Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

From desktop to distant galaxy

02.09.2005


Science students at The University of Nottingham will be soon be able to explore distant stars in faraway galaxies by logging on to their PCs, following the release of the first colour images from a state-of-the-art giant telescope.



Students and staff in the Schools of Chemistry and Physics and Astronomy will be using the SALT (South African Large Telescope) to study how stars and galaxies form, to detect planets around other stars, and to learn about the chemicals in space that may form the basis of life. They plan to access the high-tech instrument through the internet.

SALT is the largest single telescope in the southern hemisphere, with a 91-segment hexagonal mirror array 11 metres across. Five years after construction began, the first colour images from space taken by the telescope’s new $600,000 digital camera SALTCAM, have now been released and astronomers have been amazed at their quality. The ’first light’ sample images were shot during the camera’s first trial period of operation.


The £11 million project has been funded by national research agencies and universities in South Africa, Germany, Poland, the USA, New Zealand and the UK. The University of Nottingham is one of six UK institutions that came together in 2000 to form the UK SALT Consortium (UKSC), which has invested more than $1 million. Nottingham is the administering institution for UKSC, led by Project Administrator Dr Trevor Farren, Business Development Officer in the School of Chemistry.

Peter Sarre, Professor of Chemistry and Molecular Astrophysics in the School of Chemistry, said: “To build a huge telescope of this kind is an enormous feat of engineering, and it’s been built to schedule and to budget. We are thrilled with the first images and can’t wait for the commissioning to be completed and for our research projects to begin.”

Arfon Smith, one of Professor Sarre’s postgraduate students, has recently returned from the telescope’s base at Sutherland near Cape Town, where he worked on a short project developing part of the computing software.

Arfon said: “When I first came to Nottingham I had no idea I’d get to be involved with such an exciting project as SALT. A telescope of this size will allow me to look back to the early universe for organic molecules — the building blocks of life.”

Professor Gordon Bromage, Chairman of the UK SALT Consortium, said: “SALT is truly representative of this century. Not only is it a sophisticated computer-controlled precision instrument, but it is also an internet-age telescope. It will no longer be necessary for astronomers to travel to South Africa to use it. Instead, they will submit their observing requests and receive the resulting data over the internet.

“In many respects this makes SALT far more like a space-based telescope like the Hubble Space Telescope.”

The Vice-Chancellor of The University of Nottingham Sir Colin Campbell attended the ground-breaking ceremony at the start of the project five years ago and Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research Professor Don Grierson will represent the University at a ceremony on November 10, when South African president Thabo Mbeki will officially open SALT.

Emma Thorne | alfa
Further information:
http://www.nottingham.ac.uk
http://www.salt.ac.za

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht The moon is front and center during a total solar eclipse
24.07.2017 | NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

nachricht Superluminous supernova marks the death of a star at cosmic high noon
24.07.2017 | Royal Astronomical Society

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: 3-D scanning with water

3-D shape acquisition using water displacement as the shape sensor for the reconstruction of complex objects

A global team of computer scientists and engineers have developed an innovative technique that more completely reconstructs challenging 3D objects. An ancient...

Im Focus: Manipulating Electron Spins Without Loss of Information

Physicists have developed a new technique that uses electrical voltages to control the electron spin on a chip. The newly-developed method provides protection from spin decay, meaning that the contained information can be maintained and transmitted over comparatively large distances, as has been demonstrated by a team from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute. The results have been published in Physical Review X.

For several years, researchers have been trying to use the spin of an electron to store and transmit information. The spin of each electron is always coupled...

Im Focus: The proton precisely weighted

What is the mass of a proton? Scientists from Germany and Japan successfully did an important step towards the most exact knowledge of this fundamental constant. By means of precision measurements on a single proton, they could improve the precision by a factor of three and also correct the existing value.

To determine the mass of a single proton still more accurate – a group of physicists led by Klaus Blaum and Sven Sturm of the Max Planck Institute for Nuclear...

Im Focus: On the way to a biological alternative

A bacterial enzyme enables reactions that open up alternatives to key industrial chemical processes

The research team of Prof. Dr. Oliver Einsle at the University of Freiburg's Institute of Biochemistry has long been exploring the functioning of nitrogenase....

Im Focus: The 1 trillion tonne iceberg

Larsen C Ice Shelf rift finally breaks through

A one trillion tonne iceberg - one of the biggest ever recorded -- has calved away from the Larsen C Ice Shelf in Antarctica, after a rift in the ice,...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Closing the Sustainability Circle: Protection of Food with Biobased Materials

21.07.2017 | Event News

»We are bringing Additive Manufacturing to SMEs«

19.07.2017 | Event News

The technology with a feel for feelings

12.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Ultrathin device harvests electricity from human motion

24.07.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Scientists announce the quest for high-index materials

24.07.2017 | Materials Sciences

ADIR Project: Lasers Recover Valuable Materials

24.07.2017 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>