Manage episode 282761171 series 2530089
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The Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder (ASKAP) has mapped around three million distant galaxies with remarkable speed and detail. The telescope completed its first survey of the sky from the Outback in Western Australia in just 300 hours. According to Larry Marshall, head of Australian science agency Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), the survey was a breakthrough in unveiling the mysteries of the universe. The survey’s result is analogous to a Google Map of the universe, where millions of faraway galaxies are shown as star-like marks. The map includes about a million new galaxies that had never been seen before. Other telescopes would have taken about a decade to map out the same number of galaxies. In addition, compared to other surveys of the sky that require tens of thousands of images to process and combine, the ASKAP only needed about 900 images to create a new atlas of the sky. Because of its superior capabilities, astronomer David McConnell described the ASKAP as a game-changer in astronomy. The telescope is equipped with CSIRO-designed receivers that enable it to have a vast field of view and capture images of the sky in higher resolution compared to other telescopes. Its custom-built software is also capable of quickly processing the large amounts of data it generates. McConnell said the telescope is more sensitive, capturing a larger number of objects than ever before. Scientists at CSIRO expect to conduct more surveys of the sky and discover millions more galaxies in the future. They are also hopeful that the telescope will allow them to observe changes in the sky and gain a better understanding of the life cycle of stars and the evolution of black holes and galaxies.