on Wednesday. Pan-STARRS’s latest data dump, in particular, gives everyone access to the in-process cosmos, opening up the “time domain” to all earthlings with a good internet connection.

    But surveys are beautiful not just because they can be shared online. They’re also A+ because their observations aren’t narrow. In much of astronomy, scientists look at specific objects in specific ways at specific times. Maybe they zoom in on the magnetic field of pulsar J1745–2900, or the hydrogen gas in the farthest reaches of the Milky Way’s Perseus arm, or that one alien spaceship rock. Those observations are perfect for that individual astronomer to learn about that field, arm, or ship—but they’re not as great for anything or anyone else. Surveys, on the other hand, serve everyone.

    “The Sloan Digital Sky Survey set the standard for these huge survey projects,” says White. Sloan, which started operations in 2000, is on its fourth iteration, collecting light with telescopes at Apache Point Observatory in New Mexico and Las Campanas Observatory in Northern Chile. From the early universe to the modern state of the Milky Way’s union, Sloan data has painted a full-on portrait of the universe that, like those creepy Renaissance portraits, will stick around for years to come.

    Over in a different part of New Mexico, on the high Plains of San Agustin, radio astronomers recently set the Very Large Array’s sights on a new survey. Having started in 2017, the Very Large Array Sky Survey is still at the beginning of its seven years of operation. But astronomers don’t have to wait for it to finish its observations, as happened with the first Pan-STARRS survey. “Within several days of the data coming off the telescope, the images are available to everybody,” says Brian Kent, who, since 2012, has worked on the software that processes the data. Which is no small task: For every four hours of skywatching, the telescope spits out 300 gigabytes, which the software then has to make useful and usable. “You have to put the collective smarts of the astronomers into the software,” he says.

    Kent is excited about the same kinds of time-domain discoveries as White is: about seeing the universe at work rather than as a set of static images. Including the chronological dimension is hot in astronomy right now, from these surveys to future instruments like the LSST and the massive Square Kilometre Array, a radio telescope that will spread across two continents.

    See the full article here .

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

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

     
  • richardmitnick 2:05 pm on January 28, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , SKA - Square Kilometre Array, The Netherlands makes €30m commitment to future SKA Observatory   

    From SKA and Netherlands Institute for Radio Astronomy (ASTRON): “The Netherlands makes €30m commitment to future SKA Observatory” 


    From SKA

    and

    ASTRON bloc

    Netherlands Institute for Radio Astronomy

    28 January 2019

    SKA release

    1
    Presentation of the Gemini board to to Science Minister Ingrid van Engelshoven in June 2018 by ASTRON engineers Gijs Schoonderbeek and Paula Fusiara. The Gemini board, developed by ASTRON in collaboration with Australia’s CSIRO and Auckland University of Technology in New Zealand, is designed to process the huge volume of data from the SKA-low telescope. (Credit: ASTRON)

    The Netherlands has announced it will sign the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) Convention at a ceremony to be held in Rome, Italy on 12th March. The Netherlands also confirmed an initial commitment of €30 million to the future SKA Observatory, solidifying its support for the international project.

    The convention will establish the SKA Observatory as an inter-governmental organisation responsible for delivering the construction and operation of the SKA, poised to be the largest and most sensitive radio telescope in the world. Once established, the Observatory will take over from the current SKA Organisation, which has managed the design phase of the multinational endeavour.

    At present, six countries have confirmed their intent to sign the treaty at the ceremony in March including the SKA’s three host countries (Australia, South Africa and the UK, the latter hosting the Headquarters), Italy (which has been leading the 3+-year long negotiation process), Portugal and the Netherlands. Other current member countries of the SKA Organisation are pursuing their own internal processes and are expected to join the founding group of the SKA Observatory at a later stage.

    “This is an extremely welcome announcement coming from our Dutch partners,” said Prof. Philip Diamond, Director-General of the SKA Organisation. “Investing in large-scale projects like the SKA has many benefits for the participating countries, from access to world-class facilities for their scientific community, to bidding for contracts for their industry and developing a competitive edge through innovations in high-technology. It is good to see that the Dutch government, alongside our other partners that are expected to join the SKA Observatory, recognises the value of being part of one of the most ambitious science endeavours of the 21st century.”

    As an existing member of the SKAO, the Netherlands has already made significant contributions to the science and engineering effort behind the SKA, and today’s announcement confirms the country’s long-term commitment to the project. The funding contribution has been allocated by the Dutch Ministry of Education, Culture and Science.

