An ASKAP antenna at the Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory. Image Credit: Ant Schinckel, CSIRO.




Quarterly update: June 2009

ESO survey results

The ESO Working Group (ESOWG) recently surveyed the Australian astronomical community regarding interest in ESO facilities relative to other major astronomical facilities. The results of that survey are now available on the AAL website: ESO survey summary.

The ESOWG will host a discussion on this topic at the July 2009 ASA ASM.


Following the AAL review of MWA in April 2009 the review committee concluded that, "an NCRIS investment of $4.6M [in MWA] would represent good scientific and strategic value for the Australian community". A summary of the review committee's findings are available on the AAL website: MWA review summary.

The review committee also identifed areas where more planning is required. To help move the project forward AAL has signed an NCRIS sub-contract with Curtin University of Technology for the employment of a full-time MWA project manager. AAL will work with the MWA project team to help the project progress to the NCRIS funded stage.

AAL awarded a $10M EIF grant

As part of the Australian Government's recent budget, Minisiter Carr announced that AAL will be awarded a $10M EIF grant for national astronomy infrastructure. AAL understands that these funds will be provided in $5M payments in each of 2011/12 and 2012/13. The current NCRIS grant managed by AAL ceases at the end of 2010/11.

DIISR have indicated that they expect to negotiate a funding agreement with AAL for this $10M sometime during 2009/10. AAL will therefore seek to engage with the Australian astronomical community during 2009/10 regarding investment options for these funds.

Magellan 2009B to 2011A

AAL has signed a contract with the Carnegie Institution for Science and the Anglo-Australian Observatory to provide continued access to the Magellan telescopes until 2011A inclusive. 30 nights will be available over the next two years and will be allocated by the Australian Time Assignment Committee. The arrangement to pay for this access is similar to that established via the MNRF programme, that is, Australia will pay partially via the provision of two Magellan Fellows.