Major Chinese media visit ALMA and ESO Paranal observatories

[Preface: Since its inauguration in 2013, the Chinese Academy of Sciences’ South America Center for Astronomy (CASSACA) initialized several research collaborations between China and Chile, attracting broad interests of the national and international media, and from the general public. Especially after both Premier Li Keqiang’s and Chilean President Michelle Bachelet attended a signing ceremony of the agreement on building the China-Chile Joint Astronomical Data Center on May 25, 2015, the topics of astronomy in Chile has drawn even more attention. Recently, we made arrangements for journalists from several major Chinese news media to visit two international observatories in northern Chile, for an in-depth look at astronomical research activities in the Southern Hemisphere. ]

Journalists from local stations of the Xinhua News Agency, People’s Daily newspaper, and China Radio International visited ALMA (the Atacama Large Millimeter/sub-millimeter Array) and ESO (European Southern Observatories) Paranal, two of the largest international observatories in northern Chile, on 16-18 July 2015. During the visits and through interviews of on-site astronomers and employees, they had witnessed frontier research activities at the first-class international observatories, and gathered a lot of valuable first-hand information. CASSACA Director Wang Zhong and Deputy Director Wang Wei accompanied the visits and participated in the outreach activities.

The media group first went to ALMA Observatory on the 17th, where they visited the telescope control room, laboratory, working and living areas, and interviewed the person in charge of the station as well as front-line staff, who demonstrated the huge truck made specifically for transporting the antennas. Then they arrived at the antenna array on the 5000-meter-high plateau, equipped with supplies of oxygen, after given a medical check-up in accordance with the provisions for high-altitude environment. The large-scale modern scientific facilities, along with the magnificent natural scenery, highlight the importance of astronomical research, and illustrate the great contributions of scientists and other staff. On 18th July, at 2600m-high Paranal Observatory, the media visited the giant optical and infrared VLT 8-meter telescopes. The journalists learned about the parameters of telescopes and instruments, and the ongoing research programs carried out by the observers. They also had the opportunity to watch the entire procedure of telescope dome opening, instrument testing and preparing for observations. The dedication and professionalism of the staff, along with the advanced site management and operations, impressed them, just like the excellent sky conditions at the observatory. In the telescope control room, reporters had a light-hearted interview with Dr. Yang Bin, formerly of the National Astronomical Observatory, Chinese Academy of Sciences, who was on-duty as a night astronomer working for ESO. The professionalism, passion for astronomical observations, perseverance and dedication of this young female astronomer won their admiration.  Continue reading

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and Chilean President attend the Signing Ceremony of China-Chile Joint Astronomical Data Center

Prof. Gang Zhao, Deputy Director General of National Astronomical Observatories, Chinese Academy of Sciences (NAOC), Mr. Hua Qin, General Manager of Huawei Chile, and Dr. Darcy Fuenzalida, President of Technical University of Federico Santa Maria of Chile (UTFSM), jointly signed the agreement on May 25, to create the China-Chile Joint Astronomical Data Center at the witness of Premier Li Keqiang and Chilean President Michelle Bachelet.

The China-Chile Joint Astronomical Data Center is one of the most important projects of the Chinese Academy of Sciences South America Center for Astronomy (CASSACA) since its establishment in October 2013 in Santiago. The Joint Data Center is a joint endeavor the CASSACA, Huawei and UTFSM. CASSACA, supported by NAOC under the Chinese Academy of Sciences, has strong S&T resources. Huawei is one of the world leaders in production of hardware, and UTFSM is one of the top universities in computing science in Chile. The establishment of the Joint Data Center is a landmark event of the China-Chile bilateral science and technology cooperation. This Joint Center has the advantages of broadband transmission, mass storage and high performance computing, which will facilitate Chinese and Chile researchers to share and make full use of enormous astronomical data of ALMA, a world-class telescope in the northern Chile, and benefit astronomical research for both Chinese and Chilean communities.

Chile is the most ideal places in the world for the construction of astronomical observation facilities, as a result of its excellent geographical conditions, great support from its government and open policies.

CASSACA to co-sponsor a conference on “The Soul of High-mass star formation”

CASSACA is co-sponsoring a conference on “The Soul of High-mass star formation”, which is to be held on March 15-20, in Puetro Varas, a beautiful port city in South Chile.

During the last decade many large-scale surveys (e.g. GLIMPSE, ATLASGAL) led to the identification of massive star formation regions in their earliest stages in our Galaxy. These have been observed with new instruments, in particular massive Herschel data has been taken to characterize physically and chemically the most embedded sources on moderate to large spatial scales. Today, when ALMA will soon begin full operations opening new windows in frequency, chemistry, spatial resolution, and sensitivity, it is timely to discuss our current understanding and open questions on massive star formation.

For more, please visit http://www.das.uchile.cl/star-formation.

 

CASSACA to co-sponsor the MODEST15 meeting in Chile

CASSACA is co-sponsoring 15. meeting of the MODEST community (MODEST15) in Departamento de Astronomia at the Universidad de Concepcion, in Concepcion, Chile at the 2nd – 6th of March 2015.

The aim of this meeting is to provide a comprehensive software framework for large-scale simulations of dense stellar systems, within which existing codes for dynamics, stellar evolution, and hydrodynamics can be easily coupled and compared to reality.  For more, please visit http://www.astro-udec.cl/modest15/index.html.

MODEST15