2012 has been a big year for astronomy at Swinburne. In March, Swinburne's Centre for Astrophysics and Supercomputing held a workshop to highlight the latest science from the world's largest optical telescopes at the Keck Observatory in Hawaii. Access to the Keck facility has enabled landmark discoveries by Swinburne astronomers, including:
- Observations that helped characterise the diamond planet, discovered by an international research team led by Professor Matthew Bailes;
- The discovery by Dr George Hau and Professor Duncan Forbes of a 'galactic freak', an extremely rare ultra-compact dwarf galaxy that could furnish the missing link in understanding how galaxies and their clusters evolve; and
- Another discovery by Professor Duncan Forbes that giant galaxies that contain billions of stars are born in much the same way as delicate snowflakes.
Even more amazing new discoveries by Swinburne astrophysicists have made the news over the last few months. Dr Lee Spitler, Professor Karl Glazebrook, Dr Glenn Kacprzak and their team found the most distant example of a galaxy cluster lying in the middle of one of the most well-studied regions in the sky; and Associate Professor Alister Graham, Dr Lee Spitler, Professor Duncan Forbes and their team discovered a rare rectangular-shaped galaxy with a striking resemblance to an emerald cut diamond.
Global Astronomy Month is an opportunity to celebrate these great research discoveries, and to engage a new generation of would-be astronomers in appreciating the night skies. See what's happening in your area or follow Global Astronomy Month on Facebook or Twitter.
Image credit: LEDA 074886, a rectangular-shaped galaxy, by AW Graham et al. 2012.