Digital survey to find ‘fossil’ stars

Star field

Federal Government funding will boost Australian astronomical research, including the search for the oldest stars in the galaxy.

THE FIRST DIGITAL IMAGING SURVEY of the southern night sky will be developed thanks to funding from the Federal Government.

Announcing funding for 106 projects, Innovation Minister Senator Kim Carr said that investing in research was vital for the development of new ideas, the creation of jobs and a better quality of life for all Australians.

Dome of the SkyMapper telescope

The work will use the ANU's SkyMapper telescope at Siding Spring Observatory.

Researchers at the Australian National University, working with Australia’s newest Nobel Laureate, Professor Brian Schmidt, will use a $390,000 grant to image one billion stars and galaxies in the Southern Sky Survey, underpinning science programs of international prominence such as the search for the oldest stars in the galaxy.

The Southern Sky Survey will be the first digital imaging survey of the entire southern hemisphere sky. The information resulting from a billion stellar and galaxy images will underpin a number of significant national science programs of international prominence. These include the discovery of the oldest stars in our galaxy, fossils from its formation. Chief investigator for the newly-funded project is ANU Professor Gary S. Da Costa.

Adapted from information issued by the office of the Innovation Minister and ANU. Images courtesy ANU and Hubble Heritage Team (AURA/STScI/NASA/ESA).

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