    “These are exciting times for us”, says Prof. Carole Jackson, Director General of the Netherlands Institute for Radio Astronomy (ASTRON), which coordinates the Dutch participation in the SKA. “The Netherlands will be a full partner in this massive global telescope to probe some of the mysteries of the Universe. We are thrilled that the Government has decided to invest in this way.”

    ASTRON Release

    1

    ASTRON, the Netherlands Institute for Radio Astronomy, is excited that the Netherlands will partner in the construction and management of the largest radio telescope in the world, the Square Kilometre Array (SKA). This ambitious project will lead to major discoveries about the nature of our Universe and answer longstanding questions. The Dutch Council of Ministers has decided that the Netherlands will sign the treaty to establish the international SKA observatory. ASTRON coordinates the Dutch participation in the SKA.

    Construction of the SKA will move forward over the next few years. On 12 March 2019 the international partners, now including the Netherlands, will sign a treaty agreement in Rome. The 30 million Euros allocated by the Dutch Ministry of Education, Culture and Science is the basis for Dutch participation to realise the SKA.

    “These are exciting times for us”, says Prof. Carole Jackson, Director General of ASTRON. “The Netherlands will be a full partner in this massive global telescope to probe some of the mysteries of the Universe. We are thrilled that the Government has decided to invest in this way.”

    Nine multinational consortia are finalising the design of the SKA, which is planned to start construction in 2021. ASTRON leads the consortium that develops SKA’s antenna stations in Western Australia and also plays a major role in two other consortia that design solutions to combine and further process the enormous amounts of data produced by the antennas.

    The SKA will be the largest and most sensitive radio telescope in the world. In Western Australia, the telescope will consist of 130,000 antennas spread over 512 antenna fields. The design is based on ASTRON’s Low Frequency Array (LOFAR) telescope.

    ASTRON LOFAR Radio Antenna Bank, Netherlands

    With all these antennas SKA will generate enormous amounts of data: one petabit per second – more than three times the global internet traffic in 2018.

    A network of SKA Regional Centres will process and archive the SKA data , distilling its huge volume into scientific discoveries. The Netherlands will set up a Science Data Center (SDC) to provide employment to highly educated researchers, developers and supporting (ICT) service providers. By combining forces and collaboration with other data-intensive sectors, a public-private, multidisciplinary cluster is created that focuses on data science.

    Dr. Michiel van Haarlem, head of the SKA Office Netherlands at ASTRON, adds: “Within this project it has been agreed that the participating countries receive a proportional share in contracts for the construction of the SKA. Dutch companies and institutions are well positioned to win contracts in many areas, for example for the delivery of elements of the telescope and smart software.”

    See the full article here .

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

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    LOFAR is a radio telescope composed of an international network of antenna stations and is designed to observe the universe at frequencies between 10 and 250 MHz. Operated by ASTRON, the network includes stations in the Netherlands, Germany, Sweden, the U.K., France, Poland and Ireland.
    ASTRON-Westerbork Synthesis Radio Telescope
    Westerbork Synthesis Radio Telescope (WSRT)

    ASTRON was founded in 1949, as the Foundation for Radio radiation from the Sun and Milky Way (SRZM). Its original charge was to develop and operate radio telescopes, the first being systems using surplus wartime radar dishes. The organisation has grown from twenty employees in the early 1960’s to about 180 staff members today.


    SKA ASKAP Pathefinder Telescope

    SKA Meerkat telescope, 90 km outside the small Northern Cape town of Carnarvon, SA


    SKA Meerkat Telescope

    Murchison Widefield Array,SKA Murchison Widefield Array, Boolardy station in outback Western Australia, at the Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory (MRO)


    SKA Murchison Wide Field Array
    About SKA

    The Square Kilometre Arraywill be the world’s largest and most sensitive radio telescope. The total collecting area will be approximately one square kilometre giving 50 times the sensitivity, and 10 000 times the survey speed, of the best current-day telescopes. The SKA will be built in Southern Africa and in Australia. Thousands of receptors will extend to distances of 3 000 km from the central regions. The SKA will address fundamental unanswered questions about our Universe including how the first stars and galaxies formed after the Big Bang, how dark energy is accelerating the expansion of the Universe, the role of magnetism in the cosmos, the nature of gravity, and the search for life beyond Earth. Construction of phase one of the SKA is scheduled to start in 2016. The SKA Organisation, with its headquarters at Jodrell Bank Observatory, near Manchester, UK, was established in December 2011 as a not-for-profit company in order to formalise relationships between the international partners and centralise the leadership of the project.

