Lincolnite searches stars for second Earth

An ex-resident of Monks Road, Robert Crain earned himself a ticket to Hawaii, not thanks to a scratch card but because of his career in astrophysics.

Crain, whose family still lives in Lincoln, will be gazing into the stars using the world’s biggest telescope on the summit of Mauana Kea on the island of Hawaii.

Now living in Melbourne, Australia, working at the Centre for Astrophysics and Supercomputing of Swinburne University, Crain’s job allowed him to travel the world.

Despite appearing on the covers of various scientific journals, lecturing and co-writing research papers, Crain’s trip to Hawaii, which is a difficult opportunity to come across, will be one of his greatest accolades

Crain said: “Swinburne, where I currently work, is one of the only institutes in the world where someone in a junior position (like I am) is even eligible to apply for observing time on the Keck telescopes—usually you have to be an established professor.”

The telescope’s 10-meter mirror is going to be used to allow Crain and his team to peer inside galaxies at their early stage of development.

Astronomers will be looking so far into the cosmos that it has taken the light from the galaxies 10 billion years to reach Earth.

The mission is no mean feat: firing a laser into the sky, with a beam so powerful they face being shut down by US Space Command in case they blind the international space station or spy satellites.