Citizen Science

Big Data and Astronomy: Thilina Heenatigala will speak at the Arthur C Clarke Centennial


Thilina Heenatigala, an astronomy educator at the Leiden Observatory in The Netherlands, will be speaking at the Arthur C. Clarke Centennial Celebration, this weekend. He'll be talking about how Big Data is being used in astronomy.


From his brief: 

"Time just stopped for me, I think it stopped for everybody. My heart stopped. My breathing stopped," a 51-year-old Clarke said, describing how it felt to watch the lunar module touch down on the Apollo 11 mission.

The USB memory stick today is more powerful than the computers that put humans on the moon in the 60s. Decades later, the field of astronomy is generating astronomical size data. From 140 gigabits of raw science data every week produced by Hubble Space Telescope, upcoming Large Synoptic Survey Telescope expected to produce 20 terabits per night, to the future Square Kilometre Array facility expected to produce more data than we have on the entire Internet now. How does astronomers handle these big data? How are citizens helping that?"


Thilina is also a collaborator of International Astronomical Union's Office of Astronomy for Development (OAD) and Office for Astronomy Outreach (OAO). He also served as the General Secretary of Sri Lanka Astronomical Association which was founded by Sir Arthur C Clarke.

Thilina enjoys writing poetry and black & white photography while travelling.


The Arthur C. Clarke Centennial Celebration is this weekend on Saturday at Trace Expert City. It marks 100 years since the birth of Arthur C Clarke, one of science fiction's most influential writers.  The ACC 100 is sponsored by Calcey Technologies