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Australian telescope maps three million galaxies in just 300 hours

2nd December, 2020 Science and Technology

Context: The radio telescope, dubbed the Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder (ASKAP), was able to map about three million galaxies in just 300 hours. Comparable surveys of the sky have taken as long as 10 years.

  • What makes this telescope unique is its wide field of view, using receivers designed by CSIRO, which allow it to take panoramic pictures of the sky in sharper detail than before.
  • The telescope only needed to combine 903 images to map the sky, compared with other all-sky radio surveys that require tens of thousands of images.
  • Having a telescope that can survey the sky in a few weeks or months means the process can be repeated again and again in a relatively short space of time, allowing astronomers to systematically spot and track changes.
  • Significance: Data gathered in this survey would allow astronomers to find out more about star formation and how galaxies and black holes evolve through statistical analyses.