Australian Institute of Physics


South Australian Branch


at 8:00 pm, WEDNESDAY SEPTEMBER 3rd 1997

in the KERR GRANT Lecture Theatre of the

University of South Australia

(Note that this is NOT the Kerr Grant lecture theatre of the University of Adelaide. Entry is through Gate 4, Frome Road. Any free spaces on the University of S.A. campus may be used for parking at that time of night.)



Department of Astrophysics, University of NSW


Over the last few years, astronomers have begun to realise that the best observing site on the planet for near-infrared through sub-millimetre astronomy is the high plateau of Antarctica. Astronomers at the University of New South Wales have taken a lead role in proving this for the near to mid-infrared at the US Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station, and for demonstrating that the astronomical "seeing" at the South Pole has the potential for being a factor of two better than the best mid-latitude sites. Now, together with the Australian National University, they are embarking on an ambitious program to reach the highest points of the plateau, over 3 km in altitude, with an unmanned site-testing observatory. Plans are also being hatched to build a 1.5-m telescope at the South Pole in collaboration with the US. Dr Ashley will also give an overview of the other astronomy being conducted at the South Pole (e.g., the world's largest neutrino detector, and sensitive instruments that are probing the cosmic microwave background), and will describe his experiences in travelling to the coldest, driest, highest continent.

Abbreviated CV for Michael Ashley:

Dr Ashley obtained his BSc from ANU in 1981, an MSc in Astrophysics from Caltech in 1983, and a PhD in Astronomy from Mt. Stromlo and Siding Spring Observatories in 1989. While completing his PhD he was a consultant for Auspace on the Endeavour project (a UV telescope that was flown on the Shuttle) and worked as a research assistant at the Anglo-Australian Observatory. He joined the faculty at the School of Physics, UNSW, in 1989, where he is now a Senior Lecturer. His main research interests have been to build astronomical instruments and to use them for studying the infrared sky. In the last few years this has involved building remotely-controlled instruments for operation at the South Pole.

A pre-meeting dinner from 6:15 p.m. to 7:45 p.m. has been arranged at the Bangkok Restaurant, upstairs on the south-west corner of the Rundle Street/Frome Road intersection. The dinner is a banquet comprising four entrees and five main courses at a reduced price of $20 per person. A complimentary glass of wine or juice will be provided by the AIP.

People attending the dinner are asked to confirm their booking by phoning Maria, 8302 3206, before 12 noon on Monday 1st September