RSSAll Entries Tagged With: "University of Western Australia"

Aussie scope to be upgraded

Artist's impression of an exoplanet

The University of Western Australia's 1-metre robotic Zadko Telescope will search for new planets, exploding stars and space junk.

THE UNIVERSITY OF WESTERN AUSTRALIA’S (UWA) Gingin-based Zadko Telescope will get a clearer view thanks to an agreement signed between UWA and the WA Department of Environment and Conservation (DEC) that enhances the partnership between these two organisations.

The 1-metre robotic Zadko Telescope is currently housed in an inadequate dome that is not up to the rigours of robotic operation.

Zadko Telescope

Zadko Telescope

Under the collaboration between DEC and UWA, DEC will contribute $100,000 towards the construction of a new building where the telescope will reach its full potential.

DEC astronomer Ralph Martin of Perth Observatory said: “Part of the collaboration with UWA includes searching for undiscovered planets orbiting distant stars.”

Zadko Telescope Director, UWA Associate Professor David Coward, said the new Zadko Observatory building would significantly enhance the research capabilities of DEC and UWA.

“The upgrade will also strengthen our collaboration with TAROT (Fast Action Telescopes for Transient Objects), the French international network of robotic telescopes,” Professor Coward said. “Our international team will be on the hunt for new planets and exploding stars.”

“The new Zadko Observatory building will also allow our collaboration to scan the sky for space junk that threatens the satellites on which we depend for almost every aspect of daily life from telecommunications, weather reports, security and navigation, to information about mineral deposits.”

Adapted from information issued by UWA.

Get SpaceInfo.com.au daily updates by RSS or email! Click the RSS Feed link at the top right-hand corner of this page, and then save the RSS Feed page to your bookmarks. Or, enter your email address (privacy assured) and we’ll send you daily updates. Or follow us on Twitter, @spaceinfo_oz

Like this story? Please share or recommend it…

Future stars to meet ancient stars

Stargazers with telescopes

The Aspire to Astronomy programme in Western Australia, will give locals the chance to learn about astronomy, and hopefully will give students the incentive to consider going on to university.

THE NIGHT SKY WILL IGNITE the imagination of school students in Western Australia’s Pilbara region in a series of upcoming community events next month.

Staff from The University of Western Australia, the International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research, SPICE and Scitech are currently working in partnership with local high schools to bring the ‘Aspire to Astronomy’ event to Pilbara communities.

Armed with a passion for science, a host of hands-on activities and several large telescopes, ‘Aspire to Astronomy’ will mobilise in late May, visiting schools and students by day and delivering ‘observing on the oval’ events for communities at night.

In this fortnight long outreach initiative, Aspire to Astronomy will visit Port Hedland, Karratha, Roebourne, Tom Price and Newman.

Locals will be invited to join in the cosmic fun and can even bring along binoculars and telescopes of their own, adding to the equipment to be brought up from Perth.

The Moon

Aspire to Astronomy will be fun, with lots of night sky viewing through telescopes.

On the celestial menu will be the gas giant planet of Saturn, the Orion Nebula, the Jewel Box star cluster, globular cluster Omega Centauri and a host of other night sky wonders.

Aspire to Astronomy will also include a special presentation about the Square Kilometre Array (SKA), a $2 billion global science project to build the world’s largest and most sensitive radio telescope.

In the Murchison Shire of mid-west WA, teams of scientists and engineers are currently constructing new radio telescopes that test new technologies and demonstrate Western Australia’s ability to deliver world-class science.

Next year the international community will decide if Southern Africa or Australia and New Zealand are to host the radio telescope.

Aspire to Astronomy is part of Aspire UWA, a partnership between the Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences, the School of Indigenous Studies and Student Services at UWA.

Aspire UWA offers an on-going program to encourage students from communities under-represented in higher education to aspire to university study.

Aspire UWA partners with schools in the Pilbara region and outer metropolitan Perth that have a significant Indigenous student population.

It is funded by the Federal Government’s Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations and The University of Western Australia.

Adapted from information issued by UWA. Images courtesy IAU / TWAN / Babak Tafreshi / Lee Pullen / Andreas O. Jaunsen / IYA2009.

Get SpaceInfo.com.au daily updates by RSS or email! Click the RSS Feed link at the top right-hand corner of this page, and then save the RSS Feed page to your bookmarks. Or, enter your email address (privacy assured) and we’ll send you daily updates. Or follow us on Twitter, @spaceinfo_oz

Like this story? Please share or recommend it…

Aussie telescope spots cosmic cataclysm

Artist's impression of a gamma-ray burst

Artist's impression of a gamma-ray burst, a huge explosion thought to be caused by the birth of a black hole, or maybe when two neutron stars collide.

Just 215 seconds after receiving an alert from a NASA satellite and with no direct human involvement, the Zadko telescope was the first in the world to turn its gaze to the light coming from a powerful explosion billions of light years away.

Located near Gingin, the Zadko Telescope is an important facility for astronomy research at The University of Western Australia (UWA), and is a joint resource for the International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research (ICRAR) and the Australian International Gravitational Research Centre (AIGRC).

GRB captured by the Zadko telescope

Image captured by the Zadko telescope. Green circles are known gamma-ray sources; red square shows the bright "unknown" source at the location of the burst.

At 7.05pm on Sunday 24 October, the Zadko received a signal from the NASA’s Swift satellite indicating that something exciting was happening in the night sky.

Without a moment to lose, the automated telescope responded to the call to action by repositioning itself so that its giant one metre mirror could capture the light coming from what scientists call a gamma ray burst.

Gamma-ray bursts are the most powerful explosions in the Universe since the Big Bang. They are brief, intense flashes of gamma radiation coming from other galaxies in the very distant Universe.

So far scientists don’t know exactly what causes them, but some suggest they signal the birth of a black hole in a massive stellar explosion. Or perhaps they’re caused by colliding neutron stars or some other exotic phenomenon.

Co-Director and Zadko Systems Manager Dr Myrtille Laas-Bourez designed the software that allows the Zadko to operate autonomously and respond to events such as this.

The Zadko telescope

The Zadko telescope

“This was a really bright gamma ray burst event and Zadko was the first ground- based telescope to catch it,” Dr Laas-Bourez said. “This is very exciting because it shows the robotic system is working well and is capable of doing some really interesting science.”

The telescope was made possible by a philanthropic donation by businessman James Zadko to the University. The instrument is a resource for research, training, and science education. It is co-located with a science and astronomy outreach facility, and with the Australian International Gravitational Observatory (AIGO).

Adapted from information issued by the University of Western Australia / NASA / David Coward.

Get SpaceInfo.com.au daily updates by RSS or email! Click the RSS Feed link at the top right-hand corner of this page, and then save the RSS Feed page to your bookmarks. Or, enter your email address (privacy assured) and we’ll send you daily updates. Or follow us on Twitter, @spaceinfo_oz