June 24, 2008

Astronomy Without Borders on Show in China

Australian astronomers working in China say they've remotely controlled telescopes in three nations and streamed the data to a New South Wales observatory.

We're now in the age of astronomy without borders, said Tasso Tzioumis of Australia's Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization's Australia Telescope National Facility.

Tzioumis and colleagues Chris Phillips and Shaun Amy worked with Chinese and Japanese astronomers to control the 25-meter radio telescope of the Shanghai Astronomical Observatory, the 34-meter telescope of the National Institute of Information and Communications Technology in Kashima, Japan, and the CSIRO radio telescopes in New South Wales.

The demonstration establishes two things, said Phillips. First, we've shown Australia can be the data-processing center for these international experiments Â… second, we've proved the Australian, Chinese and Japanese systems, which grew up independently, are compatible. That's important for doing future experiments together in the Asia-Pacific region.

The demonstration occurred last Tuesday at the Shanghai Observatory during the 7th annual international meeting on E-VLBI, or electronic very long baseline interferometry.