A brain transplant for one of Australia's top telescopes

phys.org | 10/30/2019 | Staff
j.moominj.moomin (Posted by) Level 3
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One of Australia's top telescopes will receive an A$2.6 million upgrade to help extend its three-decade record of improving our understanding of the universe.

The Australia Telescope Compact Array (ATCA), near Narrabri in NSW, has been one of the top few radio telescopes in the world since it began operations in September 1988.

Conceived - CSIRO - Australia - Science - Agency

Conceived and run by CSIRO, Australia's national science agency, ATCA ushered in a new era of astronomical discovery in this country. The construction of the telescope was nearly all Australian, triggering the development of Australian communications companies and playing a key role in the invention of fast WiFi.

Since that opening, thousands of astronomers from around the world have used the telescope to make fundamental discoveries about the evolution of stars and galaxies. Even now, about 450 researchers and students use it each year to study the molecules in our galaxy, the magnetic fields that thread through galaxies, and the black holes that lie at their centers.

ATCA - Sources - Wave - Signals - Holes

The ATCA has been instrumental in identifying the sources of gravitational wave signals, such as colliding black holes or neutron stars. It has mapped the gas in nearby galaxies and has, unexpectedly, discovered gas in clusters of galaxies billions of light years away.

Meanwhile, in the north of Western Australia, CSIRO has just completed construction of the revolutionary A$188 million Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder telescope (ASKAP).

ASKAP - Survey - Radio-frequency - Signals - Sky

ASKAP is set to survey radio-frequency signals across the whole sky, increasing our knowledge of the radio sky by a factor of about 30, and providing new views of the universe, potentially leading to unexpected discoveries.

So you might think the 30-year old ATCA could now be retired. However, the demand for the ATCA will increase, not decrease.

ASKAP - Area - Detail - ASKAP - Discovery

ASKAP looks at a huge area but doesn't see in great detail. But when ASKAP makes a new discovery, ATCA can look at...
(Excerpt) Read more at: phys.org
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