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Wed Oct 04, 2017

2017 Nobel Prize in Physics to LIGO team

Rainer Weiss, Barry Barish and Kip Thorne were last night awarded the 2017 Nobel Prize for Physics, "for decisive contributions to the LIGO detector and the observation of gravitational waves". This award caps a terrific year for the collaboration, which (by my observation) has scooped pretty much all the major science awards. Here at Monash we're celebrating our involvement in the project, and looking forward to the (hopefully many) surprises in store for the future.

Labels: 2017, /press

Mon Jul 10, 2017

GOTO La Palma site inauguration

This month saw the official inauguration of Warwick's La Palma observing site, now hosting the Gravitational-wave Optical Transient Observer (GOTO) instrument. The July 3rd event celebrated the successful deployment of the GOTO prototype in the previous month. The press releases from Monash and Warwick were reposted in and, amongst other channels (TV La Palma!) The project is a collaboration between Warwick and Monash, along with UK partners Sheffield, Leicester, and Armagh Universities, and the National Astronomical Research Institute of Thailand (NARIT).

Labels: 2017, /press

Thu Jul 23, 2015

Astronomy committee meets to decide access to Australia's world-class telescopes

My last appearance on the Australia Telescope Time Assignment Committee surprisingly was accompanied by an ABC News story on the role and operation of the committee. I really enjoyed my time on the TAC, despite the workload and deadlines; it's great to have such a broad overview of how our community chooses to utilise the national resources available to them. The other TAC members have been great fun to work with, and the ATNF staff are always helpful and responsive. I may have even learned a little about radio astronomy, although no proposals from me... yet!

Labels: 2015, /press

Wed Jun 10, 2015

Gravitational wave explorer seeks light of merging dead stars

Our Gravitational-wave Optical Transient Observer telescope prototype project was in the news this month, following up a 1-day workshop held in April to introduce the project to the Australian community. Warwick team members Danny Steeghs, Tom Marsh and Krzysztof Ulaczyk made the long trip down under to attend, and Danny introduced the project while Krzysztof discussed his experiences with his previous project, OGLE. The workshop was a big success, attracting attendees and speakers from all over the country, who presented work on a wide range of great transient science — from fast radio bursts to supernovae. For more information see the Monash Media story, the project homepage or the workshop site.

Labels: 2015, /press

Thu Jun 26, 2014

Catching a gravitational wave

Gravitational waves are incredibly feeble, and it doesn't help when the source of the waves is also moving about in the sky, for example in a binary orbit around a companion. That's the case for Scorpius X-1, thought to be the best candidate for persistent gravitational waves among the class of accreting neutron stars. Measurements to improve the precision of the orbital parameters can help in turn to improve the sensitivity of future gravitational wave searches. A Monash media story accompanying our recent paper reporting such measurements for Sco X-1 was also reported in ifl science and

Labels: 2014, /press

Fri Sep 16, 2005

IGR J00291+5934 in the news

Maurizio Falanga (CEA), Chris Wanjek (NASA) and I prepared a press release (courtesy SpaceflightNow) following the acceptance of Maurizio's A&A paper. The release first appeared at ESA on 6th September 2005. See also Une étoile « cannibale » at CEA (French) and the more detailed Festin stellaire: un pulsar milliseconde s'échauffe et accélère at SAp (French)
Earlier post: New millisecond X-ray pulsar IGR J00291+5934

Labels: 2005, /press

Wed Jun 04, 2003

Gravitational waves may set speed limit for pulsar spin

Gravitational radiation - ripples in the fabric of space predicted by Albert Einstein - may serve as a cosmic traffic enforcer, protecting reckless pulsars from spinning too fast and blowing apart.

Read the paper (Nature 424:6944, 42) or the press release

Labels: 2003, /press

Fri May 24, 2002

Going, going, almost gone

MIT scientists have found a pulsar in a binary system that has all but completely whittled away its companion star, leaving this companion only about 10 times more massive than Jupiter.

Read the paper (s) (ApJ 576, L137; ApJ, 587, 754) or the press release

Labels: 2002, /press