South Africa Unveils A Powerful Radio Telescope

Posted: Jul 15 2018, 3:31pm CDT | by , Updated: Jul 15 2018, 10:56pm CDT, in Latest Science News


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South Africa Unveils a Powerful Radio Telescope
MeerKAT radio telescope was inaugurated in the remote South African site

The 64-dish radio telescope MeerKAT will help unravel some of the biggest mysteries in the Universe.

South Africa on Friday unveiled a super radio telescope MeerKAT in the remote, semi-desert site of Karoo. The radio telescope consists of 64 dishes, which makes it the largest and most powerful telescope in the southern hemisphere.

MeerKAT telescope is a small part of a much larger project. It will be integrated into a multi-nation Square Kilometer Array (SKA) which will be the world's most powerful radio telescope system. SKA will have 3,000 dishes across the world and will be 50 times more powerful than any other telescope. Once fully operational, the telescope will search for the signals from exploding stars, black holes, and dark energy and detect traces of the universe's origins. SKA is expected to become operational by 2030.

“The telescope will be the largest of its own kind in the world – with image resolution quality exceeding the Hubble Space Telescope by a factor of 50 times," said David Mabuza, the deputy president of South Africa. “This day represents some of Africa’s milestones…in our quest to catch up with the rest of the world and make our own contributions to civilization.”

MeerKAT will allow astronomers to peer deeper into space and revolutionize their understanding of the universe. It will be able to detect radio waves with unparalleled sensitivity and help unravel some of the biggest mysteries in the Universe like dark energy and dark matter.

“MeerKAT will address some of the key science questions in modern astrophysics – how did galaxies form, how are they evolving, how did we come to be here…and for those purposes MeerKAT is the best in the world.” Fernando Camilo, chief scientist at the South African Radio Astronomy Observatory said in a statement.

The unveiling ceremony on Friday also displayed a panorama image taken by the MeerKAT telescope. Researchers say that it is the clearest view yet of the black hole at the center of our galaxy Milky Way.

“We wanted to show the science capabilities of this new instrument," said Camilo. “The center of the galaxy was an obvious target: unique, visually striking and full of the explained phenomenon – but also notoriously hard to image using radio telescopes.”

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<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/47" rel="author">Hira Bashir</a>
The latest discoveries in science are the passion of Hira Bashir (). With years of experience, she is able to spot the most interesting new achievements of scientists around the world and cover them in easy to understand reporting.




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