Australian telescope maps deep space at record speed

02 Décembre, 2020, 11:48 | Auteur: Therese Cote
  • The radio telescope was able to map about three million galaxies in just 300 hours whereas comparable surveys of the sky have taken up to 10 years

A new radio telescope in outback Western Australia has just created an atlas of the southern sky in record-breaking time, demonstrating that detailed all-sky surveys can now be done in weeks instead of years.

The radio telescope, dubbed the Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder (Askap), was able to map about three million galaxies in just 300 hours.

The telescope managed to map a total of three million galaxies.

CSIRO head Larry Marshall said the survey had unlocked the deepest secrets of the universe.

"It's all enabled by innovative receivers developed by CSIRO that feature phased array feed technology, which see ASKAP generate more raw data at a faster rate than Australia's entire internet traffic".

Australian SKA Pathfinder Radio Telescope in the day.

"ASKAP is a major technological development that puts our scientists, engineers and industry in the driver's seat to lead deep space discovery for the next generation".

Federal Science and Technology Minister Karen Andrews said ASKAP was an example of Australia's world-leading radio astronomy capability.

What makes this telescope unique is its wide field of view, using receivers designed by CSIRO, which allow it to take panoramic pictures in sharper detail than before.

3 million galaxies in 300 hours: New Australian telescope breaks mapping record

The initial results were published on November 30, 2020, in the Publications of the Astronomical Society of Australia.

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Such broad snapshots of the sky will help astronomers statistically analyse huge populations of galaxies and thus answer questions about their origins, dynamics and evolution.

The survey covered 83% of the entire sky by stitching together 903 individual wide-field images - an impressive feat considering that existing survey telescopes need tens of thousands of images to achieve the same coverage.

The team have used the images to create a "Google Maps" of the night sky that you can interact with and use to see details of far flung parts of the known universe. "We expect to find tens of millions of new galaxies in future surveys", Dr. McConnell said.

The CSIRO's custom-built hardware and software processed 13.5 exabytes of raw data generated by the telescope to create the sky map. They stitched-up the map with 903 high detailed images.

"The Pawsey Supercomputing Centre has worked closely with CSIRO and the ASKAP team since our inception and we are proud to provide essential infrastructure that is supporting science delivering great impact", Mr. Stickells said.

ASKAP's advanced technologies are providing insights for the development of the Square Kilometre Array (SKA), an worldwide mega-science project to build the world's largest radio telescopes.

CSIRO acknowledges the Wajarri Yamaji as the traditional owners of the MRO site.

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