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TELESCOPE IN AUSTRALIA IS CREATING A ‘GOOGLE MAP’ OF THE UNIVERSE

TELESCOPE IN AUSTRALIA IS CREATING A ‘GOOGLE MAP’ OF THE UNIVERSE

Context

The Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder (ASKAP), a powerful telescope developed and operated by Australia’s science agency CSIRO, has mapped over three million galaxies in a record 300 hours during its first all-sky survey.

Details

  • ASKAP is a telescope designed over a decade ago and located about 800 km north of Perth.
  • It became fully operational in February 2019 and is currently conducting pilot surveys of the sky before it can begin large-scale projects from 2021 onward.
  • ASKAP surveys are designed to map the structure and evolution of the Universe, which it does by observing galaxies and the hydrogen gas that they contain.

Significance of Telescope

  • Mapping the Universe on such a scale enables astronomers to study the formation of stars and how galaxies and their supermassive black holes evolve and interact with each other.
  • The results of various surveys undertaken using ASKAP are also being used for the development of the Square Kilometre Array (SKA), which is an international project with the aim of building the world’s largest radio telescopes.

About Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder (ASKAP)

  • It is a radio telescope array located at Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory (MRO) in the Australian Mid West.
  • It is operated by the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) and forms part of the Australia Telescope National Facility.

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