Catch up on all the latest ICRAR news below, including details of this year's annual Astrofest!
In this issue:
Welcome to the January issue of ICRAR's eNewsletter, we hope you've had a smooth and enjoyable start to the new year! It's the International Year of Light this year, which tees up perfectly with everything we do at ICRAR, from the computers that use optical fibre in their networks, the telescopes that collect light across the electromagnetic spectrum, and the tools our engineers use when building and testing telecope components. We'll be celebrating at a number of events throughout the year, so keep an eye out if you'd like to join in.
Our first three upcoming events are simply not to be missed, including a world record attempt and the ever-popular annual Astrofest - scroll to the bottom for all the details. We hope to see you at one of them!
This month we've also got some great astronomy news for you below, including both recent research and some announcements from ICRAR. Last but not least, there's some news from the SKA project, and an interview with one of our up and coming astronomers.

See you next time,


Astronomers dissect the aftermath of a Supernova

In research published in the Astrophysical Journal, an Australian led team of astronomers has used radio telescopes in Australia and Chile to see inside the remains of a supernova. The supernova, known as SN1987A, was first seen by observers in the Southern Hemisphere in 1987 when a giant star suddenly exploded at the edge of a nearby dwarf galaxy called the Large Magellanic Cloud.

Dark matter half what we thought, say scientists

A new measurement of dark matter in the Milky Way has revealed there is half as much of the mysterious substance as previously thought.

Monster galaxies gain weight by eating smaller neighbours

Massive galaxies in the Universe have stopped making their own stars and are instead snacking on nearby galaxies, according to research by Australian scientists.

Hungry black hole eats faster than thought possible

Astronomers have discovered a black hole that is consuming gas from a nearby star 10 times faster than previously thought possible. The black hole—known as P13—lies on the outskirts of the galaxy NGC7793 about 12 million light years from Earth and is ingesting a weight equivalent to 100 billion billion hot dogs every minute.

New Staff Members

The following new staff members and postgraduate students have joined ICRAR since the last edition of our eNewsletter;
  • Dan Taranu, CAASTRO;
  • Franz Kirsten, Research Associate;
  • Kamran Ali, PhD Candidate;
  • Raskesh Nath, PhD Candidate;
  • HaiHua Qiao, PhD Candidate;
  • Hongquan Su, PhD Candidate;
  • Vlad Tudor, PhD Candidate;
  • Andrew Butler, PhD Candidate.
We wish them all a warm welcome to ICRAR.
We also warmly welcome Dave Pallot to our University of Western Australia node. Dave previously worked at our Curtin University node and has now journeyed across the river to extend his work with our Data Intensive Astronomy team.

Researcher Interview

Dr Luke Davies

All about the galaxy life cycle
Dr Davies looks at galaxies of all shapes and sizes to compare those that existed in the early Universe to those that formed more recently. Luke's big research question at the moment is 'do galaxies form more stars when they dramatically smash together?' - we'd sure like to know!

Other News

ICRAR Visiting Fellowship for Senior Women in Astronomy

ICRAR is very pleased to announce that Dr Andreea Font will join us for three months as the first ICRAR Visiting Fellow under the “ICRAR Visiting Fellowship Program for Senior Women in Astronomy”.

ICRAR in European Space Agency's Top 5 Microgravity Experiments!

ICRAR astronomer Dr Danail Oreschkow was on one of the last flights on the now-retired European Space Agency's (ESA) Zero-G Airbus A300 research plane in 2014, and his team's work has been included in ESA's list of the top 5 projects of all time to grace their iconic airborne lab.

Australian and Korean telescopes connected for detailed view of the Universe

This one's for the astronomers on our list: CSIRO’s Australia Telescope Compact Array (ATCA) is extending into exciting new territory to provide some of the very highest resolutions achievable on Earth by combining with other telescopes at high frequency bands used in Radio Astronomy.

International SKA News

Astronomical Investment for Square Kilometre Array Radio Telescope

The University of Western Australia and the National Astronomical Observatories, Chinese Academy of Sciences (NAOC), has signed an agreement that will see up to 50 Chinese PhD students visit WA over the next five years.

Hundreds of engineers and scientists gather near Perth to advance the SKA Telescope

Some 300 engineers and scientists from 15 countries travelled to Fremantle, Western Australia, to take part in a global overview of the status, progress and way forward for the Square Kilometre Array in September 2014.

International SKA News centre

The SKA organisation office has been busy in the last few months, with lots of fresh news to share, be sure to check out their SKAO monthly bulletin for all the latest updates.

Upcoming Events

Rosetta - Rendezvous with a comet

After a decade-long journey, ESA’s Rosetta spacecraft has become the first mission to rendezvous with a comet, opening a new chapter in Solar System exploration. Join us as we welcome Dr Paolo Ferri (Head of Mission Operations, pdf biography) and Professor Mark McCaughrean (Senior Science Advisor, pdf biography) from the European Space Agency for a special presentation about this extraordinary mission and the important role played by Western Australia's own deep space ground station in New Norcia.
  • Date: Tuesday, February 17th, 2015
  • Location: The University of Western Australia Club
  • Time: 5:30pm for a 6pm start.

World's Largest Astronomy Lesson World Record Attempt

Take part in setting a new world record and join the Shire of Kalamunda’s ‘World’s Largest Astronomy Lesson’! People of all ages and walks of life are invited to come down to Maida Vale Reserve on Saturday 28th February to participate in a fascinating journey through the night sky and help make history.
  • Date: Saturday, February 28th, 2015
  • Location: Maida Vale Reserve, Ridge Hill Road, Maida Vale
  • Time: 6:30pm

Astrofest 2015

Australia’s largest annual astronomy festival is returning in 2015! Astrofest, a vibrant celebration of astronomy and Western Australian science, will be held at Curtin Stadium on the Curtin University campus in Bentley on Saturday 28th March. Don't forget to preregister for your chance to win a prize!
  • Date: Saturday, March 28th, 2015
  • Location: Curtin Stadium, Kent Street, Bentley
  • Time: 5:30pm-9:30pm


ICRAR Curtin
1 Turner Avenue, Bentley WA 6102
(+61 8) 9266 9899

7 Fairway, Crawley WA 6009
(+61 8) 6488 7766
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