    The Square Kilometre Array (SKA) project is an international effort to build the world’s largest radio telescope, led by SKA Organisation. The SKA will conduct transformational science to improve our understanding of the Universe and the laws of fundamental physics, monitoring the sky in unprecedented detail and mapping it hundreds of times faster than any current facility.

    Already supported by 10 member countries – Australia, Canada, China, India, Italy, New Zealand, South Africa, Sweden, The Netherlands and the United Kingdom – SKA Organisation has brought together some of the world’s finest scientists, engineers and policy makers and more than 100 companies and research institutions across 20 countries in the design and development of the telescope. Construction of the SKA is set to start in 2018, with early science observations in 2020.

     
  • richardmitnick 2:54 pm on November 10, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Red Book", , , , , SKA - Square Kilometre Array   

    From SKA: “New paper highlights breadth of cosmology to be done with SKA” 


    From SKA

    8 November 2018

    A new paper published yesterday highlights the potential of the SKA to tackle key questions of cosmology, by presenting a detailed overview of the various observation campaigns that can be conducted with the telescope once built.

    1
    The SKA will probe key issues in cosmology and investigate why the Universe is expanding at an accelerating rate. (Credit: NASA/WMAP)

    Universe map Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) 2dF Galaxy Redshift Survey

    Cosmology is the study of the origin and fate of the Universe. Cosmologists believe that ordinary matter – the matter that forms everything we see including planets and galaxies – only accounts for around 5% of the total mass & energy content of the Universe. Two mysterious components seem to constitute the rest with dark matter – matter we can’t see directly but whose gravitational effects on normal matter we can observe – constituting around 27% of the remaining content and dark energy – the force causing the Universe to expand at an accelerated rate – accounting for the remaining 68%.

    The Red Book as it is called is the product of the SKA’s Cosmology Science Working Group, a group of around 130 scientists from 70 different institutes in 19 countries interested in using the SKA that represents the wider cosmology community*. It builds on the work of the 2015 SKA Science Book, taking into account the major developments in the field since then. With 46 authors from 36 institutes contributing directly to the writing of the paper, it represents a significant piece of work on the science potential of the SKA to address key issues in cosmology such as dark matter and dark energy.

    “We know the Universe is expanding at an accelerating rate, but we don’t yet understand why,” explains Prof. Richard Battye, co-chair of the working group from the University of Manchester. “One of the SKA’s main science goals is to investigate this, by looking at the distribution of the most basic element, hydrogen, throughout the cosmos. We hope to go beyond what is now considered the ‘standard’ cosmological model and further refine our estimates of the amounts of dark matter and dark energy at any given time in the Universe.”

    The Red Book details the cosmological surveys that the SKA will carry out, and the science they will enable, including establishing the proportion of dark energy in the Universe thanks to percent-level precision measurements of its expansion rate over the last 12 billion years.

    “Science is a constantly evolving field, so we have to update our research to reflect new discoveries and the advance of techniques,” adds SKA Project Scientist Dr. Anna Bonaldi, a co-author of the paper. “As we near the start of construction, the design of the SKA has also matured, so this needs to be reflected in our predictions.”

    There have been major discoveries in the past few years which have implications for the field of cosmology, including the detection of gravitational waves predicted by Einstein by the Advanced Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) in the United States, and the detection by the EDGES experiment located on the site of the future SKA-low telescope in Western Australia of what could be the signal from some of the first stars to form in the universe, one of the key science goals of the SKA.

    EDGES telescope in a radio quiet zone at the Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory in Western Australia.

    These discoveries bring new questions within cosmology, especially on the nature of dark matter. Astronomers are now working on their observational implications and how the SKA could help to confirm the results, in particular through synergies with other upcoming ground-breaking telescopes which observe the Universe at different wavelengths such as ESA’s Euclid space telescope and the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST) being built in Chile.

    ESA/Euclid spacecraft

    LSST


    LSST Camera, built at SLAC



    LSST telescope, currently under construction on the El Peñón peak at Cerro Pachón Chile, a 2,682-meter-high mountain in Coquimbo Region, in northern Chile, alongside the existing Gemini South and Southern Astrophysical Research Telescopes.

