ARC CENTRE OF EXCELLENCE FOR ALL SKY
ASTROPHYSICS IN 3D
Unlocking the universe
Inspiring the future
About Astro 3D
An ARC Centre of Excellence For All Sky Astrophysics in 3D
ASTRO 3D – the ARC Centre of Excellence in All Sky Astrophysics – is a collaborative effort of Australia’s highest quality researchers in astrophysics using the world’s best telescopes and innovative 3D technology to answer the Universe’s biggest questions – we aim to understand the evolution of the matter, elements and light in the universe from the Big Bang to the present day.
To answer such enormous questions, we must combine Australian and International expertise in radio astronomy, optical astronomy and theory. The world’s best telescopes and instruments will create not just single images or single spectra, but data cubes which will yield vastly more information about the early universe than has ever been possible before.
Australia’s prototypes for the Square Kilometre Array and the Giant Magellan Telescope will train young astronomers for leading breakthrough programs on the next generation telescopes. We have a fantastic group of astronomers from diverse backgrounds and expertise that one can almost taste the excitement of discoveries to come through ASTRO 3D science.
The ASTRO 3D flagship telescopes – Anglo-Australian Telescope (AAT), Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder (ASKAP), Murchison Widefield Array (MWA) and Skymapper – are collecting unprecedented volumes of multi-dimensional datasets.
For each pixel received by the telescopes – whether it is visible light from the Optical Telescopes (AAT and Skymapper at Siding Springs) or radio frequencies from ASKAP and MWA in the Western Australian desert – we are also collecting detailed spectra, using instruments such as SAMI, to compile a “datacube”. For the first time, ASTRO 3D astronomers will have a 3D understanding of the shape and composition of stars and galaxies in the Universe and how they have changed since the Big Bang. They will also collect data on the chemical makeup of the stars in our Milky Way to better understand the evolution of our Galaxy.
These petabyte-scale volumes of observational data being collected from our current cutting-edge telescopes (and our future next-generation telescopes like the Square Kilometre Array – SKA, and the James Webb Space Telescope – JWST) are also being fed into computer simulations. Using the super-computing facilities at NCI and Pawsey Centre, our theoretical astronomers are developing data management systems and visualisation tools that produce models of the Universe, star and galaxy formation, unlike anything we’ve ever been able to see before.
As a consequence of this cutting-edge 3D data and modelling, ASTRO 3D will be able to utilise tools such as Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, 3D movies and planetarium shows, 3D printed models and files, coupled with links to school curriculum to help both the general public and students to understand and appreciate the new era of discovery in astrophysics.
THE ORIGIN OF MATTER AND THE PERIODIC TABLE
Tracing matter and chemical elements back to the earliest times of the Universe is critical for understanding the birth of the first stars, the formation of first galaxies, and the evolution of galaxies like our Milky Way. ASTRO 3D is building a 3D picture of the formation and evolution of the universe that we see today by combining 3D radio and optical ground and space telescope observations.
The Epoch of Reionisation is one of the least understood parts of cosmic history. ASTRO 3D is combining theoretical simulations on supercomputers with radio and optical observations to understand where the energy came from, when it occurred and how long it took. We are also discovering what the first generation of stars and galaxies looked like and how they evolved.
Large-scale super-computer models of galaxy formation is providing an ever-increasingly detailed theoretical framework for interpreting observations. The models are producing simulations that will track the growth of galaxies in exquisite detail, and allow us to compare the models directly with our 3D observations.
ASTRO 3D telescopes and simulations are producing unprecedented volumes of observational and theoretical data. These Peta-byte scale data sets require sophisticated data management and access systems, as well as visualisation tools to efficiently extract scientific information. ASTRO 3D is implementing a platform for astronomers world-wide to access and analyse the data.
The Centre is partnering with Voyages Indigenous Tourism Australia who operate the Ayers Rock Resort at Uluru. Astronomers chat to tourists and the indigenous community, sharing their knowledge and enthusiasm for astrophysics.
Designed for astronomy enthusiasts and beginners of all ages, Ayers Rock Resort, in partnership with ASTRO 3D will play host to the Uluru Astronomy Weekend. Our astrophysicists will give lectures, demonstrations and panel discussions, as well as participating in stargazing and trivia events.
9 May 2018 With the announcement of funding of the Australian Space Agency, the Australian Academy of Science chatted with ASTRO 3D Director Prof. Lisa Kewley, Associate Investigator Assoc. Prof. Alan Duffy and Affiliate Dr. […]
27 Apr 2018 Education and Outreach Manager Ingrid McCarthy has developed a new ASTRO 3D learning activity for the April YMCA Space Squad participants, based on spectra and how ASTRO 3D astronomers use […]
Large galaxy clusters are the most massive structures in the Universe, comprising 10,000’s of galaxies. As predicted by Einstein, their large mass causes them to act as efficient ”cosmic telescopes” […]
ASTRO 3D astronomers have begun using CSIRO’s $188 million Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder (ASKAP) in a major science survey project – WALLABY (Widefield ASKAP L-band Legacy All-sky Blind surveY) […]