Astronomy Sees No Borders As Thailand and Australia Are Making Waves for New Collaborations

Australian Embassy

Bangkok, Thailand

March 22, 2016

Prof. Boonrucksar Soonthornthum, Executive Director of NARIT was granted a courtesy call to visit the Australian Ambassador, H.E. Mr. Paul Robilliard today to discuss future collaborations on the upcoming projects initiated by both countries.  


The discussions mainly touched upon the new projects on which NARIT and Australian institutes have mutual interests.  The main current focus of NARIT is the commitment to the development of the Thai National Radio Telescope; therefore, close collaborations and contributions from both countries are the most sought-after tools for such development.  


The NARIT’s executive director shared detailed information with the Australian Ambassador on the establishment of the linkage between NARIT and ICRAR (International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research) to promote workshops and trainings, linking Thai and Australian astronomical communities together via Supercomputing and Data Intensive Technology. An influx of staff and technology transfer will be seen as an impetus to shape up Thai Radio Astronomy in establishing Thai VLBI Network (TVN) through experienced guidance of the Australian counterpart.  An MoU between NARIT and ICRAR shall be inked in mid April this year.


Australia-ASEAN Cooperation Scheme was also one of the hot topics being discussed.  There has been a great demand for an establishment of High Performance Computing (HPC) for astronomy in Thailand. This cooperative scheme will definitely enhance the capacity building in ‘Big-Data’ management, as there will be an escalation in new infrastructure and instruments that will generate swamping floods of data of which need to be organized in a technologically advanced fashion.  With the stringent foundation of expertise from the Australian counterpart, the scheme can further strengthen the HPC at NARIT to become the regional astronomical data centre of excellence. 


“Apart from the collaborations with ICRAR, we are aiming at putting a 0.7-metre robotic telescope at Siding Springs in NSW, Australia – a collaborative effort between NARIT and Australian National University (ANU) under the Thai Robotic Telescopes Network (Thai Robonet). This project will add another eye to the sky to the already existing Thai Robonet that NARIT has already on offer” added Prof. Boonrucksar. 


The visit by NARIT to the Embassy of Australia set a good example of how astronomy can be a diplomatic approach in bringing the two nations together engaging Science, Technology and Innovation as a tool of Science Diplomacy for mutual development and long-standing relationship between Thailand and Australia. “Stars are bound borderless, so are Thailand and Australia”, remarked Prof. Boonrucksar.