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Posts Tagged ‘radio telescope

Swedes makes world’s largest telescope bigger

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Sweden's LOFAR station is complete and will be opened on 26 September 2011 by Jan Bjorklund, minister for education and research. The photo shows the two halves of the Onsala LOFAR station. Above, the 96 high-band antennas in their protective 'tiles'. Below, the 96 low-band antennas with their characteristic tepee shape. Credit: Onsala Space Observatory/Leif Helldner.

On Monday, Sweden’s Minister for Education and Research, Jan Bjorklund, will open Onsala Space Observatory’s newest telescope. Part of Lofar, the world’s largest radio telescope, it is the biggest telescope built in Sweden in the last 35 years. Lofar will map radio signals which have travelled across the universe for billions of years. Scientists expect Lofar to answer questions about the nature of our universe…. Read the rest of this entry »

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September 22, 2011 at 10:22 pm

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Space telescope to create radio ‘eye’ larger than Earth

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A Russian space telescope conceived during the Cold War is set to launch on Monday. When it reaches an orbit that will extend almost as far as the moon, the RadioAstron mission will sync up with radio antennas on the ground, effectively forming the biggest telescope yet built, with a “dish” spanning almost 30 times the Earth’s diameter.

RadioAstron’s roots extend back more than three decades, but the mission lost momentum when the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991. “For 20 years it was always five years away,” says collaborator Ken Kellermann of the National Radio Astronomy Observatory in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Now, at long last, the spacecraft is poised to launch from Kazakhstan’s Baikonur cosmodrome at 0231 GMT on Monday.

At 10-metres, RadioAstron’s antenna is small compared to Earth’s largest radio telescopes, which span 100 metres or more. But when its signals are combined with those of telescopes on the ground – a technique called interferometry, the resulting observations are as sharp as those produced by a single telescope with a dish as wide as the maximum distance between the component antennas….. Read the rest of this entry »

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July 17, 2011 at 7:09 am

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China starts building world’s biggest radio telescope

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The 500-metre FAST telescope will be the most sensitive instrument ever to peer into the skies, a boon for astronomers, cosmologists and alien hunters

THE largest and most famous radio telescope in the world – the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico – is about to be upstaged. In a remote part of Guizhou province in southern China, construction has begun on a true behemoth of engineering, the Five-hundred-metre Aperture Spherical radio Telescope (FAST), an instrument that promises to transform radio astronomy.
“FAST is an awesome project,” says Subramaniam Ananthakrishnan of the National Centre for Radio Astrophysics in Pune, India. When completed, its 500-metre diameter single dish will make it the largest and most sensitive radio telescope in the world. What’s more, although FAST’s dish will be fixed in its crater-like setting, a series of large motors will be able to change the shape of its reflective surface, allowing it to scan large swathes of the sky. FAST will be able to peer three times further into the universe than Arecibo. Astronomers expect it to uncover thousands of new galaxies and deep-sky objects up to 7 billion light years away.
Much like the Puerto Rican landscape that is home to Arecibo, Guizhou province is pocked with dramatic karst depressions, sinkholes formed by aeons of water eating away at limestone bedrock. Using a combination of satellite imagery and aerial surveys, astronomers led by Rendong Nan of the National Astronomical Observatories (NAO) in Beijing settled on a remote 800-metre-wide karst ringed by mountains, which is far enough away from population centres to be free of radio frequency interference.
But it was not entirely unpopulated. At the bottom of the karst was a 90-year-old village of about 80 people – all members of the same family – who lived in traditional wooden homes with farm animals housed at ground level and people upstairs. Several of the children would hike out of the karst to go to a nearby school. “They would climb up every day,” says NAO astronomer Di Li. “It’s quite a climb to go over the ridge.”
The villagers were relocated to the nearest town before construction started in March, and it is scheduled to finish by September 2016. Workers will excavate a million cubic metres of soil to get the karst into the hemispherical shape to support the dish antenna, which will be made of 4400 triangular aluminium panels. The panels will be interconnected at nodes, which can be moved up and down via a cable or motor system to change the shape of the dish’s surface…. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by physicsgg

June 13, 2011 at 9:27 pm

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