News

What happens when a neutron star suddenly spins faster?

A team of astronomers including Dr Willem van Straten of the Institute for Radio Astronomy and Space Research reported the first direct observations of a pulsar glitch. Alteration of the magnetosphere of the Vela pulsar during a glitch Nature 556, 219–222 (2018) https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-018-0001-x A pulsar is a class of neutron star, which are extreme in every way imaginable. They weigh more than the Sun but are smaller than Auckland in diameter, making them more dense than an atomic nucleus, with gravitational fields second only to black holes.  They boast the most powerful magnetic fields in the Universe and they can Read more …

MeerKAT radio telescope dishes scattered about the Karoo desert in the Northern Cape, South Africa.

MeerKAT observes a rare burst of activity from a magnetar

The New Zealand Square Kilometre Array (SKA) Alliance has contributed to the first astrophysical discovery made using MeerKAT, the SKA precursor that is currently under construction in South Africa.  MeerKAT instrumentation designed by staff at Auckland University of Technology was used to make critical radio observations that enabled a multi-wavelength study of a rare class of neutron star known as a magnetar. The research, published in The Astrophysical Journal on 6 April 2018, presents the study of a magnetar – a star that is one of the most magnetic objects known in the universe – that awoke in 2017 from a Read more …

Computing for SKA Colloquium (C4SKA) 2018: Towards Construction

Thursday 15 – Friday 16 February 2018. Venue:  Sir Paul Reeves Building WG404, AUT City Campus. The Local Organising Committee warmly invites you to attend the annual Colloquium hosted by the New Zealand SKA Alliance in conjunction with AUT’s School for Engineering, Computer and Mathematical Sciences. It brings together industry and academics working on the design of computer systems for the SKA – the mega science project of the 21st century to build the world’s largest and most sensitive radio telescope. This is an opportunity to hear from the experts involved in the design phase and learn about the range of solutions Read more …

Science for SKA (S4SKA) Colloquium 2018

Tuesday 13 – Wednesday 14 February 2018 Sir Paul Reeves Building WG701-702, AUT City Campus One of the 21st century’s biggest and most ambitious science ventures, the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) will deepen our understanding of the Universe and answer some fundamental questions about space, time, matter and energy. The primary aim of this Science for SKA Colloquium is to foster interaction and collaboration between New Zealand and international scientists – radio astronomers and physicists, engineers and mathematicians – building on the successful SKANZ 2010 and 2012 meetings, and thereby helping to realise the exciting potential of the SKA. More Read more …

What is the origin of high-energy neutrinos?

A team of astronomers including Prof Sergei Gulyaev, Tim Natusch, and Stuart Weston of the Institute for Radio Astronomy and Space Research reported the first observations that associate high-energy neutrino emission with a gamma-ray blazar outburst: Coincidence of a high-fluence blazar outburst with a PeV-energy neutrino event Nature Physics, 12, 807–814 (2016) https://www.nature.com/articles/nphys3715 The observations reported in this paper are the first time that a cosmic ray particle (an ultra-high energy neutrino) was identified with an astronomical object (a blazar). It was suspected for long time that they must be quasars/blazars responsible for the most energetic cosmic rays, but never proved observationally. Three astronomical Read more …