[ASA] Radio astronomy at Molonglo

Tara Murphy tara.murphy at sydney.edu.au
Tue Mar 28 06:28:22 AEDT 2023

Dear colleagues,
I am writing to let you know that the University of Sydney will be closing scientific operations at the Molonglo Observatory Synthesis Telescope at the end of June 2023. This decision has been made in consultation with radio astronomy staff from the School of Physics and Professor Matthew Bailes, who has been leading the Swinburne University research at Molonglo.
Since opening in 1965, the Molonglo radio telescope has been a leading instrument for radio astronomy, with many research discoveries attributed to work undertaken at the site. Highlights range from the detection of quasar scintillation; the mapping of the entire southern sky in the Sydney University Molonglo Sky Survey and the Molonglo Galactic Plane Survey; to the first discovery of a pulsar associated with a supernova remnant (Vela). Most recently, Swinburne University led research that has resulted in the discovery of several Fast Radio Bursts.

The site has also played host to approximately 50 PhD students, training generations of radio astronomers under the leadership and direction of many academic staff members, including the late Professor Bernard Mills, Professor of Physics (Astrophysics), the late Professor Richard Hunstead, Emeritus Professor Anne Green and Professor Elaine Sadler. Research at the site has also allowed for many collaborations, including most recently with the CSIRO and Swinburne University. The University is especially thankful to Dr Duncan Campbell-Wilson, and more recently Dr Tim Bateman and Dr Chris Flynn for their on-site professionalism and devotion to the instrument.

The telescope’s design has allowed for upgrades over the past half century, but with next-generation telescopes coming online, at sites more suited to radio astronomy, it is time for Molonglo to be retired. The contribution of the Molonglo Observatory to radio astronomy must be recognised, with the site operating as a vital testbed for technology for the Square Kilometre Array.
In closing the site, the Faculty of Science at the University of Sydney will ensure that items indicative of its unique place in the history of Australian radio astronomy are catalogued and curated with a view to preservation for the future.
A proper celebration befitting Molonglo’s contribution to science will also take place later in the year – an opportunity to come together to celebrate the site, staff and students who have ensured continued operation and great scientific discoveries over the course of the last 50 plus years.
For questions in relation to the closure of the site, please email science.communications at sydney.edu.au<mailto:science.communications at sydney.edu.au>
I look forward to seeing some of you when we celebrate Molonglo later this year,


For Head of School matters, please email physics.hos at sydney.edu.au<mailto:physics.hos at sydney.edu.au>
For meeting bookings and signatures, please copy physics.ea at sydney.edu.au<mailto:physics.ea at sydney.edu.au>
For research and personal email, please email tara.murphy at sydney.edu.au<mailto:tara.murphy at sydney.edu.au>

School of Physics | Faculty of Science

Room 217, Physics Building A28
The University of Sydney | NSW | 2006
T +61 2 9351 3041
E tara.murphy at sydney.edu.au<mailto:tara.murphy at sydney.edu.au>


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