About Astro 3D
An Arc center of excellence
The ARC Centre of Excellence for All Sky Astrophysics in 3 Dimensions (ASTRO 3D) is a $40m Research Centre of Excellence funded over the next 7 years by a grant from the Australian Research Council (ARC) and supported by six collaborating Australian universities.
- The Australian National University
- University of Melbourne
- University of Sydney
- Swinburne University of Technology
- University of Western Australia
- Curtin University
The Centre will ultimately produce a comprehensive picture of the evolution of matter, the chemical elements, and energy in the Universe from shortly after the Big Bang to the present day. ASTRO 3D merges world-leading Australian and international optical, infrared and radio telescope technologies with sophisticated theoretical simulations and ambitious new big data analysis techniques to open a new realm in astrophysics - a 3D understanding of the origins of the Universe and our place within it.
Through the Centre, the next generation of scientific leaders will be trained within a cohesive, national and international framework that includes cutting edge science and data intensive infrastructure, highly successful nationwide and worldwide collaborations, leading equity and diversity programs, and large-scale public education and outreach programs.
Partner organisations in the Centre include:
- The Australian Astronomical Observatory
- National Computational Infrastructure
- California Institute of Technology, USA
- University of Washington, USA
- University of Toronto, Canada
- Netherlands Institute for Radio Astronomy
- Heidelberg Institute for Theoretical Studies
- Chinese Academy of Sciences
- University of Oxford, UK
The Origin of Matter and the Periodic Table
Tracing the matter and chemical elements back to the earliest times in the Universe is critical for understanding the birth of the first stars, the formation of the first galaxies, and the evolution of galaxies like our Milky Way. ASTRO 3D will combine 3D radio and optical ground and space telescopes worldwide to build a 3D picture of the formation and evolution of the universe that we see today. Together, we will answer the following questions: How did structures in the Universe grow out of matter, forming the building blocks of galaxies like our Milky Way? What forces have shaped the accumulation and motion of matter in the Universe across space and time? How were the elements of the periodic table forged across space and time, and how were they assembled into galaxies like our Milky Way?
The Origin of the Ionised Universe
Shortly after the Big Bang, a veil was lifted from the cosmos, transforming the cold and dark Universe into a hot and luminous birthplace for stars and galaxies. During this period, called the Epoch of Reionisation, massive amounts of energy transformed the hydrogen gas in the Universe from a neutral state into an ionised state. Now, more than 99% of the atoms in Universe are ionised, but how the Universe reached this state is unknown. When did the veil rise, and how long did it take? What first created such massive amounts of energy? What did the first generation of stars and galaxies look like, when did they form, and how did they evolve? Can we see the fossil records of those first stars today? We will combine theoretical simulations on supercomputers with radio and optical observations on the world's largest ground-based telescopes to answer these fundamental questions.
The Genesis Theoretical Simulations
The Genesis Simulations will track the birth, growth and ultimate fate of galaxies from the earliest epoch of galaxy assembly, through the Epoch of Reionisation to the present day. Genesis will simulate the first stars, early Universe chemical enrichment, proto-galaxy formation, reionisation, galaxy growth through star formation and mergers, the build-up of angular momentum from the scales of galaxy clusters to star-forming regions within galaxies, the emergence and evolution of large-scale massive structures in the Universe, and the evolution of the material between galaxies. The models will incorporate “zoom-in” re-simulations that will track the growth of galaxies within the simulation in exquisite detail, allowing us to model the local galaxy population and the imprint of galactic history in the chemistry and structure of the galaxy population to compare directly with our 3D observations.
ASTRO-3D Data Intensive Astronomy
The CAASTRO-3D flagship telescopes will collect unprecedented volumes of multi-dimensional data sets, while the Genesis Simulations will produce prodigious amounts of theoretical data. These Peta-byte scale data sets require sophisticated data management and access mechanisms as well as new algorithms and visualisation tools to efficiently extract scientific information. We will implement a layered “Data Fabric” plan that seamlessly federates all ASTRO 3D survey and Genesis simulation data, and provides a platform for astronomers world-wide to access and analyse the data on supercomputers in a cloud-style environment. With three layers of data fabric, we aim to and link to meet the data processing and analysis needs for our surveys, and build the infrastructure to effectively analyse Petabytes of data for the Square Kilometre Array.