[AfrICANN-discuss] First point-to-point research network circuit between Europe and Africa enables astronomers to create a more detailed view of the universe

Baudouin SCHOMBE b.schombe at gmail.com
Wed Apr 25 17:23:27 SAST 2012

very heartening and inspiring. Is what we would enjoy enough that star?


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2012/4/25 Anne-Rachel Inné <annerachel at gmail.com>

> *http://www.ubuntunet.net/African_radio_astronomers
> First point-to-point research network circuit between Europe and Africa
> enables astronomers to create a more detailed view of the universe
> *
> *Lilongwe, Malawi, 25 April 2012*: Radio astronomers in Africa and across
> the globe will benefit from faster collaboration through a dedicated, high
> speed 15,000 km network link between the pan-European GÉANT and African
> UbuntuNet Alliance education networks announced today.
> The 2Gbps point-to-point circuit will enable astronomers at the
> Hartebeesthoek Radio Astronomy Observatory (HartRAO) in South Africa to
> stream observational data to the Joint Institute for VLBI in Europe (JIVE)
> in the Netherlands for processing and correlation, and is the first
> point-to-point circuit between GÉANT and UbuntuNet.
> HartRAO, located in a valley in the Magaliesberg hills, 50 km west of
> Johannesburg, is the only major radio astronomy observatory in Africa.
> Through the technique of Very Long Baseline Interferometry (VLBI), it
> collaborates with radio telescopes on other continents to form a virtual
> telescope the size of the Earth.
> Combining observations from multiple telescopes using VLBI allows more
> detailed observations of distant astronomical objects than with any other
> technique. Information is sent in real-time from radio telescopes around
> the world to JIVE, where these enormous volumes of simultaneous observation
> data are correlated to form high resolution images of cosmic radio sources.
> The establishment of the point-to-point circuit is part of the European
> VLBI Network’s (EVN) e-EVN development programme for electronic VLBI
> (e-VLBI). This uses high speed research networks to transfer data for
> processing in real-time is an alternative to the traditional VLBI method of
> recording and shipping data on disk. e-VLBI enables observations of
> transient phenomena such as supernovae, using the highest resolution
> astronomical technique possible.
> “This is collaborative research and education networking at its best,”
> said Dr F F (Tusu) Tusubira, CEO of the UbuntuNet Alliance. “Providing a
> point-to-point link between Hartebeesthoek and JIVE in the Netherlands
> benefits the entire global radio astronomy community, as it enables faster,
> more detailed observations to be shared in real-time and consequently
> dramatically increases our knowledge of the universe.”
> The point-to-point circuit will seamlessly add the 26m telescope at
> Hartebeesthoek into the e-EVN array at the highest possible data rate. It
> will be used for a series of 10 observing sessions annually to observe
> targets that would benefit from the rapid turnaround that analysing the
> data in real time provides. The fast turnaround of results through the
> e-EVN enables decisions on further observations to be made whilst the
> astronomical event is still in progress, thereby enabling the study of more
> rapid transients, such as supernovae.
> “This new link between Africa and Europe is the perfect example of close
> co-operation between research networks across the globe, working together
> to provide astronomers and scientists with the infrastructure they need to
> advance their work,” said Cathrin Stöver, Chief International Relations
> Officer, DANTE, the organisation which on behalf of Europe’s National
> Research and Education Networks (NRENs) has built and operates the GÉANT
> network. “As the first point-to-point link between Europe and Africa, it
> shows the truly global nature of research and should encourage even greater
> collaboration between the two continents moving forward.”
> For the global radio astronomy community, adding HartRAO into the e-EVN
> array will improve the North/South resolving power, thereby allowing more
> detailed source structure to be seen, especially in the southern sky.
> Research data gathered at HartRAO, a member institution of the South
> African national research and education network (NREN), TENET, flows in
> succession across the networks of TENET, UbuntuNet, GÉANT and Dutch NREN
> SURFnet.
> *About GÉANT*
> GÉANT is the high speed European communication network dedicated to
> research and education. In combination with its NREN partners, GÉANT
> creates a secure, high-speed research infrastructure that serves 40 million
> researchers in over 8,000 institutions across 40 European countries.
> Building on the success of its predecessors, GÉANT has been created around
> the needs of users, providing flexible, end-to-end services that transform
> the way that researchers collaborate.  GÉANT is at the heart of global
> research networking through wide ranging connections with other world
> regions, underpinning vital projects that bridge the digital divide and
> benefit society as a whole.
> Co-funded by the European Commission under the EU’s 7th Research and
> Development Framework Programme, GÉANT is the e-Infrastructure at the heart
> of the EU’s European Research Area and contributes to the development of
> emerging Internet technologies. The project partners are 32 European
> National Research and Education Networks (NRENs), TERENA and DANTE. GÉANT
> is operated by DANTE on behalf of Europe’s NRENs. For more information,
> visit www.GEANT.net <http://www.geant.net/>
> *About UbuntuNet Alliance*
> UbuntuNet Alliance is the regional Research and Education Network for East
> and Southern Africa. It is an Alliance of 13 NRENs in the region aiming at
> interconnecting with each other and connecting to other regional networks
> globally. The Alliance is also working towards enabling collaboration in
> research and education over world class networks. The Alliance was
> established in 2005 and registered in 2006 as a not-for-profit regional
> association of NRENs in Eastern and Southern Africa. It has participated in
> several EU FP7 projects and is committed to the role of the advanced
> networks in unlocking Africa’s intellectual potential by ensuring that
> African Researchers and Educators achieve equity with the rest of the world
> through equitable access to global knowledge infrastructure. The Alliance
> is working with DANTE on the implementation of the AfricaConnect project
> which builds on a proven relationship between Europe and sub-Sahara Africa.
> www.ubuntunet.net
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