Astronomy on the Altiplano -- Sub-Millimetre Wave Astronomy from the
Atacama Plateau of Chile
UNSW, School of Physics
4-5 p.m., Thursday, 31 May, 2007
School of Physics Common Room
Room 64 Old Main Building
The University of New South Wales
The altiplano is a 5000m elevation plateau in the Andes of South America
where are found the driest temperate-latitude places on the Earth. This
provides superb conditions for sub-millimetre wave astronomy, opening
up new windows for observation through that are inaccessible from other
temperate sites. In these wavebands emission from dust and molecules
is prominent, including the birth sites of massive stars in our own
Galaxy and the red-shifted emission from some of the youngest galaxies
in the Universe.
altiplano nearby to the town of San Pedro de Atacama in Chile is about
to become home to the largest concentration of front-line telescopes
on our planet. While the billion-dollar ALMA (the Atacama Large Millimetre
Array) project is well known, there are eight other telescopes at various
stages in their planning and construction processes. These range from
the 4m NANTEN2 telescope to the 25m CCAT (Cornell Caltech Atacama Telescope).
Three Australian universities (UNSW, Sydney, Macquarie) have recently
joined the international university consortium building the NANTEN2
sub-millimetre wave telescope.
talk will provide an introduction to the Atacama plateau, and in particular
to the NANTEN2 telescope. It will discuss some of the science opportunities
they present, and their complementarity to capabilities of Australia's
own millimetre-wave facilities.
audience is invited to meet the speaker beforehand at 3.45 p.m. over
wine and cheese in the Physics Common Room.