    “The SKA will be the first radio telescope to be a major actor in the field of cosmology,” says Dr. Laura Wolz, co-chair of the working group and a Research Fellow at the University of Melbourne. “With it we’ll be able to produce the first ever map of the large-scale structure of the Universe back to a time when it was 2.2 billion years old – this is incredibly exciting for cosmologists, as it will enable new science and unpredicted discoveries.”

    *A total of 13 Science Working Groups and Focus Groups representing more than 500 scientists across 20 countries work on developing the science case of the SKA. From Cosmology to Magnetism & Solar Physics, they cover the various fields of interested users from the astronomical community.

    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 Pathefinder Telescope

    SKA Meerkat telescope, 90 km outside the small Northern Cape town of Carnarvon, SA


    SKA Meerkat Telescope

    Murchison Widefield Array,SKA Murchison Widefield Array, Boolardy station in outback Western Australia, at the Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory (MRO)


    SKA Murchison Wide Field Array
    About SKA

    The Square Kilometre Array will be the world’s largest and most sensitive radio telescope. The total collecting area will be approximately one square kilometre giving 50 times the sensitivity, and 10 000 times the survey speed, of the best current-day telescopes. The SKA will be built in Southern Africa and in Australia. Thousands of receptors will extend to distances of 3 000 km from the central regions. The SKA will address fundamental unanswered questions about our Universe including how the first stars and galaxies formed after the Big Bang, how dark energy is accelerating the expansion of the Universe, the role of magnetism in the cosmos, the nature of gravity, and the search for life beyond Earth. Construction of phase one of the SKA is scheduled to start in 2016. The SKA Organisation, with its headquarters at Jodrell Bank Observatory, near Manchester, UK, was established in December 2011 as a not-for-profit company in order to formalise relationships between the international partners and centralise the leadership of the project.

    The Square Kilometre Array (SKA) project is an international effort to build the world’s largest radio telescope, led by SKA Organisation. The SKA will conduct transformational science to improve our understanding of the Universe and the laws of fundamental physics, monitoring the sky in unprecedented detail and mapping it hundreds of times faster than any current facility.

    Already supported by 10 member countries – Australia, Canada, China, India, Italy, New Zealand, South Africa, Sweden, The Netherlands and the United Kingdom – SKA Organisation has brought together some of the world’s finest scientists, engineers and policy makers and more than 100 companies and research institutions across 20 countries in the design and development of the telescope. Construction of the SKA is set to start in 2018, with early science observations in 2020.

     
  • richardmitnick 3:58 pm on October 10, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: ASKAP is located at CSIRO’s Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory (MRO) in Western Australia, ASKAP telescopes to rule fast radio-burst hunt, , , , , , CSIRO acknowledges the Wajarri Yamaji as the traditional owners of the MRO site, , , SKA - Square Kilometre Array   

    From Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation CSIRO: “CSIRO telescope almost doubles known number of mysterious ‘fast radio bursts'” 

    CSIRO bloc

    From Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation CSIRO

    Australian researchers using a CSIRO radio telescope in Western Australia have nearly doubled the known number of ‘fast radio bursts’— powerful flashes of radio waves from deep space.

    1
    Antennas of CSIRO’s Australian SKA Pathfinder (ASKAP) radio telescope. Credit: CSIRO/Alex Cherney

    2
    An artist’s impression of CSIRO’s Australian SKA Pathfinder (ASKAP) radio telescope observing ‘fast radio bursts’ in ‘fly’s-eye mode’. Each antenna points in a slightly different direction, giving maximum sky coverage. ©OzGrav, Swinburne University of Technology

    3
    (L-R) Lead author Dr Ryan Shannon (Swinburne/OzGrav), with co-authors Dr Keith Bannister (CSIRO) and Dr Jean-Pierre Macquart (Curtin/ICRAR). ©Inspireworks

    4
    Dishes of CSIRO’s Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder in ‘fly’s-eye mode’ ©Kim Steel

    The team’s discoveries include the closest and brightest fast radio bursts ever detected.

    Their findings were reported today in the journal Nature .

    Fast radio bursts come from all over the sky and last for just milliseconds.

    Scientists don’t know what causes them but it must involve incredible energy—equivalent to the amount released by the Sun in 80 years.

