Using next-generation radio telescopes in Europe, South Africa and Western Australia, the 4 Pi Sky project will look for energetic black holes, colliding neutron stars, and astrophysical explosions all the way back to the first stars.
Professor Rob Fender of the School of Physics and Astronomy at Southampton, who leads the five-year programme, says: “The universe is a violent and dynamic environment in which explosions of massive stars can outshine an entire galaxy and black holes swallow whole stars.
“These high-energy bursts emit radio waves, which can be detected at vast distances. However, previous telescopes could only see a tiny fraction of the sky and missed 99 per cent of these important events. The new telescopes can monitor the whole sky and will find thousands of such events. These observations can shed light on phenomena at extremes of physics unachievable in laboratories on earth, and can act as cosmic searchlights, illuminating the 'dark ages' before galaxies were formed.
“This project might even help us identify the first sources of gravitational waves, and in turn test the most fundamental theories of gravity.”
Funded by the European Research Council, the 4 Pi Sky programme will use three radio telescopes – LOFAR (Low Frequency Array), which has sites across Europe, including at Chilbolton, Hampshire; MeerKAT in South Africa; and ASKAP in western Australia.
In a new departure for astronomy, scientists will be able to link from telescope to telescope to follow transient phenomena as the Earth rotates, using new software that will be developed to provide a ‘detect and alert’ system for all three facilities.
The project will also collaborate with ground-based optical telescopes and with the orbiting MAXI X-ray telescope, which is located on the International Space Station.
“The multi-wavelength dimension will provide us with crucial information on the nature of the radio sources,” says Professor Fender.
“Working with LOFAR, MeerKAT and ASKAP, and the optical and X-ray telescopes, we will build a global network to monitor the whole sky. Every time such an advance has happened in the past, exciting new discoveries have been made – who knows what we might find this time.”
Helene Murphy | alfa
SF State astronomer searches for signs of life on Wolf 1061 exoplanet
20.01.2017 | San Francisco State University
Molecule flash mob
19.01.2017 | Technische Universität Wien
An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...
Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...
Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.
While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...
Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales
Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...
Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.
As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...
19.01.2017 | Event News
10.01.2017 | Event News
09.01.2017 | Event News
20.01.2017 | Awards Funding
20.01.2017 | Materials Sciences
20.01.2017 | Life Sciences