Future of Engineering

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Future of Astronomy - Trends and Predictions

Future of Astronomy

This post @ The Future of Engineering Blog presents web resources that discuss the future trends in astronomy and space science.

Scientists to discuss future of astronomy from space
Approximately 150 astronomers from around the country will gather at the University of Chicago for a workshop April 2 to 5 to ponder what sort of orbiting telescope should probe the universe at optical and ultraviolet wavelengths once the Hubble Space Telescope's two-decade mission ends in 2010. The Next Generation Telescope, scheduled for launch in 2009, will scan the skies at infrared wavelengths. The Hubble Telescope studies the universe at optical and ultraviolet wavelengths.

Australia's Astronomy Future - Mission: To maximise Australia’s engagement in the new generation of optical/infrared and radio telescopes, through world-class scientific research and innovative instrument development programs. The Australian Astronomy Major National Research Facility (MNRF) is a $52m collaborative venture involving nearly all major astronomical institutions in Australia. The specific objectives of the Facility are to Increase Australia’s share of premier optical/infrared telescopes such as the Gemini 8-metre twin telescopes;
Develop enabling technologies for Australia to play a key role in, and host, the Square Kilometre Array, the centimetre-wave radiotelescope of the future; and

Visions of the Future: Astronomy and Earth Science - What does the future of science hold? Who is making the discoveries that will help shape this future? What areas of research show the greatest promise? Representing a careful selection of authoritative articles published in a special issue of Philosophical Transactions--the world's longest-running scientific journal--the chapters explore such themes as:
 The Big Bang
 Humankind's exploration of the solar system
 The deep interior of the Earth
 Global warming and climate change
 Atoms and molecules in motion
 New materials and processes
 Nature's secrets of biological growth and form
 Understanding the human body and mind
 Quantum physics and its relationship to relativity theory and human consciousness
 Exotic quantum computing and data storage
 Telecommunications and the Internet Written by leading young scientists

Society of Amateur Radio Astronomers - The Society of Amateur Radio Astronomers (SARA) is an international society of dedicated enthusiasts who teach, learn, trade technical information, and do their own observations of the radio sky. This organization is a scientific, non-profit group founded for the sole purpose of supporting amateur radio astronomy. SARA was organized in 1981, and today has hundreds of members worldwide. The group consists of optical astronomers, ham radio operators, engineers, teachers and non-technical persons. Many of our members are new to the field, and membership is extended to all who have an interest in radio astronomy.

Active and future projects - Due to rapid advances in infrared detector technology, the development of adaptive optics for ground based work and the commitment to infrared missions from space organizations such as NASA, ESA and ISAS, the future of infrared astronomy is extremely bright. Within the next decade, infrared astronomy will bring us exciting discoveries about new planets orbiting nearby stars, how planets, stars and galaxies are formed, the early universe, starburst galaxies, brown dwarfs, quasars and interstellar matter. Below is a summary of currently active and future infrared projects. Go through this link to learn more.

Imagining the future: gravitational wave astronomy - On October 27-30, 2004, a group of 64 gravitational wave astronomers and astronomers from traditional fields of astronomy and astrophysics, representing 20 different institutions, convened at Penn State for a workshop to speculate on the future of gravitational wave astronomy.
To facilitate discussion and debate oriented toward considering the future of the field, six questions were posed:
What will it mean to be a ``gravitational wave astronomer''?
What will be the interplay between gravitational wave astronomy and other, now conventional, forms of astronomy?
What will be the interplay between instrumentation, observation, and science in the field?
What will be the role of individual observatories vs. Global networks?
What will be the critical technologies used in gravitational wave detection?
What infrastructure will best contribute to broad participation, community growth, and the best possible science?
A white paper summarizing the key findings and open debates left by the conference is in preparation, and will be posted to arxiv.org when it is completed.

The future of astronomy - Boundaries of the universe, the depth of all that it contains, and the underlying forces that sustain and motivate it, will one day be fully exposed, comprehended, and ultimately and intimately explained by mankind. Such haughty wisdom is to be seriously doubted.
What is the real measure of time and space? Where does the boundary of the universe actually lie? Many would say that it is some 12-billion light years from us. Here, then, one simply needs to ask two very destructive questions; "What is on the other side of the boundary. . . And what, preciously, is time? There will be no factual, scientific answers to these questions.
What, then, is the future of astronomy? It is what it has always been . . . The searching out of, and displaying of, the "observable & quantifiable" universe; the continuing progression into the provable mathematics of the universe; and, yes, the publishing of the many personal "theories" of universal solutions that seem to always abound.
More from this post.

Future of Astronomy in Canada - Canadian astronomers today released the Report of the Long-Range Planning Panel on Canadian Astronomy and Astrophysics in the 21st Century.
The Report, entitled "The Origins of Structure in the Universe", outlines areas critical to Canadian astronomy that need to be developed over the next fifteen years to maintain a Canadian role at the forefront of this field.
Some of the recommendations in their Report include:
Canada's participation in key international projects in the space-based and ground-based astronomy facilities, the Next Generation Space Telescope and the Atacama Large Millimetre Array
Enhancement of Canada's ongoing observatory and facility commitments
Increased training opportunities for new astronomers through fellowship programs and some increase in staff at national laboratories
Establishing university laboratories for experimental astrophysics
Improvement in computing for astronomical data interpretation
An enhanced public outreach program

What space telescopes of tomorrow will see - Giant-sized telescopes such as Hubble, Spitzer and Chandra offer unprecedented views of the cosmos, but astronomers are eager to put more powerful tools into orbit around the Earth. Without the extra help, said Rachel Somerville, an astronomer at the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy in Germany, it may be impossible to resolve some of the universe's greatest mysteries.

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