Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Developing a new vision for European astronomy

25.01.2007
A British astronomer is to lead a Pan-European project to develop a new ‘roadmap to the stars’.

Michael Bode, Professor of Astrophysics at Liverpool John Moores University, has been charged with the vital task of developing the new 'roadmap’, which will act as the blue print for the development of astronomy in Europe over the next 20 years. The roadmap will detail the infrastructure needed to deliver European astronomy’s science vision – being agreed at a conference in Poitiers now (23-25th January 2007) hosted and organised by ASTRONET, a consortium of eleven European Science Agencies.

Big questions remain in our understanding of the Universe, and ASTRONET has divided these challenges into four scientific areas:

- Do we understand the extremes of the Universe?
- How do galaxies form and evolve?
- How do stars and planets form?
- How do we fit in?
Answering these questions will require development of existing infrastructure as well as European wide investment in new facilities. Professor Bode and the team of leading European astronomers who will work with him will consider various possible facilities.

For example, on the ground they will be considering the case for building the largest radio and optical telescopes ever, plus new facilities for detecting exotic sub-atomic particles. In space they will be considering the most sophisticated space observatories yet developed, not only observing across the electromagnetic spectrum but also gravitational waves. They are also aware of the impact astronomy has in enthusing young people to study science and the inspirational role it can play.

The infrastructure roadmap is crucial to the success of Europe’s ASTRONET project, which is aiming to consolidate and reinforce the highly competitive position that European astronomy has attained at the beginning of the 21st century.

Commenting on the appointment, Professor Keith Mason, Chief Executive of the Particle Physics and Astronomy Research Council (PPARC), which represents the UK in the ASTRONET consortium, said:

“Professor Bode’s appointment reflects his outstanding contribution to astronomy over the last 25 years, both in the UK and internationally. He combines both the high levels of astronomical expertise, diplomacy and negotiating skills required to bring Europe's community of astronomers together to determine which programmes to back.

“Getting such a consensus will be hard work but it will be highly beneficial for the long-term health and competitiveness of European astronomy and space research. European astronomers have the opportunity to lead the way in mankind's exploration of the Universe over the coming decades."

ASTRONET has an extensive brief covering all astrophysical objects from the Sun and Solar system to the global structure of the Universe, as well as every observing technique, in space and from the ground, and from radiation at any wavelength to astroparticles and gravitational waves.

Working on behalf of the eleven ASTRONET agencies and with the European astronomy community, Professor Bode is aiming to devise a priority list of space missions and ground-based facilities to be developed over the next two decades. He will report his recommendations in mid 2008.

The foundations are already in place for the astronomical roadmap as it is commonplace for European projects to be funded collaboratively by a variety of agencies. The European Southern Observatory and the European Space Agency are just two examples of such Europe-wide collaborations.

Professor Bode explained:

“Astronomy has entered an era of exciting discoveries that provide answers to fundamental questions. At the heart of our increasing understanding of the Universe is the development of large research facilities and new technologies, such as ground-based observatories, space missions, “virtual observatories”, and large-scale computing facilities.

“Given the scale and cost of these facilities, it is vital that scientists and key funding bodies across Europe reach a consensus, based on a defined scientific imperative, about which developments to invest in over the next 20 years. By gathering together the main national research organisations in Europe, as well as the European Southern Observatory and the European Space Agency, ASTRONET is striving to produce such a European, long-term strategic planning process for astronomy.”

Press enquiries:
- PPARC:
Julia Maddock
PPARC Press Office
Tel 01793 442094
Julia.maddock@pparc.ac.uk
- LJMU:
Professor Mike Bode
Liverpool John Moores University
mfb@astro.livjm.ac.uk
Mobile 07968 422 360
Shonagh Wilkie
Direct line: 0151 231 3346
Mobile: 07968 422 508
Email: s.wilkie@ljmu.ac.uk

Julia Maddock | alfa
Further information:
http://www.pparc.ac.uk

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht Study offers new theoretical approach to describing non-equilibrium phase transitions
27.04.2017 | DOE/Argonne National Laboratory

nachricht SwRI-led team discovers lull in Mars' giant impact history
26.04.2017 | Southwest Research Institute

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: Making lightweight construction suitable for series production

More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.

Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...

Im Focus: Wonder material? Novel nanotube structure strengthens thin films for flexible electronics

Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.

"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Fighting drug resistant tuberculosis – InfectoGnostics meets MYCO-NET² partners in Peru

28.04.2017 | Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Wireless power can drive tiny electronic devices in the GI tract

28.04.2017 | Medical Engineering

Ice cave in Transylvania yields window into region's past

28.04.2017 | Earth Sciences

Nose2Brain – Better Therapy for Multiple Sclerosis

28.04.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>