NZ radio astronomy goes global over KAREN -
New Zealand’s participation in leading-edge science on the origins of the Universe leaps light-years ahead with KAREN.
Research and Education Advanced Network New Zealand Ltd (REANNZ) and AUT University last week celebrated the successful connection of AUT’s radio telescope at Warkworth to the Kiwi Advanced Research and Education Network (KAREN).
Connecting the telescope allows New Zealand to demonstrate its capability in radio astronomy, and could enable New Zealand to take part in the global radio astronomy project, the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) that aims to answer questions about the origin and evolution of the universe.
“The connection of this important piece of science infrastructure to KAREN is a significant milestone for the New Zealand radio astronomy community, and has the potential to enable New Zealand to participate in an international radio astronomy research programme of epic proportions,” says Donald Clark, Chief Executive of REANNZ.
Professor Sergei Gulyaev, Director of the Institute for Radio Astronomy and Space Research at AUT says, “This very fast fibre connection means we can send data directly from our radio telescope in Warkworth to Australia, US and around the world. We are transferring huge amounts of astronomical data directly across the Tasman to the Very Long Baseline Interferometry (VLBI) correlator in Perth and the first scientific results look very interesting. This KAREN connection is a great milestone for NZ radio astronomy and for SKA development. ”
Connection was made possible by the establishment of a new 1Gb/ps KAREN Point of Presence (PoP) at Warkworth. The PoP at Warkworth is linked to the nearby Telecom New Zealand Ltd satellite ground station, opening the door to KAREN access for users that transit the station, such as the Chatham Islands, Scott Base, and some Pacific Islands.
“The Warkworth connection is the first of a number of regional PoPs we will be establishing over the coming year that will significantly extend KAREN's footprint across the country. The closer we can get to local communities, the greater the opportunity for participation from organisations across the education and research sector,” says Donald.
This connection was made possible through the Remote Site Connectivity Fund provided by the Ministry of Research Science and Technology (MoRST) on behalf of the New Zealand government. This fund provides one-off investments to connect remote important science infrastructure to KAREN. The second remote site – the University of Canterbury’s Mt John Observatory – will be connected later this year.