June 29, 2008

Astronomers Up to Speed

By Luntz, Stephen

Australian astronomers have successfully bid for a 10 Gb/s data link across the US. The link will be used to demonstrate the practicality of moving the enormous amounts of data produced by major telescopes over large distances. "This wilt be important for demonstrating techniques that will be used for the international Square Kilometre Array radio telescope (AS, April 2008, pp.20-22)," said Prof Brian Boyle, Director of CSIRO's Australia Telescope National Facility. The link is ten times as fast as the one used by the ATNF to transmit data on Supernova 1987a to Europe in real time (AS, Jan/Feb 2008, p-43).

High-speed links are required for electronic Very Long Baseline Interferometry (VLBI), where information is combined from a number of telescopes all pointed at the same area of sky. "Currently, in a 12-hour VLBI experiment, each telescope used generates about 5500 Gb of data, which is the equivalent of 8500 COs," says Dr Tasso Tzioumis, Coordinator of VLBI Operations and Development at the ATNF. Copyright Control Publications Pty Ltd Jun 2008

(c) 2008 Australasian Science. Provided by ProQuest Information and Learning. All rights Reserved.