Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

World astronomers unite to harness hawaiian super-telescope

10.10.2006
Astronomers from several major research institutions around the world, including three in the UK, have signed an agreement to exploit a revolutionary new survey telescope sited in Hawaii which is expected to discover billions of new stars, galaxies and solar system objects, and to identify potential ‘killer asteroids’ that threaten the Earth.

Leading UK astronomers based at Durham University, Queen’s University Belfast and the University of Edinburgh have now joined a select group of US and German institutions to exploit an advanced new telescope, Pan-STARRS. Sited on the Hawaiian island of Maui, one of the world's prime astronomical sites, it is equipped with the world's largest digital camera.

While monitoring the sky in the hunt for asteroids that might be heading our way, Pan-STARRS will also build up the most detailed image yet of the universe around us. This will enable astronomers to investigate small solar system objects and search for exploding stars (supernovae), to produce 3-dimensional maps of galaxies and dark matter, to measure the properties of the dark energy and to investigate how galaxies have evolved over half the age of the universe.

Scientists' perception of the cosmos has fundamentally changed in the past few years. Novel technologies have led to a swathe of exciting discoveries, from new planets orbiting nearby stars to the mysterious dark energy that is causing our universe to expand at an ever accelerating rate. The cutting-edge imaging capability of Pan-STARRS will open up a new window onto these fundamental problems.

Cosmologist and Director of Durham's Institute for Computational Cosmology, Professor Carlos Frenk said: “Pan-STARRS is a truly innovative concept that will enable us to tackle some of the outstanding questions in science today, from the threat of killer asteroids to the origin of galaxies and the identity of the dark matter and the dark energy. New results and insights are inevitable.”

Professor Alan Fitzsimmons of Queen’s University shares Professor Frenk’s enthusiasm. He said: “We know very little about asteroids less than 1 km in size. Yet, they hit our Earth much more frequently than their larger cousins. Pan-STARRS has been brilliantly designed to find these objects, and will allow astronomers around the world to understand the risk posed by them.”

John Peacock, Cosmology Professor at Edinburgh University added: “Pan-STARRS will be an amazing tool for studying the make-up of the universe. It will let us measure the properties of dark matter and dark energy in many different ways, more precisely than ever before. It’s a privilege to join such a great project, and we’re all very excited at what lies ahead”.

Over the next three and half years more than 30 of the world’s leading scientists and their students will be committed to analysing the unprecedented flood of data, discovering asteroids and comets, mapping the cosmos and getting closer to the origins of our universe.

The international consortium includes Durham, Edinburgh and Queen’s Universities in the UK, the Max-Planck-Institutes for Astronomy and Extraterrestrial Physics in Germany, and Harvard University, Johns Hopkins University and Las Cumbres Observatory in the USA. The full consortium will contribute about $10 million dollars (5 million pounds) to cover the cost of operating the telescope in Hawaii, which was constructed at a cost of about $40 million dollars (£20 million pounds). Funding for the UK participants is provided by their universities and by the Ogden Trust.

Professor Carlos Frenk | alfa
Further information:
http://www.ras.org.uk/

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht New type of smart windows use liquid to switch from clear to reflective
14.12.2017 | The Optical Society

nachricht New ultra-thin diamond membrane is a radiobiologist's best friend
14.12.2017 | American Institute of Physics

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: Long-lived storage of a photonic qubit for worldwide teleportation

MPQ scientists achieve long storage times for photonic quantum bits which break the lower bound for direct teleportation in a global quantum network.

Concerning the development of quantum memories for the realization of global quantum networks, scientists of the Quantum Dynamics Division led by Professor...

Im Focus: Electromagnetic water cloak eliminates drag and wake

Detailed calculations show water cloaks are feasible with today's technology

Researchers have developed a water cloaking concept based on electromagnetic forces that could eliminate an object's wake, greatly reducing its drag while...

Im Focus: Scientists channel graphene to understand filtration and ion transport into cells

Tiny pores at a cell's entryway act as miniature bouncers, letting in some electrically charged atoms--ions--but blocking others. Operating as exquisitely sensitive filters, these "ion channels" play a critical role in biological functions such as muscle contraction and the firing of brain cells.

To rapidly transport the right ions through the cell membrane, the tiny channels rely on a complex interplay between the ions and surrounding molecules,...

Im Focus: Towards data storage at the single molecule level

The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.

Over the past few years, the building blocks of storage media have gotten ever smaller. But further miniaturization of the current technology is hindered by...

Im Focus: Successful Mechanical Testing of Nanowires

With innovative experiments, researchers at the Helmholtz-Zentrums Geesthacht and the Technical University Hamburg unravel why tiny metallic structures are extremely strong

Light-weight and simultaneously strong – porous metallic nanomaterials promise interesting applications as, for instance, for future aeroplanes with enhanced...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

AKL’18: The opportunities and challenges of digitalization in the laser industry

07.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Plasmonic biosensors enable development of new easy-to-use health tests

14.12.2017 | Health and Medicine

New type of smart windows use liquid to switch from clear to reflective

14.12.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

BigH1 -- The key histone for male fertility

14.12.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>