Feeds

Out of the diamond planet, a research group emerges

Taking the long wide view of astronomy

Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable

Sydney University is leading a research collaboration that inverts the familiar approach to astronomy: instead of more powerful telescopes looking at smaller parts of the sky, CAASTRO (Centre for All-sky Astrophysics) will be concentrating on whole-of-sky astronomy.

The other partners in the group are the Australian National University, the University of Melbourne, the University of Western Australia, Curtin University, and the Swinburne Institute of Technology.

It’s going to be a multi-disciplinary group, covering radio and optical astronomy, theoretical astrophysics, and the computer sciences.

According to CAASTRO director Professor Bryan Gaensler, all-sky astronomy poses three distinct challenges. “First, you need to build new types of cameras and receivers that have much wider fields of view than anything built previously.”

Of course, a snapshot of the whole sky is going to yield a shed-load of data. Imaging those wide fields, Professor Gaensler said, yields so much data that you can’t store it: “You need to use supercomputers to process the data in near-real-time, and then discard it”.

Finally, there’s the “needle in the haystack” problem: even after it’s processed, the result is going to be “extremely large and complex multi-dimensional data sets,” he told El Reg. “You need to find clever and efficient ways of searching through all this information for the signal you are interested in.”

The research group describes its mission as looking for answers on “the evolving universe, the dynamic universe, and the dark universe.”

It will take advantage of more than $AU400 million that’s been put into various instruments that are either ready-to-go or under construction: SkyMapper, which is due to go into service within a month or so; the Australian Square Kilometer Array Pathfinder, which will start gathering data in about six months; the Murchison Widefield Array which, although under construction, has been “yielding beautiful data” for a year; the venerable Anglo-Australian Telescope; the Square Kilometer Array Molonglo Prototype, which is yielding data; with the Pawsey High Performance Computing Centre for SKA Science providing data processing (its first stage is already operational).

While some of this instrument set is still under construction, Professor Gaensler said many instruments, in particular radio telescopes, are usable before they’re officially completed, “since all you need are two or more dishes linked together to begin taking data … the Murchison Widefield Array is a case in point.”

And CAASTRO’s collaborators are already seeing results, including last month’s diamond planet discovery. Professor Gaensler explained that while the group was created at the beginning of April, it had been ramping up and adding staff prior to its formal launch today (September 12).

The University of Sydney announcement is here. ®

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

More from The Register

next story
Manic malware Mayhem spreads through Linux, FreeBSD web servers
And how Google could cripple infection rate in a second
EU's top data cops to meet Google, Microsoft et al over 'right to be forgotten'
Plan to hammer out 'coherent' guidelines. Good luck chaps!
US judge: YES, cops or feds so can slurp an ENTIRE Gmail account
Crooks don't have folders labelled 'drug records', opines NY beak
FLAPE – the next BIG THING in storage
Find cold data with flash, transmit it from tape
Seagate chances ARM with NAS boxes for the SOHO crowd
There's an Atom-powered offering, too
Gartner: To the right, to the right – biz sync firms who've won in a box to the right...
Magic quadrant: Top marks for, er, completeness of vision, EMC
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Mobile application security vulnerability report
The alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, and the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.