7 July 2011
Milestone as radio dishes linked
Jonathan Nally 7 July 2011
"The discovery potential of the future international Square Kilometre Array (SKA) radio telescope has been glimpsed following the commissioning of a working optical fibre link between CSIRO’s Australian SKA Pathfinder (ASKAP) telescope in Western Australia, and other radio telescopes across Australia and New Zealand.
The achievement will be announced at the 2011 International SKA Forum, taking place this week in Banff, Canada.
On 29 June, six telescopes—ASKAP, three CSIRO telescopes in New South Wales, a University of Tasmania telescope and another operated by the Auckland University of Technology—were used together to observe a radio source that may be two black holes orbiting each other.
Data from all sites were streamed in real time to Curtin University in Perth (a node of the International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research) and there processed to make an image.
This ability to successfully link antennae (dishes) over large distances will be vital for the future $2.5 billion SKA telescope, which will have several thousand antennae, up to 5,500 kilometres apart, working together as a single telescope. Linking antennae in such a manner allows astronomers to see distant galaxies in more detail."
[ Source:spaceinfo.com.au (photo: Terrace Photographers) ]