ANITA Town Hall Meeting: Thursday July 9, 1pm, ASA Meeting

ANITA will be holding a Town Hall update meeting at the ASA Annual Scientific Meeting in Fremantle next month. We hope you can attend to hear about ANITA’s activities and provide suggestions to the Steering Committee. We will also be announcing the location of the 2016 ANITA Workshop and School, and launching the ANITA Colloquium Database.

Location: Sirius Room, Esplanade Hotel, Fremantle WA

Date: Thursday July 9

Time: 1pm (part of lunch break)

ANITA Steering Committee – 2015

Dear ANITA members,

I am happy to announce that we have received the exact number of nominations required to fill the Steering Committee places, without need for an election. Camila Correa has re-nominated, unopposed, as the student member. Orsola De Marco, Sarah Maddison, and Chris Power have completed their terms, and we thank them for their great contributions.
The new members of the Committee are:
Jean-Pierre Macquart (ICRAR-Curtin)
Amanda Karakas (RSAA, ANU)
Paul Lasky (Monash)
I have included their nomination details below.
The 2015 Steering Committee is:
Cathryn Trott (Chair)
Darren Croton (Past-Chair)
Alexander Heger
Daniel Price
Krzysztof Bolejko
Jean-Pierre Macquart (ICRAR-Curtin)
Amanda Karakas (RSAA, ANU)
Paul Lasky (Monash)
Camila Correa (student).

Jean-Pierre Macquart (ICRAR-Curtin)

With a history in both pen-and-paper theory and observational astrophysics, I am keen to promote activities for cross-fertilization. This includes the promotion of opportunities (e.g. fellowships and visiting funds) to enable theorists to spend time embedded with specific observational groups.

I am keen to advance theoretical astrophysics as an integral component of the fabric of Australian astronomy and to see that it is better recognised as a driving force for much of its activities.
Amanda Karakas (RSAA, ANU)

I am interested in joining the ANITA Organising Committee because I would like to work to enhance the position of theoretical astronomy within the Australian community and at Mt Stromlo Observatory in particular. I also strongly believe in encouraging and supporting students at all levels to do theoretical projects during their studies. I also think that ANITA is a great platform to engage students and researchers of all disciplines in the issues faced by the theoretical community, through ANITA workshops and the ANITA presence at the annual scientific meeting.
Paul Lasky (Monash University)

The theoretical astrophysics community in Australia is a vibrant and enthusiastic one that contains a broad range of intersecting interests. Unfortunately, this diversity is sometimes perceived as a lack of cohesion by the rest of Australian astronomy, with the tendency to ignore the crucial role theory plays within the country. For example, although 39% of total researcher effort in Australia is identified in the decadal plan exposure draft with theoretical and computational astrophysics, that same decadal plan makes no concrete recommendations about the required resources for the theoretical sector, in contrast to very specific requirements outlined for optical and radio facilities.

The current ANITA committee should be applauded for making excellent community suggestions regarding national fellowship schemes with the hope of supporting theoretical astrophysicists. I fear that these suggestions fall on deaf ears given the perception of theoretical astrophysics in Australia being disjoint and unimportant. The ANITA online lectures are a great initiative; I would like to work towards utilising these as a platform for integrating theoretical astrophysics into the broader community by increasing substantially their scope and interests. I would also like to work towards exposing junior members of the ASA to the diversity of astronomy in Australia by creating an online profile for ANITA through social media, and by increasing ANITA’s involvement in community events such as the Harley Wood Winter School. I believe I can provide excellent input to the general running of ANITA by calling on my broad range of experiences and skills acquired through seven postdoc years both nationally and internationally.

ANITA Steering Committee Elections – 2015

Do you want to be part of shaping the landscape for theory in Australian astronomy? Do you have great ideas for connecting theorists and observers? Come and join ANITA’s Steering Committee!
ANITA will be holding its annual election to the ANITA Steering Committee in the week of March 23. The committee positions up for election are:

– 3 Ordinary Committee members (2 year term)
– 1 Student Representative (1 year term)

These positions are currently held by Sarah Maddison, Orsola De Marco, Chris Power and Camila Correa (student) and we thank them for their service to the Chapter. Note that these committee members, and any previous committee members can nominate in this election.

Please nominate yourself for a position on the committee! In the past year, ANITA has:

– contributed to the Decadal Planning process with an ANITA submission and follow-up responses
– hosted and provided online Google Hangout Lectures for the whole community
– organised the 2015 ANITA Workshop and Astroinformatics School, hosted by the ANU.