    “We’ve found 20 fast radio bursts in a year, almost doubling the number detected worldwide since they were discovered in 2007,” lead author Dr Ryan Shannon, from Swinburne University of Technology and the OzGrav ARC Centre of Excellence said.

    “Using the new technology of the Australia Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder (ASKAP), we’ve also proved that fast radio bursts are coming from the other side of the Universe rather than from our own galactic neighbourhood.”

    Co-author Dr Jean-Pierre Macquart, from the Curtin University node of the International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research (ICRAR), said bursts travel for billions of years and occasionally pass through clouds of gas.

    “Each time this happens, the different wavelengths that make up a burst are slowed by different amounts,” he said.

    “Eventually, the burst reaches Earth with its spread of wavelengths arriving at the telescope at slightly different times, like swimmers at a finish line.

    “Timing the arrival of the different wavelengths tells us how much material the burst has travelled through on its journey.

    “And because we’ve shown that fast radio bursts come from far away, we can use them to detect all the missing matter located in the space between galaxies—which is a really exciting discovery.”

    CSIRO’s Dr Keith Bannister, who engineered the systems that detected the bursts, said ASKAP’s phenomenal discovery rate is down to two things.

    “The telescope has a whopping field of view of 30 square degrees, 100 times larger than the full Moon,” he said.

    “And, by using the telescope’s dish antennas in a radical way, with each pointing at a different part of the sky, we observed 240 square degrees all at once—about a thousand times the area of the full Moon.

    “ASKAP is astoundingly good for this work.”

    Dr Shannon said we now know that fast radio bursts originate from about halfway across the Universe but we still don’t know what causes them or which galaxies they come from.

    The team’s next challenge is to pinpoint the locations of bursts on the sky.

    “We’ll be able to localise the bursts to better than a thousandth of a degree,” Dr Shannon said.

    “That’s about the width of a human hair seen 10 metres away, and good enough to tie each burst to a particular galaxy.”

    ASKAP is located at CSIRO’s Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory (MRO) in Western Australia, and is a precursor for the future Square Kilometre Array (SKA) telescope.

    The SKA could observe large numbers of fast radio bursts, giving astronomers a way to study the early Universe in detail.

    CSIRO acknowledges the Wajarri Yamaji as the traditional owners of the MRO site.

    See the full article here .


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

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    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 10:50 am on October 3, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , , SKA - Square Kilometre Array, Still a ways to go   

    From École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne: “New tool helps scientists better target the search for alien life” 

    EPFL bloc

    From École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne

    1
    © iStock

    02.10.18
    Sarah Perrin

    An EPFL scientist has developed a novel approach that boosts the chances of finding extraterrestrial intelligence in our galaxy. His method uses probability theory to calculate the possibility of detecting an extraterrestrial signal (if there is one) at a given distance from Earth.

    Could there be another planet out there with a society at the same stage of technological advancement as ours? To help find out, EPFL scientist Claudio Grimaldi, working in association with the University of California, Berkeley, has developed a statistical model that gives researchers a new tool in the search for the kind of signals that an extraterrestrial society might emit. His method – described in an article appearing today in PNAS – could also make the search cheaper and more efficient.

    Astrophysics initially wasn’t Grimaldi’s thing; he was interested more in the physics of condensed matter. Working at EPFL’s Laboratory of Physics of Complex Matter, his research involved calculating the probabilities of carbon nanotubes exchanging electrons. But then he wondered: if the nanotubes were stars and the electrons were signals generated by extraterrestrial societies, could we calculate the probability of detecting those signals more accurately?

    This is not pie-in-the-sky research – scientists have been studying this possibility for nearly 60 years. Several research projects concerning the search for extraterrestrial intelligence (SETI) have been launched since the late 1950s, mainly in the United States.




    SETI@home, a BOINC project originated in the Space Science Lab at UC Berkeley


    SETI/Allen Telescope Array situated at the Hat Creek Radio Observatory, 290 miles (470 km) northeast of San Francisco, California, USA, Altitude 986 m (3,235 ft)


    Laser SETI, the future of SETI Institute research

    The idea is that an advanced civilization on another planet could be generating electromagnetic signals, and scientists on Earth might be able to pick up those signals using the latest high-performance radio telescopes.

    Renewed interest

    Despite considerable advances in radio astronomy and the increase in computing power since then, none of those projects has led to anything concrete. Some signals have been recorded, like the Wow! signal in 1977, but scientists could not pinpoint their origin.

