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SPACE SCOPES
Happy New Year for European Radio Astronomy
by Staff Writers
Paris, France (SPX) Jan 06, 2012


ALMA antennas on Chajnantor. Credit: Iztok Boncina/ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO).

RadioNet3, a four-year, 9.5M euro project offering unprecedented access to 18 state-of-the-art European radio telescopes, including the ALMA (Atacama Large Millimeter Array) in Chile and the James Clerk Maxwell Telescope in Hawaii, has been launched.

The project, in which the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) is playing a key role, will ensure that European radio astronomy facilities remain globally competitive by increasing expertise in the research community and developing new instruments for current and proposed telescopes such as the Square Kilometer Array.

The funding from the European Commission builds on the success of previous radio astronomy projects, RadioNet1 and 2. RadioNet3 began on New Years' Day and is a collaboration of 27 world class European organizations including STFC.

Led by the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy (MPIfR), it is combining the best equipment available with the top radio astronomical expertise to ultimately improve our knowledge of our Universe.

The new program will stimulate new activities in research and development of both the existing radio infrastructures as well as telescopes of the future, including the largest radio telescope in the world - the Square Kilometer Array (SKA) - due to be completed within the next decade.

Prof. Gary Davis, Director of STFC's Joint Astronomy Centre in Hawaii and STFC's representative on the RadioNet3 Board, said: "The outcomes of RadioNet3 will be fundamental in the development of telescopes such as SKA, both in terms of instruments and expertise. STFC will be contributing its world-leading expertise in developing technologies for a new generation of astronomical radio receivers."

The networking activities of RadioNet3 will provide a natural forum for developing further European collaborations, sharing both ideas and results, and engaging researchers. This is particularly important with the emergence of new research opportunities through SKA.

"Our aim is to establish a long-term strategy for structuring radio astronomy in Europe", says Prof. Anton Zensus, Director at MPIfR and coordinator of the RadioNet3 project.

"We will make sure the results are available to the outside world, and that the next generation of scientists and engineers are prepared for the advent of the new generation radio telescopes."

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Related Links
Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy (MPIfR)
RadioNet (Advanced Radio Astronomy in Europe)
Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA)
Square Kilometer Array (SKA)
Space Telescope News and Technology at Skynightly.com






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