In 2015-2016, we have some more exciting developments. Please join us!

As Returning Officer, please send to me via email ( your name and a brief description of your interests in joining the ANITA Steering Committee, to be included in the election materials. To be eligible, you need to be an ASA Member, Fellow or Student Member.

Election timeline:
Monday March 9 – Friday March 20 Nomination period
Monday March 23 – Friday March 27 Election period
Week of March 30 Results announced.

Radio interferometry lectures – David Wilner, Harvard CfA – Google Hangout

David Wilner is the Associate Director of the Radio & Geoastronomy Division at the Harvard Center for Astrophysics, and an expert in circumstellar disks, the formation of planets, and the development of aperture synthesis techniques.

He’ll be giving us two lectures on consecutive weeks:

Title: Radio Astronomy and Interferometry Fundamentals
Date: 2pm (AEDT) Thursday 19th February

Radio astronomy uses observations at radio wavelengths to study celestial objects. This lecture will provide a brief introduction to radio astronomy, including a description of common emission mechanisms and radio telescopes, and why multiple telescopes are linked as interferometers to make high resolution “aperture synthesis” images (a technique recognized by the 1974 Nobel Prize in Physics). We will use pictures to develop intuition about the Fourier transform relationship between the sky brightness and visibility function that underlies radio interferometry. (A companion lecture will provide a pedagogical introduction to the process by which radio interferometric images are made.)

Title: Imaging and Deconvolution in Radio Interferometry
Date: 2pm (AEDT) Thursday 26th February

Observations with a typical radio interferometer provide incomplete and noisy samples of the Fourier transform of the sky brightness image that we’d like to analyze. This lecture will provide a pedagogical and practical introduction to the process by which radio interferometric images are made, including visibility weighting and tapering schemes and algorithm-based deconvolution methods to deal with inevitable missing samples. We will conclude with a brief discussion of the Atacama Large Millimeter Array, an new radio interferometer with unprecedented imaging capabilities at millimeter wavelengths.

Head over to the ANITA Lecture page for more information on this and recordings of our past lectures:

2015 ANITA workshop and Astroinformatics School

Dear ANITA Members,
The 2015 ANITA Workshop and Astroinformatics School will be hosted by the Research School of Astronomy and Astrophysics, at the ANU. Please see details below.

Cathryn, on behalf of the Organising Committee


2015 ANITA Workshop and Astroinformatics School
The Australian National University
Workshop: Monday February 9th – Tuesday February 10th, 2015
School: Wednesday February 11th – Friday February 13th, 2015
Organising Committee: Geoff Bicknell, Amanda Karakas,
Alexander Heger, Krzysztof Bolejko, Camila Correa
Program and accommodation details to come.

ANITA Google Hangout: What is gravitational wave astronomy?

Dear ANITA and ASA members.

Next Wednesday 20th August at 1pm (AEST) ANITA will hold its next online lecture:

What is gravitational wave astronomy, and what can it do for me?
Dr. Paul Lasky, University of Melbourne.

All are welcome to join! The target audience will range from undergrad to postdoc, however anyone interested is sure to get something out of it.

For more details (including lecture notes and slides closer to the day) click here.

Thanks, and see you there!
Darren Croton & Chris Power

ANITA Town Hall Meeting

ANITA will hold a Town Hall Meeting during the ASA Annual Scientific Meeting at Macquarie University. The meeting will be held during lunch (1pm-2pm) on Wednesday July 23 in the Price Theatre. Come along and hear about the latest Chapter activities, the announcement of the 2015 ANITA Workshop and Astroinformatics School, and a vote on the ANITA proposal for a Theoretical Astrophysics Institute or a National Fellowship program.

ANITA Google Hangout: A New Window on Inflation: Cosmological Perturbations and Gravitational Waves

Dear ANITA and ASA members.

Next Wednesday 11th June at 1pm (AEST) ANITA will hold its next online lecture: “A New Window on Inflation: Cosmological Perturbations and Gravitational Waves”, by David Parkinson from the University of Queensland.

This lecture will be of particular interest to those who wish to better understand the recent BICEP2 results.

All are welcome to join! The target audience will range from undergrad to postdoc, however anyone interested is sure to get something out of it.

More details (including lecture notes and slides) are available at:

Thanks, and see you there!
Darren Croton & Chris Power