Radiation from the stars sheds "light" on universe

Image: NASA, ESA and the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)-ESA/Hubble Collaboration.
Acknowledgment: B. Whitmore (Space Telescope Science Institute).

Image: NASA, ESA and the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)-ESA/Hubble Collaboration.
Acknowledgment: B. Whitmore (Space Telescope Science Institute).

Full Image (104.87K)

Tuesday, 9 June 2009

Did you know that Adelaide is playing a key role in a major international project that is changing the way we "see" the universe?

Astrophysicists from the University of Adelaide are among a group of scientists across the globe who are no longer using light to explore the deepest reaches of space.

"When most people think about 'looking at the stars', they think of using a traditional telescope to view space - that is, using light. But in the 21st century, new observatories are using high-energy particles of radiation to gain a much clearer picture of what's going on out there," says Professor Roger Clay, an astrophysicist with the University of Adelaide's School of Chemistry & Physics.

"These new observatories are changing our view of the universe and rewriting the astronomy textbooks. Adelaide is playing a major role in that research," he says.

Professor Clay, who is a former President of the Astronomical Society of Australia, will present the University's next Research Tuesdays free public seminar tonight (Tuesday 9 June).

His talk will show how scientists are able to view the universe "with 21st century eyes", and will discuss some of the key findings already made thanks to the new observatories that the University of Adelaide is collaborating with.

One such facility is the Pierre Auger Observatory, located in Argentina, which is observing celestial radiation containing particles up to 100 million times more energetic than any created by man.

Using the Pierre Auger Observatory, the international research group has made a number of discoveries, such as finding a link between supermassive black holes and the creation of high-energy cosmic rays.

"This work is also providing valuable insights into radiation's role in heating our environment right here in South Australia," Professor Clay says.

WHAT: Research Tuesday: "Stargazing with eyes wide shut. How distant celestial radiation is giving us a whole new perspective on the universe and our own backyards" by Professor Roger Clay
WHERE: Lecture Theatre 102, Napier Building, North Terrace Campus, University of Adelaide
WHEN: 5.30pm Tuesday 9 June
COST: Free, but bookings essential. Email: research.tuesdays@adelaide.edu.au or phone: (08) 8303 3692



Contact Details

Professor Roger Clay
Email: rclay@physics.adelaide.edu.au
School of Chemistry & Physics
The University of Adelaide
Business: +61 8 8313 5046

Mr David Ellis
Email: david.ellis@adelaide.edu.au
Website: https://www.adelaide.edu.au/newsroom/
Deputy Director, Media and Corporate Relations
External Relations
The University of Adelaide
Business: +61 8 8313 5414
Mobile: +61 (0)421 612 762