The Centre for Astrophysics and Supercomputing is one of the premier research Astronomy centres in Australia. Research interests include galaxies, globular clusters, pulsars, stars and planets, supermassive black holes, Big Bang cosmology and scientific visualisation.
This collection also available via: iTunes U | RSS
Almost one hundred years ago, astronomer Edwin Hubble revolutionised our understanding of the Universe and our place in it when he discovered that it extends beyond the Milky Way. Since then, astronomers have identified millions of galaxies beyond our own, and developed sophisticated techniques to measure their distances and motions. In this talk, I will show how astronomers map the Universe using large surveys of galaxies, and how "cosmic maps" are an essential tool in Cosmology, allowing us to understand the physical nature and history of the Universe. Presented on 15 April 2016.
Black holes are among the most bizarre objects predicted by Einstein's theory of General Relativity. Many people may not realise that our own galaxy hosts a supermassive black hole at its centre that is three million times more massive than our own Sun! In this talk Professor Darren Croton from the Centre for Astrophysics and Supercomputing will discuss the physics of black holes and their formation, how they can grow to become so massive, active black hole "quasars" in the distant universe, and the unexpected impact that a supermassive black hole can have on the evolution of an entire galaxy. Professor Croton will finish by side stepping into the exotic world of wormholes, the black hole's tormented cousin. Presented on 21 October 2016.
Almost 50 years ago Jocelyn Bell built a new telescope with her supervisor Antony Hewish that had an unusual property: it had high time resolution. The radio sky was thought to only change on long timescales but this new telescope's ability to explore a different regime of phase space meant that it made one of the greatest discoveries in astronomy, that of pulsars. Pulsars are neutron stars, the collapsed cores of once-massive stars. They have been used to perform some of the most accurate experiments in physics, and were the motivation for the construction of the LIGO telescope that recently discovered gravitational waves. In this talk Professor Matthew Bailes will explain how whilst trying to find new pulsars astronomers stumbled across a brand new phenomenon, the Fast Radio Bursts. These millisecond-duration radio flashes appear to be coming from half way across the Universe but nobody knows what they are. Presented on 30 September 2016.
One of the greatest scientific discoveries of all times was achieved last week: the first detection of gravitational waves, emitted by a black hole binary. This discovery follows decades of intense work, and opens a new window to the Universe. This talk, for scientists and for non-scientists, is about black hole binaries, and the dawn of gravitational wave astronomy. This talk is about the curious romance of Alice and Bob. Nobody has heard it before, but we can speculate about what happened: how they were born, how they grew, how they first met, and how they finally became one forever. The true story is actually written in space-time, has been traveling across the Universe for more than a billion years, and is reaching Earth now. This is the story of two distant black holes merging into one.
You may be wondering how we can hear it: is there really a way to listen to the voice of space-time? I will endeavour to answer this question, and explain how we attempt to discover new sounds of the Universe that we have…
In the last 50 years astronomers have come to realise that there exists an invisible type of mass in the Universe, outweighing all of the atoms in every star, planet and person five times over. It's responsible for holding the galaxy together, for making the galaxies form where they do in the cosmos and is our best guide to physics beyond the Higgs boson, aka the 'god' particle. Yet astronomers are no nearer to understanding its nature. Using a combination of baby universes created on Australia's most powerful telescopes, next generation telescopes like the Australian SKA Pathfinder, and a wine glass, Alan will explore what we know about the invisible and how Australia may uncover the most sought after particle in physics with the world’s first dark matter detector in the Southern Hemisphere, SABRE. Presented on 17 June 2016.
The Solar system is a remarkable place filled with wonderfully varied worlds. Travelling outwards from the sun we first encounter the hellish, rocky bodies of Mercury and Venus, continue to the cooler, water bearing world of Earth and our close neighbour Mars. Beyond the asteroid belt we hit the majestic gas giants of Jupiter and Saturn and continuing on our voyage we finally reach the cold ice giants of Uranus and Neptune. The Solar system is our home and our starting point for understanding planetary systems and their architectures. Until the late 20th century these were the only planets known to us, however, in the last two decades, there has been enormous and rapid progress in the discovery and understanding of planets beyond our Solar system, dubbed Exoplanets. As we discover more and more of these exoplanets, and the planetary systems to which they belong, our understanding of planet formation and planetary architectures has changed and raised several questions. Where did these Jupiter-sized, gas giants…
Celebrate the International Year of Light and National Science Week 2015 with Assoc. Prof. Chris Fluke, as he hosts his fifth annual review of the State of the Universe. This year, the focus is on the visual Universe. No supercomputers. No radiotelescopes. Just good old fashioned astronomy with images. Taken from spacecraft. Which needed radio telescopes to collect the images on Earth. And computers to process them. Presented by Chris Fluke on 14 August 2015.
Most things in the Universe happen over millions or even billions of years but some things change on the timescales of human life and can be seen to change in a matter of months, days, or even seconds. These sources are called transients and are some of the most extreme events in the Universe, things like the collapse of a dying star, or a collision of two massive objects. Humans have been observing astronomical transients for centuries, from supernovae to gamma ray bursts, but recent advances in telescope power and technology mean we’re observing more and more transients each year and even finding new types such as the discovery of fast radio bursts in the past decade. This talk will focus on these elusive and ephemeral objects, how they are found, and where they are coming from.
The skies of northern Chile are considered the best in the world for astronomy at visible through millimetre wavelengths. Most of the observatories are in the Norte Chico and Atacama regions. Cerro Paranal Observatory is the largest in the world. The Atacama Large Millimeter Array is an international astronomical facility composed of a group of up to 66 radio antennae working together 5000 meters above sea level in the hghlands (Llano de Chajnantor) of the Andes Mountain Range, 50 kms from San Pedro de Atacama. ALMA is the most global astronomical project. Under development is the LSST - Large Synoptic Survey Telescope. The project, which brings together 19 universities and laboratories is under construction on Cerro Pachon and will be able to view, weekly, the entire visible Universe using a digital camera of 3000 million pixels. Cerro Armazones, 3,060 meters in height, situated in the Atacama desert some 130 km south of Antofagasta, Chile, is the site chosen for the largest telescope in the world -known as …
The Universe began in the Big Bang now firmly established at 13.7 billion years ago. But then what? How did the hot expanding hydrogen of the early Universe turn in to the magnificent tapestry of the Universe we see around us? In this lecture I will tell the story of the galaxies, the building blocks of our Universe and how modern observations from large telescopes on the ground and in space have literally let us see how the galaxies have grown up from small wisps to the beautiful structures in which we live today, and revealed their ultimate future.