    Wow! signal

    And none of them has been repeated or seems credible enough to be attributable to alien life.

    But that doesn’t mean scientists have given up. On the contrary, SETI has seen renewed interest following the discovery of the many exoplanets orbiting the billions of suns in our
    galaxy. Researchers have designed sophisticated new instruments – like the Square Kilometre Array, a giant radio telescope being built in South Africa and Australia with a total collecting area of one square kilometer – that could pave the way to promising breakthroughs.

    And Russian entrepreneur Yuri Milner recently announced an ambitious program called Breakthrough Listen, which aims to cover 10 times more sky than previous searches and scan a much wider band of frequencies. Milner intends to fund his initiative with 100 million dollars over 10 years.

    1

    Lick Automated Planet Finder telescope, Mount Hamilton, CA, USA



    GBO radio telescope, Green Bank, West Virginia, USA


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


    SKA Meerkat telescope, 90 km outside the small Northern Cape town of Carnarvon, SA

    “In reality, expanding the search to these magnitudes only increases our chances of finding something by very little. And if we still don’t detect any signals, we can’t necessarily conclude with much more certainty that there is no life out there,” says Grimaldi.

    Still a ways to go

    4
    Schematic view of the Milky Way showing six isotropic extraterrestrial emission processes forming spherical shells filled by radio signals. The outer radii of the spherical shells are proportional to the time at which the signals were first emitted, while the thicknesses are proportional to the duration of the emissions. In this example, the Earth is illuminated by one of these signals. ©Claudio Grimaldi.

    The advantage of Grimaldi’s statistical model is that it lets scientists interpret both the success and failure to detect signals at varying distances from the Earth. His model employs Bayes’ theorem to calculate the remaining probability of detecting a signal within a given radius around our planet. For example, even if no signal is detected within a radius of 1,000 light years, there is still an over 10% chance that the Earth is within range of hundreds of similar signals from elsewhere in the galaxy, but that our radio telescopes are currently not powerful enough to detect them. However, that probability rises to nearly 100% if even just one signal is detected within the 1,000-light-year radius. In that case, we could be almost certain that our galaxy is full of alien life.

    After factoring in other parameters like the size of the galaxy and how closely packed its stars are, Grimaldi estimates that the probability of detecting a signal becomes very slight only at a radius of 40,000 light years. In other words, if no signals are detected at this distance from the Earth, we could reasonably conclude that no other civilization at the same level of technological development as ours is detectable in the galaxy. But so far, scientists have been able to search for signals within a radius of “just” 40 light years.

    So there’s still a ways to go. Especially since these search methods can’t detect alien civilizations that may be in primordial stages or that are highly advanced but haven’t followed the same technological trajectory as ours.

    See the full article here .

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

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    EPFL campus

    EPFL is Europe’s most cosmopolitan technical university. It receives students, professors and staff from over 120 nationalities. With both a Swiss and international calling, it is therefore guided by a constant wish to open up; its missions of teaching, research and partnership impact various circles: universities and engineering schools, developing and emerging countries, secondary schools and gymnasiums, industry and economy, political circles and the general public.

     
  • richardmitnick 11:35 am on August 6, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , SKA - Square Kilometre Array, SKA Telescope Manager consortium   

    From SKA: “Indian-led Telescope Manager consortium concludes design work on SKA” 


    From SKA

    1
    Members of the Telescope Manager consortium gathered at SKA Global Headquarters in the UK for the Critical Design Review in April. Credit: SKAO

    6 August 2018

    After four and a half years, the international Telescope Manager (TM) consortium has formally concluded its work on the architectural design of a fundamental part of the software for the Square Kilometre Array: the nervous system of the Observatory, which is called the Telescope Manager.

    Formed in November 2013, the consortium was tasked with designing the crucial software that will control, monitor and operate the SKA telescopes. TM brought expertise in the field of Monitoring and Control for large-scale, complex systems and design of user interface experience.

    Led by India’s National Centre for Radio Astrophysics (NCRA), the international consortium comprised nine institutions in seven countries.*

    TM Consortium Lead Professor Yashwant Gupta from NCRA said “We can all take pride in the fact that we’ve successfully designed the software that will operate the world’s largest radio telescope. I would like to sincerely thank all the members of our international team for their hard work over the past few years that made it possible to achieve this important milestone.”

