ARC Centre of Excellence for All Sky Astrophysics in Three Dimensions (ASTRO-3D)

ASTRO 3D logo

The ARC Centre of Excellence in All Sky Astrophysics in 3 Dimensions (ASTRO 3D) unifies over 200 world-leading astronomers to understand the evolution of the matter, light, and elements from the Big Bang to the present day.

Visit the website: astro3d.org.au

What ingredients went into the galactic blender to create the Milky Way?

Our galaxy is a giant ‘smoothie’ of blended stars and gas but a new study tells us where the components came from

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In its early days, the Milky Way was like a giant smoothie, as if galaxies consisting of billions of stars, and an enormous amount of gas had been thrown together into a gigantic blender. But a new study picks apart this mixture by analysing individual stars to identify which originated inside the galaxy and which began life outside.

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Too much heavy metal stops stars producing

Stars evolve according to the elements they manufacture

Stars are giant factories that produce most of the elements in the Universe – including the elements in us, and in the Earth’s metal deposits. But what stars produce changes over time.

Two new papers published in MNRAS shed light on how the youngest generation of stars will eventually stop contributing metals back to the universe.

The authors are all members of ASTRO 3D, the ARC Centre of Excellence for All Sky Astrophysics in 3 Dimensions. They are based at Monash University, the Australian National University (ANU), and the Space Telescope Science Institute.

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Closing in on the first light in the Universe

Research using new antennas in the Australian hinterland has reduced background noise and brought us closer to finding a 13-billion-year-old signal

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The early Universe was dark, filled with a hot soup of opaque particles. These condensed to form neutral hydrogen which coalesced to form the first stars in what astronomers call the Epoch of Reionisation (EoR).

“Finding the weak signal of this first light will help us understand how the early stars and galaxies formed,” says Dr Christene Lynch from ASTRO 3D, the ARC Centre of Excellence for All Sky Astrophysics in 3 Dimensions.

Dr Lynch is first author on a paper published in Publications of the Astronomical Society of Australia. She and her colleagues from Curtin University and the International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research have reduced the background noise in their observations allowing them to home in on the elusive signal.

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Galaxies pump out contaminated exhausts

Corrected 31 August: ‘500 light years’ updated to ‘500 million light years’

Research reveals how star-making pollutes the cosmos

Animation available, astronomers available in Australia and UK for interview

Galaxies pollute the environment they exist in, researchers have found.

A team of astronomers led by Alex Cameron and Deanne Fisher from the ARC Centre of Excellence for All Sky Astrophysics in 3 Dimensions (ASTRO 3D) used a new imaging system on at the WM Keck Observatory in Hawaii to confirm that what flows into a galaxy is a lot cleaner than what flows out.

The research is published today in The Astrophysical Journal.

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Milky Way not unusual, astronomers find

Detailed cross-section of another galaxy reveals surprising similarities to our home

The first detailed cross-section of a galaxy broadly similar to the Milky Way, published today, reveals that our galaxy evolved gradually, instead of being the result of a violent mash-up. The finding throws the origin story of our home into doubt.

The galaxy, dubbed UGC 10738, turns out to have distinct ‘thick’ and ‘thin’ discs similar to those of the Milky Way. This suggests, contrary to previous theories, that such structures are not the result of a rare long-ago collision with a smaller galaxy. They appear to be the product of more peaceful change.

And that is a game-changer. It means that our spiral galaxy home isn’t the product of a freak accident. Instead, it is typical.

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Free telescopes for Launceston, Exeter and Ulverstone schools, April 29 and 30

Sky-gazers visit the region to get kids dancing with the STARS

Astronomers, students and telescopes available for photographs. Key dates and locations:

April 29, morning: Riverside High School, 354 West Tamar Road, Launceston; Jay Duggan: 03 6327 6333
April 29, afternoon: Exeter High School, 28 Glen Ard Mohr Road, Exeter; Greg Finnigan: 03 6394 4366

April 30, morning and afternoon: Ulverstone Secondary College, 38 Leven St, Ulverstone; Kylie Waters: 03 6425 1433; 0400 126 282

Three schools in Launceston, Exeter and Ulverstone will be visited by astronomers, who will present them with powerful telescopes and show eager students how to use them to unlock the secrets of the stars.

Dr Brad Tucker, from the Centre of Excellence for All-Sky Astrophysics in 3D (ASTRO 3D) and the Australian National University, together with Mr Peter Swanton, also from ANU, will give the telescopes to Riverside, Exeter and Ulverstone high schools on April 29 and 30.

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More than 60 years to achieve gender equity?

Modelling shows urgent need to revamp hiring and working conditions for astronomers

It will take until at least 2080 before women make up just one-third of Australia’s professional astronomers, an analysis published today in the journal Nature Astronomy reveals.

“Astronomers have been leaders in gender equity initiatives, but our programs are not working fast enough,” says Professor Lisa Kewley, director of the ARC Centre of Excellence for All-Sky Astrophysics in 3 Dimensions (ASTRO 3D).

Professor Lisa Kewley.
Credit: ASTRO 3D

Kewley is also an ARC Laureate Fellow at the Australian National University’s Research School for Astronomy and Astrophysics. She developed workforce forward modelling that can predict the fraction of women at all levels in astronomy from 2021 to 2060, given different initiatives in hiring or retention. The models show that Australia’s university leadership need to adopt 50:50 or affirmative action hiring and introduce exit surveys and retention initiatives.

“With these initiatives we can reach one-third women in 11 years, growing to 50 per cent in 25,” she said.

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At cosmic noon, puffy galaxies make stars for longer

Galaxies with extended disks maintain productivity, research reveals

Massive galaxies with extra-large extended “puffy” disks produced stars for longer than their more compact cousins, new modelling reveals.

In a paper published in the Astrophysical Journal, researchers led by Dr Anshu Gupta and Associate Professor Kim-Vy Tran from Australia’s ARC Centre of Excellence in All Sky Astrophysics in 3 Dimensions (ASTRO 3D), show that the sheer size of a galaxy influences when it stops making new stars. 

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