Automation offers big solution to big data in astronomy

Mar 25, 2015

It's almost a rite of passage in physics and astronomy. Scientists spend years scrounging up money to build a fantastic new instrument. Then, when the long-awaited device finally approaches completion, the panic begins: How will they handle the torrent of data?

That's the situation now, at least, with the Square Kilometer Array (SKA), a radio telescope planned for Africa and Australia that will have an unprecedented ability to deliver data -- lots of data points, with lots of details -- on the location and properties of stars, galaxies and giant clouds of hydrogen gas.

In a study published in The Astronomical Journal, a team of UW-Madison scientists spearheaded by Bob Linder has developed a new, faster approach to analyzing all that data. Further details of this breakthrough can be found here.

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