View Full Version : World's Largest Telescope

2006-Jan-21, 04:25 PM
SUMMARY: Europeans have begun funding what will eventually become the world's largest telescope: the Square Kilometre Array. The first step is a four-year study that will consult astronomers and engineers from around the world to decide what will make the best design. It will then be developed in stages, with parts coming operational over the next decade, and completion by 2020. Once complete, this extremely sensitive radio telescope will help probe the nature of dark matter, confirm Einstein's predictions about relativity... and let us watch television shows broadcast from nearby stars.

View full article (http://www.universetoday.com/am/publish/pparc_largest_telescope.html)
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2006-Jan-21, 05:20 PM
probe the nature of dark matter, confirm Einstein's predictions about relativity... and let us watch television shows broadcast from nearby stars.

all those things sound very cool! I hope there wont be any budget problems and things go smoothly.

2006-Jan-22, 12:56 AM

television shows from nearby stars are not likely to be observable: We don´t know their TV standards.

That this large telsecope will be built is fascinating, but it will turn out extremely difficult to benefit fom its sensitivity, as the telescope is run on earth, where it exists together with numerous cellular phones around it, satellites and aircraft crossing above it, and numerous computers and power transmitters, all producing radiation which covers the entire spectrum, with a power that is a million times stronger than anything coming in from any distant star.

If we placed one cellular phone on the moon, this little device would appear as the strongest radio source that is outside earth.
And we have billions of them much closer! Currently it seems that we are too noisy to be able to hear the faint whispers from far, far space!



Dragon Star
2006-Jan-22, 02:58 AM
That is great!

One question, how much bigger could it be from our current Array? I mean, the ones we have now are large and we can't see a lot of what is described.

Must be huge:think:

2006-Jan-22, 08:03 AM
There is another project going on which is called http://www.lofar.org/ (LOFAR)
I read on a dutch site, that this will be the world largest radio telescope.

Probably they need to update that web-site now SKA is going to be world largest telescope. :razz:

2006-Jan-22, 03:37 PM

The Lofar design is that of a virtual telescope which consists of various antennas evenly distributed over an area which is hundreds of kilometers across, linked together by a fast and specialized network. The signal from each antenna is processed simultaneously, in phase as well as received frequencies, and as the distance between all antennas of the system is precisely known, a special computer system is capable to generate a virtual telescope from these signal streams, with an angular resolution comparable to that of a telescope with a 100 km antenna. The main benefit of the Lofar design is that you do not need any pointing equipment at any antenna, the pointing is realized in the central computer system, which is said to be capable of measuring all frequencies of all possible sources simultaneously, each source at a pointing accuracy hitherto only available with long-baseline interferometry. And that at a fraction of the cost, because the Lofar antennas are rather small and unobtrusive, and easy to install.
With Lofar, you live in a country which in fact is a huge radio telescope, but you can´t see it.
A square kilometer covered with radio telescopes is more impressive. But the combined sensitivity of these hundreds of radio telescopes will be enormous, and the possibilities to eliminate interfering signals by analyzing the output from all antennas simultaneusly will be very great.



2006-Jan-23, 05:14 PM
To which Prof Steve Rawlings, University of Oxford, adds,"The distribution of these galaxies in space tells us how the universe has evolved since the Big Bang and hence about the nature of the Dark Energy which is now making the universe expand faster with time".
Dark Energy is a rather tenuous discovery, based upon unproven kinetic models. It is a little disturbing that the phrasing treats Dark Energy as factually established science. It is a new theory with little provence.

Another target for the SKA is pulsars - spinning remnants of stellar explosions which are the most accurate clocks in the universe. A million times the mass of the Earth but only the size of a large city, pulsars can spin around hundreds of times per second. Already these amazing objects have enabled astronomers to confirm Einstein's prediction of gravitational waves.

No, they have been able to estimate the energy budgets associate with these spin-downs; and demonstrate there is sufficient energy lost to generate gravity waves. However, it remains the task of telescope arrays like LIGO to confirm gravity waves are both created and transmitted.