    The TM work was part of a global effort by 12 international engineering consortia representing 500 engineers and scientists in 20 countries. Nine of the consortia focus on a component of the telescope, each critical to the overall success of the project, while three others focus on developing advanced instrumentation for the telescope.

    After four years of intense design work, the nine consortia are having their Critical Design Reviews or CDRs. In this final stage, the proposed design must meet the project’s tough engineering requirements to be approved, so that a construction proposal for the telescope can be developed.

    Following their successful CDR in April 2018, the TM consortium set about making the final adjustments to their proposed design which they have now completed. While the consortium now formally ceases to exist, the SKA Organisation continues to work with NCRA and the other former consortium members on the System Critical Design Review development and the SKA construction proposal, where their expertise will be required to make sure the TM design works alongside the other elements.

    “The work done by the consortium has been outstanding,” said Maurizio Miccolis, TM Project Manager for the SKA Organisation. “We can now take it forward into the next phase of the SKA, which brings us one step closer to construction.”

    *Consortium members included the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Council (CSIRO) in Australia, the National Research Council of Canada (NRC), TCS Research and Innovation and Persistent Systems in India, Italy’s National Institute for Astrophysics (INAF), Portugal’s ENGAGE SKA Consortium through Instituto de Telecomunicações (IT) & the School of Sciences of Porto University, the South African Radio Astronomy Observatory (SARAO), and the UK’s Astronomy Technology Centre funded by the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC).

    Find out more about TM’s work, including photos and videos.

    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 Pathefinder Telescope

    SKA Meerkat telescope, 90 km outside the small Northern Cape town of Carnarvon, SA


    SKA Meerkat Telescope

    Murchison Widefield Array,SKA Murchison Widefield Array, Boolardy station in outback Western Australia, at the Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory (MRO)


    SKA Murchison Wide Field Array

    About NCRA

    The National Centre for Radio Astrophysics (NCRA) of the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR), Pune, is one of the premier astronomy research centres in India. It is also the nodal agency for the Indian participation in the SKA. NCRA is responsible for the construction and operation of the Giant Metrewave Radio Telescope (GMRT) which is the largest radio telescope in the world at metrewavelengths. Recently the GMRT has gone through a major upgrade which included many technical improvements, thus enabling astronomers to study numerous cutting-edge scientific research problems. GMRT is already serving as a test-bed for carrying out observations with the SKA and hence has been accorded the status of a “SKA Pathfinder”.

    Read more about NCRA’s contribution to the TM Critical Design Reviews

    About SKA

    The Square Kilometre Array will be the world’s largest and most sensitive radio telescope. The total collecting area will be approximately one square kilometre giving 50 times the sensitivity, and 10 000 times the survey speed, of the best current-day telescopes. The SKA will be built in Southern Africa and in Australia. Thousands of receptors will extend to distances of 3 000 km from the central regions. The SKA will address fundamental unanswered questions about our Universe including how the first stars and galaxies formed after the Big Bang, how dark energy is accelerating the expansion of the Universe, the role of magnetism in the cosmos, the nature of gravity, and the search for life beyond Earth. Construction of phase one of the SKA is scheduled to start in 2016. The SKA Organisation, with its headquarters at Jodrell Bank Observatory, near Manchester, UK, was established in December 2011 as a not-for-profit company in order to formalise relationships between the international partners and centralise the leadership of the project.

    The Square Kilometre Array (SKA) project is an international effort to build the world’s largest radio telescope, led by SKA Organisation. The SKA will conduct transformational science to improve our understanding of the Universe and the laws of fundamental physics, monitoring the sky in unprecedented detail and mapping it hundreds of times faster than any current facility.

    Already supported by 10 member countries – Australia, Canada, China, India, Italy, New Zealand, South Africa, Sweden, The Netherlands and the United Kingdom – SKA Organisation has brought together some of the world’s finest scientists, engineers and policy makers and more than 100 companies and research institutions across 20 countries in the design and development of the telescope. Construction of the SKA is set to start in 2018, with early science observations in 2020.

     
  • richardmitnick 9:15 am on July 4, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , Japan’s VERA telescope granted SKA pathfinder status, , SKA - Square Kilometre Array, The VLBI Exploration of Radio Astrometry (VERA) telescope   

    From SKA: “Japan’s VERA telescope granted SKA pathfinder status” 


    From SKA

    3 July 2018

    The VLBI Exploration of Radio Astrometry (VERA) telescope, operated by the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan, has been officially designated as an SKA pathfinder.

