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. Observations take over the role of experimentation. 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. In addition to observations, computer simulations are taking over the role of experimentation by simulating the behaviour of astrophysical objects under varying, well-defined conditions.
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
The extensive use of supercomputers and networking to connect global compute and data resources