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International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research

In this issue:

New Staff 
New clues on the formation of Globular Clusters 
Robotic telescopeswings into action for cosmic explosion 
WA soars into Top 100 Supercomputer list
Engineer Interbiew: Professor Peter Hall
e-VLBI2010 Workshop 
CAASTRO off and running 
ICRAR Globe-Trotting
National SKA News:
First six ASKAP antennas constructed
Dish repurposed in New Zealand
KAREN connects Australian and New Zealand teams over 5500 km
International SKA News
News from the SPDO 
ICRAR Education Update:
Astronomers visit Laverton 
High School Work Experience 
Mid-West Science Summit 
Recent Outreach Visits
Summer Students 


ICRAR welcomes new staff

ICRAR has gained new staff members since the last edition of our eNewsletter.  Dr Attila Popping, Dr Edward Elson, Dr Nadia Kudryavtseva and Dr Robert Duffin all join us as Super Science Fellows. Dr Popping and Dr Elson are based at UWA working on HI surveys with ASKAP and Dr Kudryavtseva and Dr Duffin are based at Curtin working on slow radio transients and solar radio science respectively.  Our ranks of PhD students are also growing with the addition of Derek Gertsmann and Hayden Rampadarath. We wish them all a warm welcome to ICRAR. If you would like to be one of our next new staff members, ICRAR has ten positions currently open for application.  To apply, visit our employment page.

New clues on the formation of Globular Clusters

An image of Globular Cluster, Omega Centauri captured by the Hubble Space Telescope. Image Credit: NASA, ESA, and the Hubble Heritage Project (STScI/AURA). In a letter published in the Astrophysical Journal, ICRAR astronomer Dr Kenji Bekki outlines his discovery that the globular clusters we observe today may have evolved from massive “super clusters” in the distant past. 

Robotic telescope swings into action for cosmic explosion

This image was captured with the Zadko telescope during the event. The green squares are known sources and red square shows the bright Just 215 seconds after receiving a signal from NASA and with no direct human involvement, the Zadko telescope turned its attention to the light coming from a powerful explosion millions of light years away.

WA soars into top 100 supercomputing list

Photo of POD in-situ at iVEC@Murdoch. Image courtesy iVEC.For the first time in history, Western Australia has entered the prestigious ranks of the top 100 supercomputers on the planet, thanks to iVEC’s installation of a Performance Optimised Data Centre (POD) at its Murdoch facility. 

Researcher Interview: Professor Peter Hall

Professor Peter HallRead about what tempted ICRAR's Deputy Director into radio astronomy engineering, and the role cheese sandwiches played in his career.  Professor Hall discusses the early days of the SKA project and ICRAR's success over the past year.

e-VLBI2010 workshop

eVLBI2010 Workshop participants

The e-VLBI2010 workshop was held in Perth on October 18-20, hosted by ICRAR at the Perth Zoo.  The focus of e-VLBI 2010 was recent scientific and technical advances in e-VLBI, and was well attended  by the international VLBI community.

The workshop was a great success and many of the presentations can be downloaded for those that couldn't attend. Attendees at e-VLBI2010 were also treated to visits from some of Perth Zoo's inhabitants during breaks. 

Visit the conference website.

CAASTRO off to a running start

ImageThe Australian Research Council recently announced $20.6 million for a new Centre of Excellence for All-sky Astrophysics (CAASTRO).  CAASTRO has already started hiring researchers and other staff at each of its nodes.

ICRAR Globe-Trotting

ICRAR staff and students have continued to travel the world meeting up with collaborators and presenting at conferences.  Our ICT team have been particularly busy, travelling to conferences overseas focusing on supercomputing and databases. 

ICRAR Director Professor Peter Quinn and ICT Program Head Winthrop Professor Andreas Wicenec attended the SC10 conference in New Orleans to discuss High Performance Computing, Networking, Storage, and Analysis, all areas important for the SKA.  They also visited NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory on the way back to ICRAR. 

Research Associate Professor Kevin Vinsen also travelled to the Extremely Large Databases (XLDB) conference at Stanford, where he presented a 'lightning talk' on the SKA. 

National SKA News

First six ASKAP antennas constructed

Credit: Courtesy of the Department of Commerce, Western AustraliaCSIRO’s Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder (or ASKAP) project continues to progress to schedule, with five new antennas constructed at the Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory (MRO) during the months of September and October, 2010.

Dish repurposed in New Zealand

Credit: The National Business Review/Chris Keall (http://www.nbr.co.nz/article/telecom-hands-giant-satellite-dish-aut-133494)A 30m Telecom NZ satellite dish has been repurposed into New Zealand's largest radio telescope antenna.  Telecom handed the reins of the telescope over to Auckland University of Technology last Friday the 19th of November.  

KAREN connects Australian and New Zealand SKA teams over 5500 km

ImageA significant upgrade in the data connection between Australia and New Zealand is an important milestone to meet increasing data capacity demands for leading-edge international science, including the SKA.  

anzSKA newsletter

The December edition of the anzSKA newsletter will soon be available from the anzSKA website

International SKA News

News from the SKA Program Development Office (SPDO):

  • PrepSKA Work Package 2 (WP2) annual meeting
  • Site Selection Update
  • SPDO signs agreements with IBM and Nokia Siemens Networks
  • SKA Africa News

ICRAR Education Update

Astronomers visit Laverton

ICRAR astronomers Dr Leith Godfrey and Dr John Morgan recently visited Laverton for an evening observing and astronomy event. Their green laser and Dobsonian outreach telescope were great hits with the local kids!    

Work Experience at ICRAR

Innika DeRosaAll Saints' College Year 11 student Innika DeRosa joined ICRAR for a week's work experience in November and spent time with ICRAR's astronomers, engineers and the outreach team.  Read her blog about the week's experiences.  

Summit in the Mid-West

Credit: Lyn BeazleyICRAR's Outreach Team recently attended the Annual Mid-West Science Summit held in Geraldton.  Attended by industry representatives, science organisations and development organisations, the summit features science in and for the Mid-West region of Australia. 

Recent Outreach Visits

Credit: Dr Megan ArgoOutreach staff and ICRAR researchers have been out and about since our last eNewsletter talking with students about astronomy and ICRAR's work.  Dr Megan Argo took Eric the Alien to visit Year 2s at Ursula Frayne College and PhD Candidate Kevin Koay was visited at ICRAR by some Double Helix Science Club students.

Summer Studentships kick off

ICRAR's eight Summer Studentship recipients began their projects this month. The students will be joining us until February 2011 and will work on projects with ICRAR researchers at both Curtin University and The University of Western Australia. Four of the summer students are co-funded with iVEC as part of a joint program.   

For more astronomy news visit the Astronomy WA website

Astronomy WA

7 Fairway, Crawley WA 6009
(+61 8) 6488 7766
ICRAR Curtin
1 Turner Avenue, Bentley WA 6102
(+61 8) 9266 9899
The University of Western Australia Curtin University

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