Development of Research Technology and Infrastructure
Owing to the size of the cosmos and the objects within, it is rarely possible to emulate cosmic conditions in terrestrial labs, let alone perform physical experiments with astrophysical objects. Ever improving observations provide the only way to verify the properties of these objects. Astrophysicists observe the sky, mostly using a small number of very large telescopes, which are placed on sites with nearly optimum atmospheric conditions such as Arizona, Chile, or in space. Astrophysics continually pushes the limits of technological feasibility. And today, powerful computer simulations allow to test astrophysical theories and interpretation of observations.
As astrophysical systems are very complex, the demands on the available computer hardware and software are extreme, and astrophysicists have always been amongst the power-users of national and international supercomputer centres.
Development of robotic telescopes, instruments, and software solutions for data reduction, archiving and "gridification"
Development of high-resolution spectrographs and polarimeters for solar and stellar physics
Development of optical field spectrographs and multi object spectrographs for ground-based telescopes
Supercomputers are required for the huge astrophysical simulations, fast networks for transport of the data from telescopes and instruments, and efficient software environments for analysing both data from simulations and observations.