News / Asia

Australian Scientists Unveil Super Telescope

Dishes from the Australia Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder are seen at Murchison, Western Australia, October 5, 2012. Dishes from the Australia Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder are seen at Murchison, Western Australia, October 5, 2012.
x
Dishes from the Australia Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder are seen at Murchison, Western Australia, October 5, 2012.
Dishes from the Australia Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder are seen at Murchison, Western Australia, October 5, 2012.
Phil Mercer
— A powerful new super telescope in the Australian outback is set to begin probing the origins of stars and galaxies.  The Australian Square Kilometer Array Pathfinder (ASKAP) lies in the western Australian desert.  The technology is expected to capture radio images with unprecedented sensitivity and speed across large areas of sky. 

Australian scientists say the new facility opening Friday on the country’s remote west coast will be one of the world’s most important radio telescopes.

The isolated site was chosen because it is remarkably quiet, with a small population and few man-made radio signals that could interfere with the faint astronomical data.

The antenna array will give astronomers the power to investigate some fundamental questions about the universe, including dark matter, the nature of gravity and the origins of the first stars and galaxies.

The super telescope is 100 times more powerful than any previous design.

Dr. John O’Sullivan, a scientist at Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization, says these are exciting times.

"It is a number of telescopes; 30-odd telescopes that are each 12 meters in diameter.  They are not very big telescopes but it is still a very, very powerful survey instrument to start to get a look the origins of galaxies, and it looks a long way back towards the beginning of the universe," he said. "My personal interest has been partly on the technology and partly on the, you know, big questions about where do we all come from, how does the universe operate and so forth.  It is the beginning of a great new period, I think." 

The power of the telescope in Western Australia will, however, be dwarfed by what is to come.  It will become part of an even greater astronomical adventure, the Square Kilometer Array project.  It aims to build the world’s biggest radio telescope spread across different continents.

Its main components will be constructed in Australia and South Africa, with additional facilities in New Zealand.   The super telescope will be made up of thousands of antennas.  Combining their signals will create a telescope equivalent to a dish with an area of about one square kilometer.  This means that very weak signals from space can be detected.

The Square Kilometer Array will take well over a decade to finish.  Among its tasks will be to search for alien life.

You May Like

China Announces Corruption Probe into Senior Ex-Leader

Former security chief and member of Politburo Standing Committee, Zhou Yongkang, being probed for suspected 'serious disciplinary violation' More

India, US Look to Reset Ties During Kerry Visit

This week's talks will be first high level interaction between two countries since Prime Minister Narendra Modi took charge More

Video Young African Leadership Program Renamed to Honor Mandela

YALI program, launched by President Obama in 2010, aims to build skills in business, entrepreneurship, public management and civic leadership More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Students in Business for Themselvesi
X
Mike O'Sullivan
July 26, 2014 11:04 AM
They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid