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
Engineering team images tiny quasicrystals as they form
18.08.2017 | Cornell University
Astrophysicists explain the mysterious behavior of cosmic rays
18.08.2017 | Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology
Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.
As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...
Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.
Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...
For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.
While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...
An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.
The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...
A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.
Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...
16.08.2017 | Event News
04.08.2017 | Event News
26.07.2017 | Event News
18.08.2017 | Life Sciences
18.08.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
18.08.2017 | Materials Sciences