Academic Staff

Michael C. B. Ashley

M.Sc. Cal. Tech., B.Sc., Ph.D. ANU


Department and Research Groups

Research Interests

  • Antarctic astronomy: this is the last great frontier for ground-based astronomy. Our group at UNSW is leading the Australian push to establish a large infrared telescope on the antarctic plateau and has successfully run instruments at the US South Pole station since 1994. Five of our graduate students have been to the Pole during this time.
  • Wide-field robotic telescopes: I am collaborating with Carl Akerlof's group (University of Michigan) to place a 3rd-generation robotic telescope at Siding Spring Observatory, about 500 km from Sydney. The telescope will sit next to our own Automated Patrol Telescope, and will search for the optical counterparts for gamma-ray-bursts: mysterious explosions that can convert a solar mass of material to energy in one second. Other projects include searching for planetary transits and Kuiper Belt Objects.
  • Instrumentation & computing: my long term interest has been in electronics and computing (both hardware and software) with the goal of building new and interesting astronomical instruments. I will leave you with two words: Linux and Java.


CCD readout method, Ashley, M. C. B., 2003, Australian patent 759445.                             

Selected Publications

For a complete list of publications, see my home page.
  • Young, T. B., Hidas, M. G., Webb, J. K., Ashley, M. C. B., Chistiansen, J. L., Derekas, A. and Nutto, C., 2006, A New Detached K7 Dwarf Eclipsing Binary System, MNRAS, in press.
  • Rykoff, E. S., Yost, S. A., Krimm, H. A., Aharonian, F., Akerlof, C. W., Alatalo, K., Ashley, M. C. B., Barthelmy, S. D., Gehrels, N., Gogus, E., Guver, T., Horns, D., Kiziloglu, U., McKay, T. A., Ozel, M., Phillips, A., Quimby, R. M., Rujopakarn, W., Schaefer, B. E., Smith, D. A., Swan, H. F., Vestrand, W. T., Wheeler, J. C., and Wren, J., 2005, Prompt Optical Detection of GRB 050401 with ROTSE-IIIa, Astrophysical Journal, 631, L121-124.
  • Hidas, M. G., Ashley, M. C. B., Webb, J. K., Irwin, M., Phillips, A., Toyozumi, H., Derekas, A., Christiansen, J. L., Nutto, C., and Crothers, S., 2005, The University of New South Wales Extrasolar Planet Search: methods and first results from a field centred on NGC 6633, MNRAS, 360, 703-717.
  • Lawrence, J. S., Ashley, M. C. B., Tokovinin, A., and Travouillon, T., 2004, Exceptional astronomical seeing conditions above Dome C in Antarctica, Nature, 431, 278-281.

Contact Details 

Mail Address

School of Physics
The University of New South Wales

Email Address

Personal Home Page

Phone Number

61 2 9385 5465

Facsimile Number

61 2 9385 6060