Ultra-Sensitive Radio Telescope to Be Launched in South Africa

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Ultra-Sensitive radio telescope called as MeerKAT to be launched in South Africa, according to a report published on July 16, 2018.

Data has been gathered by some parts of the array and is now almost ready to use interferometry from all 64 dishes to map the normally invisible portions of space in exceptionally high detail. In around two months of time, it is expected to be completely ready for scientific experiments.

A panorama of the Milky Way galaxy’s center has been produced by the researchers using radio, infrared, and X-ray wavelengths that penetrate the gas and dust thwarting conventional telescopes. The image shows many of the sources of magnetized filament structures near the black hole that were earlier a mystery. It provides an explanation, as to how those filaments were formed.

There are two ongoing projects, which will make use of the full telescope. One project is to study the level of hydrogen in galaxies, which could help fill out the history of the universe, while another will tackle fast radio bursts and other transients that remain elusive to astronomers. Ultimately, eight large-survey projects will be accommodated by MeerKAT, thereby giving each team over 1,000 hours of observation time over five years.

Work related to folding of MeerKAT into the Square Kilometer Array (SKA) will not start until 2020. When it is fully ready, the SKA could provide insights that were not given by other telescopes. This innovation is considered to be a major milestone for space science in Africa. MeerKat, which costs US$ 331 billion is expensive, however, it is already being served as a draw for scientists who would otherwise have to go to the Americas, Australia or Europe to collect the required data.

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