Mapping the way to success
A WILLETTON astrophysicist is giving city folk a chance to see the entire sky in technicolour through her research in outback WA.
Natasha HurleyWalker had set up a low frequency radio telescope in Murchison, northeast of Geraldton, to create detailed maps of the southern Australian sky.
“We took about 10,000 observations, processed them using supercomputers and I stitched them together to make a radio map of the entire sky,” she said.
“If you tried to do the same thing here in Perth, you wouldn’t be able to see the radio sky at all because there are so many interfering man-made radio signals.”
For her work with the Murchison Widefield Array telescope, Dr Hurley-Walker was recently named among an all-women line up of ABC top five scientists in 2018.
Dr Hurley-Walker hoped the recognition of five women would enhance equality in science, where historically less women were in senior positions.
“Science is a process of creative risk-taking and learning from failure, and research shows women are socialised away from this kind of behaviour at an early age,” she said.
Dr Hurley-Walker urged high school girls who were aspiring scientists not to shy away from science as they grew up.
Dr Natasha Hurley-Walker with the radio sky map she created.