Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

‘First Light’ For Africa’s Giant Eye

02.09.2005


Astronomers and students at UK universities and observatories can use their PCs to spot stars as faint as a candle on the Moon using a record-breaking new telescope.


NGC 6744 is a large face-on barred spiral galaxy in the star-rich southern constellation of Pavo. It lies at a distance of approximately 30 million light years, and spans almost 150 000 light years in diameter. NGC 6744 is often considered one of the most Milky Way-like galaxies known.



The Southern African Large Telescope (SALT), the largest in the southern hemisphere and equal to the largest in the world, was built by partners in six countries including a UK consortium consisting of Armagh Observatory, the University of Keele, the University of Central Lancashire, the University of Nottingham, the Open University and the University of Southampton.

The £11 million SALT project has now released its first colour images from space, five years after construction started. The UK associates, along with partners in Germany, Poland, New Zealand, South Africa and the USA, have been amazed at the quality of the images, which are the first taken by SALT’s new $600,000 digital camera, SALTICAM.


The ‘first light’ sample images were shot during the camera’s first trial period of operation, which also achieved SALT’s first significant scientific results.

Professor Gordon Bromage, Chairman of the UK SALT Consortium said: “The declaration of first light signifies that SALT has arrived on the astronomical scene. Astronomers within the SALT consortium keenly look forward to the scientific fruits of what has been an extremely successful engineering project.

“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. No longer will it 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.”

Dr. Phil Charles, Director of SALT said: “I am delighted with these First Light images and results that demonstrate the level of operation we have already attained. Of course, we expect these capabilities to improve further as the final construction work is completed and commissioned (particularly the mirror’s edge sensors that maintain the mirror "shape"). To have achieved this within 5 years of the groundbreaking ceremony is a splendid testament to the efforts of the entire SALT Project Team, and I give my hearty congratulations to the Project Manager and Project Scientist, who have set a benchmark for the entire international community. We look forward with great anticipation to the first year of SALT science operations.”

Limited scientific observations have already begun while completion of the telescope’s commissioning continues over the coming months. In the near future installation will begin of the major first generation instrument, the Prime Focus Imaging Spectrograph. SALT science programmes will vary from studies of the most distant and faint galaxies to observations of asteroids and comets in our own solar system. The facility has been completed on time and in budget.

South African President Thabo Mbeki will officially open SALT on 10 November 2005.

Chris Theobald | alfa
Further information:
http://www.uclan.ac.uk/news/2005/web106.htm

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht First Juno science results supported by University of Leicester's Jupiter 'forecast'
26.05.2017 | University of Leicester

nachricht Measured for the first time: Direction of light waves changed by quantum effect
24.05.2017 | Vienna University of Technology

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: Can the immune system be boosted against Staphylococcus aureus by delivery of messenger RNA?

Staphylococcus aureus is a feared pathogen (MRSA, multi-resistant S. aureus) due to frequent resistances against many antibiotics, especially in hospital infections. Researchers at the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut have identified immunological processes that prevent a successful immune response directed against the pathogenic agent. The delivery of bacterial proteins with RNA adjuvant or messenger RNA (mRNA) into immune cells allows the re-direction of the immune response towards an active defense against S. aureus. This could be of significant importance for the development of an effective vaccine. PLOS Pathogens has published these research results online on 25 May 2017.

Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) is a bacterium that colonizes by far more than half of the skin and the mucosa of adults, usually without causing infections....

Im Focus: A quantum walk of photons

Physicists from the University of Würzburg are capable of generating identical looking single light particles at the push of a button. Two new studies now demonstrate the potential this method holds.

The quantum computer has fuelled the imagination of scientists for decades: It is based on fundamentally different phenomena than a conventional computer....

Im Focus: Turmoil in sluggish electrons’ existence

An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.

We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...

Im Focus: Wafer-thin Magnetic Materials Developed for Future Quantum Technologies

Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.

Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...

Im Focus: World's thinnest hologram paves path to new 3-D world

Nano-hologram paves way for integration of 3-D holography into everyday electronics

An Australian-Chinese research team has created the world's thinnest hologram, paving the way towards the integration of 3D holography into everyday...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Marine Conservation: IASS Contributes to UN Ocean Conference in New York on 5-9 June

24.05.2017 | Event News

AWK Aachen Machine Tool Colloquium 2017: Internet of Production for Agile Enterprises

23.05.2017 | Event News

Dortmund MST Conference presents Individualized Healthcare Solutions with micro and nanotechnology

22.05.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

How herpesviruses win the footrace against the immune system

26.05.2017 | Life Sciences

Water forms 'spine of hydration' around DNA, group finds

26.05.2017 | Life Sciences

First Juno science results supported by University of Leicester's Jupiter 'forecast'

26.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>