    1
    Mizusawa station is one of four across Japan that make up the VERA telescope. (Credit: NAOJ)

    In operation since 2003, VERA uses Very Long Baseline Interferometry (VLBI) to explore the three-dimensional structure of the Milky Way based on high-precision astrometry of Galactic maser sources. It comprises four Cassegrain antennas each measuring 20 metres in diameter.

    VERA joins more than a dozen pathfinder facilities around the globe which are contributing to SKA-related technology and science. Pathfinder telescopes provide valuable information to teams working on the design of the SKA, but unlike precursors they are not located at SKA sites.

    “VERA mainly performs K (22 GHz) and Q (43 GHz) band VLBI observations. Therefore, science cases at such high frequencies will be intensively developed with VERA,” said Prof. Mareki Honma, Director of the Mizusawa VLBI Observatory, which operates the telescope as part of NAOJ. “In future, VERA could enhance SKA VLBI capabilities, providing SKA-mid instrument with the intercontinental, longest baseline. Such a potential will also improve the value of the SKA.”

    SKA-mid, an array of almost 200 dishes in its first phase, will be hosted in South Africa’s Karoo region, incorporating the existing 64-dish MeerKAT precursor telescope.

    SKA Meerkat telescope, 90 km outside the small Northern Cape town of Carnarvon, SA

    It will be engaged in exploring many exciting areas of science, including gravitational waves, pulsars, and the search for signs of life in the galaxy. A later expansion would see SKA baselines extended across the African continent.

    While two of the four VERA antennas are on the Japanese mainland, the other two are located on the outlying Ishigaki and Ogasawara islands. NAOJ notes that the difficulty of accessing these sites can provide important lessons about Telescope Management for the SKA, where teams will face similar issues at remote sites in Australia and South Africa.

    “NAOJ and the Mizusawa VLBI Observatory have skills in all aspects of VLBI science and its techniques. In particular they bring expertise in high-frequency (for SKA) receiver systems, ADCs and VLBI backends that is of great interest to the SKA,” said Prof. Phil Diamond, SKAO Director-General. Analogue to digital convertors (ADCs) convert signals so that they can be transmitted over optical fibre, an important component for the SKA.

    Prof. Diamond added: “We look forward to further collaborations with our Japanese colleagues through VERA and we are hopeful that this will contribute to advancing the SKA case in Japan.”

    Read more about VERA on the project’s website, and learn about other SKA pathfinders and precursors around the world here.

    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 Pathefinder Telescope

    SKA Meerkat telescope, 90 km outside the small Northern Cape town of Carnarvon, SA

    Murchison Widefield Array,SKA Murchison Widefield Array, Boolardy station in outback Western Australia, at the Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory (MRO)


    SKA Murchison Wide Field Array
    About SKA

    The Square Kilometre Array will be the world’s largest and most sensitive radio telescope. The total collecting area will be approximately one square kilometre giving 50 times the sensitivity, and 10 000 times the survey speed, of the best current-day telescopes. The SKA will be built in Southern Africa and in Australia. Thousands of receptors will extend to distances of 3 000 km from the central regions. The SKA will address fundamental unanswered questions about our Universe including how the first stars and galaxies formed after the Big Bang, how dark energy is accelerating the expansion of the Universe, the role of magnetism in the cosmos, the nature of gravity, and the search for life beyond Earth. Construction of phase one of the SKA is scheduled to start in 2016. The SKA Organisation, with its headquarters at Jodrell Bank Observatory, near Manchester, UK, was established in December 2011 as a not-for-profit company in order to formalise relationships between the international partners and centralise the leadership of the project.

    The Square Kilometre Array (SKA) project is an international effort to build the world’s largest radio telescope, led by SKA Organisation. The SKA will conduct transformational science to improve our understanding of the Universe and the laws of fundamental physics, monitoring the sky in unprecedented detail and mapping it hundreds of times faster than any current facility.

    Already supported by 10 member countries – Australia, Canada, China, India, Italy, New Zealand, South Africa, Sweden, The Netherlands and the United Kingdom – SKA Organisation has brought together some of the world’s finest scientists, engineers and policy makers and more than 100 companies and research institutions across 20 countries in the design and development of the telescope. Construction of the SKA is set to start in 2018, with early science observations in 2020.

     
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: