Astronomy linking Australia and Asia

Australia from space

New radio telescopes are being brought online in India, China, Japan and Korea.

THE LATEST ADVANCES and scientific benefits of the Very Long Baseline Interferometry (VLBI) will be discussed by radio astronomy researchers from the Asia-Oceania region in Perth tomorrow (Wednesday, 3 May 2011).

VLBI connects radio telescopes hundreds to thousands of kilometres apart, creating a telescope the size of a continent. With such a telescope, the sky can be viewed in amazing detail, with a resolution of a millionth of a degree.

About 40 researchers from 16 organisations will attend the Advances in Asia and Oceania Toward Very Long Baseline Interferometry in the Age of the Square Kilometre Array, held at the Perth Zoo from 4-6 May.

Professor Steven Tingay, ICRAR Deputy Director, said rapid and impressive advances in VLBI were taking place throughout Asia and Oceania.

Artist's impression of SKA radio astronomy dishes

Artist's impression of SKA radio astronomy dishes

“With the high level of technical expertise in the region and new radio telescopes being brought online in India, China, Japan and Korea, it is timely to come together and discuss VLBI and the Square Kilometre Array (SKA),” Professor Tingay said.

Participants will discuss VLBI projects throughout Asia and Oceania as well as what scientific benefits the SKA can provide for the region. The techniques behind VLBI are exactly the same as will be used for the SKA.

When complete, the SKA will be the largest radio astronomy instrument ever constructed and may be situated in the Asia/Oceania region if the Australia and New Zealand bid is successful.

The workshop is sponsored by the Federal Department of Innovation, Industry, Science and Research, the New Zealand Ministry of Economic Development, CSIRO and the International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research.

ICRAR is a joint venture between Curtin University and The University of Western Australia providing research excellence in the field of radio astronomy.

Adapted from information issued by Curtin University. Earth images courtesy NASA.

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