"Out there!", an exhibition centred on the international race to host the world's biggest ground-based astronomy project, will be launched by WA Chief Scientist, Professor Lyn Beazley, on Monday, March 10, 2008, at 10am.
The SKA radio telescope (which will cost around $1.8 billion) will be up to 50 times more sensitive than present-day instruments and will revolutionise our understanding of the origin and evolution of the Universe. The name of the exhibition, Out There!, refers to 'out in space' as well as the outback of Western Australia - one of the two short-listed locations for the SKA radio telescope (the other is Southern Africa) to be decided in 2011-12.
The hands-on exhibition, aimed at year 10 students but also open to the public, runs from 10 to 20 March and includes:
- A scale model of the SKA (Square Kilometre Array) radio telescope
- Information about the science behind radio telescopes
- Interactive panorama of the proposed Murchison SKA site
- Looping images of different visualisations using different types of telescopes
- A timeline ribbon highlighting what we can currently see and how the SKA will allow the astronomers to "look back in time"
"The SKA represents the future of astronomy and is a great example of global research," said Professor Peter Quinn, UWA's Premier's Fellow in Astronomy.
"If located in Australia, it will be at the centre of science, technology and education in Western Australia for the next 50 years. Kids in Year 10 have an enormous opportunity to pursue careers that will give them front-line opportunities in science and technology when the SKA starts operations around 2020."
It is a joint project of the Faculty of Life and Physical Sciences, the School of Physics, the Spice (UWA secondary teachers' enrichment) program, Scitech and CSIRO.
The exhibition is a precursor to international scientific meetings [Deep Surveys of Radio Universe with SKA pathfinders conference and the SKA Science and Engineering Committee / Calibration and Imaging Task Force meeting] to be held in Perth in April.
Prof Beazley will launch the public exhibition with a group of top science students from Perth Modern School at UWA's Molecular and Chemical Sciences Building.