Letters of Intent for 2014

LoI 2014-143
Transformational science with the SKA & synergies with ALMA and other contemporary radio telescopes

Date:

21 February 2014 to 25 February 2014

Location:

Cape Town, RSA, South Africa

Contact:

Bernard Fanaroff (bfanaroff@ska.ac.za)

Coordinating division:

Division X Radio Astronomy

Co-Chairs of SOC:

Bernard Fanaroff (SKA South Africa)
Chengmin Zhang (National Astronomical Observatories)

Chair of LOC:

Roy Booth (SKA South Africa)

 

Topics

The new instruments and their status
Radio galaxies and their environments
AGNs and Jets
Star and galaxy formations and evolutions
Compact objects - from pulsars to black holes
The ISM/IGM in the universe
Radio continuum and HI surveys and dark energy
The epoch of reionization and dark energy
Searching for extraterrestrial planets
Exploration of cosmic magnetism

 

Rationale

Radio Astronomy has produced many of the great astronomical discoveries of the 20th century (and several Nobel prizes). Today, with benefit from the innovative developments in electronics, high speed computing, manipulation of large data sets and computer aided design, several major radio telescopes are planned or under construction.
These include the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA), already in operation and scheduled for completion in 2013, the Five-hundred-metre Aperture Spherical Telescope (FAST) to become operational in 2016 and the Square Kilometre Array (SKA), to be built in South Africa and Australia in the next decade.
These telescopes will be the world's premier imaging and survey radio telescopes, combining unprecedented versatility and sensitivity and pushing the observational frontiers of sensitivity as well as spatial, temporal and spectral resolution. They will give new insights into the formation and evolution of the first stars and galaxies, the large scale structure of the universe, the role of cosmic magnetism, the nature of gravity and possibly, even the development of life beyond Earth.

New discoveries have usually not been predictable in the history of astronomy, but it is possible that the performance of the new large facilities will extend our knowledge of the nature of gravity and challenge the theory of general relativity. Pulsars will be exploited to search for gravitational waves. Thousands of new pulsars will be used to answer basic questions on their connections with stellar evolution.
With the high precision of the new facilities, astronomers will investigate the Big Bang by mapping the cosmic distribution of hydrogen, atomic and molecular in billions of galaxies and may help to identify the nature of dark energy.

The unprecedented combination of sensitivity, angular resolution, spectral resolution and imaging fidelity at short (ALMA) radio wavelengths, allows the study of the processes of star and planet formation and the physical properties of young, still-forming stars and may assist us to learn in detail about the complex chemistry of the interstellar medium.
A major aim of this symposium is to bring together scientists from parallel fields to examine how the synergies of the new instruments may be used to study the various classes of astronomical object. Major emphasis will be given to the potential new discoveries with these powerful facilities and their instrumental innovations and features - a broad-band view of the radio Universe.

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