How do astronomers explore the Universe?Astrophysicists use extremely sensitive telescopes and instruments to collect the light emitted by stars, gas and...

The Story of Light: Surveying the Cosmos

Location:

500 Harris St
2007 NSW
Australia

Venue:
Powerhouse Museum
Image for Vivid Sydney 2017: The Story of Light

Speakers

A/Prof Alan Duffy

Alan Duffy

Astrophysicist at Swinburne University

A/Prof. Alan Duffy is an astronomer at Swinburne University creating model universes on supercomputers to understand how galaxies like our own Milky Way form and explore the nature of the hidden universe; dark matter and dark energy. He is a team member of two main surveys with the next generation Australian SKA Pathfinder and is Co-Investigator in the world's first dark matter detector in the Southern Hemisphere in Stawell, Victoria. He is a regular on ABC Breakfast News and Ten’s The Project and is an experienced public speaker, ranging from amateur astronomy nights, school talks to TEDx at the Sydney Opera House. He is participating in "The Story of Light: Surveying the Cosmos".

Dr. Katie Mack

Katie Mack

Theoretical Astrophysicist at Melbourne University

Dr. Katie Mack is a theoretical astrophysicist. Her work focuses on finding new ways to learn about the early universe and fundamental physics using astronomical observations, probing the building blocks of nature by examining the cosmos on the largest scales. Throughout her career as a researcher at Caltech, Princeton, Cambridge, and now Melbourne University, she has studied dark matter, black holes, cosmic strings, and the formation of the first galaxies in the Universe. Katie is also a science writer, an active online science communicator and is passionate about science outreach. She is participating in "The Story of Light: Surveying the Cosmos".
 

Dr. Simon O'Toole

Simon O’Toole

Project Scientist for the Australian Astronomical Observatory

Dr. Simon O’Toole spent a decade hunting planets orbiting stars other than the sun. He is now the Project Scientist for the Australian Astronomical Observatory Data Central project, which connects researchers to a wealth of theoretical and observational data from telescopes across the globe. Dr O’Toole builds tools that help people access astronomical data and images and interact with them in meaningful ways. He is participating in "The Story of Light: Surveying the Cosmos".
 

Dr. Ángel López-Sánchez

Angel Lopez-Sanchez

Research Astronomer, Australian Astronomical Observatory and Macquarie University

Dr. Ángel R. López-Sánchez is an astronomer and science communicator at the Australian Astronomical Observatory and the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the Macquarie University. He studies how the gas is converted into stars in nearby galaxies and how this affects galaxy evolution. He also provides support for visiting astronomers to the Anglo-Australian Telescope (AAT, Siding Spring Observatory, NSW). Dr. López-Sánchez is a passionate science communicator who continuously gives talks and public lectures, writes popular science writings and organizes stargazing activities. He is participating in "The Story of Light: Surveying the Cosmos".
 

A/Prof Tara Murphy

Tara Murphy

Astrophysicist & ARC Future Fellow, University of Sydney

A/Prof. Tara Murphy is an astrophysicist working in the School of Physics at the University of Sydney. She is an ARC Future Fellow and a Chief Investigator in the ARC Centre of Excellence for All Sky Astrophysics. Her research focuses on detecting and studying transient and highly variable astrophysical phenomena with next generation radio telescopes. She leads an international team of researchers searching for variable and transient sources with the Murchison Widefield Array and the Australian SKA Pathfinder telescopes in Western Australia. Tara is passionate about teaching and high school outreach. She has been a director of the National Computer Science School since 2004 and director of the NCSS Challenge. In 2014 Tara co-founded a start-up company, Grok Learning, to get high school students around the world excited about computational thinking. She is participating in "The Story of Light: Surveying the Cosmos".
 

Access and Inclusion

For more accessibility information see the Vivid accessibility map.

  • Wheelchair accessible - Access to the venue is suitable for wheelchairs (toilets, ramps/lifts etc.) and designated wheelchair spaces are available.
  • Companion card - The Companion Card is for people with a significant permanent disability, who always need a companion to provide attendant care type support in order to participate at most available community venues and activities.

Event Details

How do astronomers explore the Universe?

Astrophysicists use extremely sensitive telescopes and instruments to collect the light emitted by stars, gas and galaxies. The analysis of these data will provide the information needed to unlock the mysteries of the Cosmos.

However this is not an easy task. Over the last two decades large international collaborations have been formed with the aim to map the skies, catalogue celestial objects, extract their properties and perform statistical analyses. These large astronomical surveys are now providing major advances in our understanding of the Cosmos at all scales, from searching for planets around other stars to detecting gravitational waves.

Australia is at the forefront of these collaborations thanks to the unique instruments at the Anglo-Australian Telescope (AAT) and the development of radio-interferometers as the Australian SKA Pathfinder (ASKAP).

In this event, five professional astrophysicists will discuss how astronomers map the Cosmos using the big data collected with optical and radio telescopes by large astronomical surveys. Hear about the exciting challenges in detecting planets around other stars, learn about how these studies allow us to understand the formation and evolution of galaxies, including our Milky Way, how we study dark matter and dark energy and, in summary, how astronomers search the skies to understand our position in the Cosmos. The panel will happily answer any questions about the Universe, so bring yours along.

Panel:

  • Dr. Simon O’Toole (Australian Astronomical Observatory): Surveying stars and exoplanets.
  • Dr. Ángel R. López-Sánchez (Australian Astronomical Observatory & Macquarie University): Surveying the galaxies.
  • A/Prof. Tara Murphy (University of Sydney / CAASTRO): Surveying the invisible Universe.
  • Dr. Katie Mack (University of Melbourne): Surveying the deep Universe.

Host:

  • A/Prof. Alan R. Duffy (Swinburne University)

This event is presented by the Australian Astronomical Observatory (AAO).

Access and Inclusion

For more accessibility information see the Vivid accessibility map.

  • Wheelchair accessible - Access to the venue is suitable for wheelchairs (toilets, ramps/lifts etc.) and designated wheelchair spaces are available.
  • Companion card - The Companion Card is for people with a significant permanent disability, who always need a companion to provide attendant care type support in order to participate at most available community venues and activities.