Astronomy is entering a golden age, in which we seek to understand the complete evolution of the Universe and its constituents. But the key unsolved questions in astronomy demand entirely new approaches that require enormous data sets covering the entire sky.
In the last few years, Australia has invested more than $400 million both in innovative wide-field telescopes and in the powerful computers needed to process the resulting torrents of data. Using these new tools, Australia now has the chance to establish itself at the vanguard of the upcoming information revolution centred on all-sky astrophysics.
CAASTRO has assembled the world-class team who will now lead the flagship scientific experiments on these new wide-field facilities. We will deliver transformational new science by bringing together unique expertise in radio astronomy, optical astronomy, theoretical astrophysics and computation and by coupling all these capabilities to the powerful technology in which Australia has recently invested.
Photo: The official launch of CAASTRO in September 2011. From left to right: Professor Trevor Hambley (Dean of Science, University of Sydney), Professor Bryan Gaensler (CAASTRO Director), Her Excellency Professor Marie Bashir (Governor of NSW), Professor Margaret Sheil (ARC CEO), Dr Alan Finkel (Chair, CAASTRO Advisory Board) and Professor Lister Staveley-Smith (CAASTRO Deputy Director).
CAASTRO is pursuing three interlinked scientific programmes, each of which can be addressed only with the all-sky perspective provided by wide-field telescopes:
- The Evolving Universe: When did the first galaxies form, and how have they then evolved?
- The Dynamic Universe: What is the high-energy physics that drives change in the Universe?
- The Dark Universe: What are the Dark Energy and Dark Matter that dominate the cosmos?
All CAASTRO activities are based on the principle that international leadership comes from commensurate investment in cutting-edge facilities and human capital. In particular, the CAASTRO research program is underpinned by a strong focus on training the next generation of scientists, thus providing a legacy extending well beyond the Centre’s lifetime. The students we mentor and inspire will lead the scientific discoveries made on future wide-field facilities, culminating in the ultimate all-sky telescope, the Square Kilometre Array (SKA). CAASTRO is further motivated by the belief that science is a passionate undertaking, and this passion should be contagious. We aim to leverage the high impact and strong public interest in our discoveries to highlight Australian innovation to the general public and to inspire students to consider careers in science and engineering.
CAASTRO is receiving more than $29M in funding over the period 2011-2018. CAASTRO is led by The University of Sydney, in conjunction with the Australian National University, the University of Melbourne, the University of Western Australia, Curtin University, Swinburne University of Technology, and the University of Queensland, complemented by a group of world-class Australian and international partners.
Please find the CAASTRO Annual Report 2011 here.
A Universal Perspective
- A universal perspective of the cosmos, exploring the sky in its entirety not just section by section.
- A universal perspective of science, engaging teams, scientists and the public in an inclusive and egalitarian way.
- A universal perspective of insight and discovery, understanding how knowledge can be used practically in the wider world.
Photo: CAASTRO Director Professor Bryan Gaensler with two Sydney based PhD students, Kitty Lo (l) and Sarah Reeves (r).