facebook
twitter
rss
account
search
search
 

Giant telescope in Australia to probe earliest period of the universe

July 11, 2013 at 6:51 PM   |   Comments

MURCHISON, Australia, July 11 (UPI) -- Australia has hit the "on" switch of a giant radio telescope to probe the earliest period of the universe, billions of years into the past, astronomers say.

The $51 million Murchison Widefield Array telescope in remote Western Australia, a low-frequency, wide-field radio telescope able to capture a vast amount of data from the Southern Hemisphere sky, was launched by the country's Science and Research Minister Kim Carr, The Australian reported Wednesday.

The MWA is one of three "precursor" instruments for the world's most sensitive radio telescope, the Square Kilometer Array, which will link radio telescopes in Australia and southern Africa and be used by astronomers worldwide.

Detecting the formation of the first stars and galaxies is the "prime science goal" for the MWA, project director Steven Tingay of Curtin University in Perth said.

"It's a case of finding a needle in a haystack -- by the time the signal gets to us (from 13 billion years ago) it's incredibly weak," he said.

The period of interest is half a billion to one billion years after the Big Bang when proto-stars, galaxies and quasars began to emerge, he said.

© 2013 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
Most Popular
1
New dinosaur species with giant nose discovered in Utah New dinosaur species with giant nose discovered in Utah
2
Android phones to join iPhone in saying no to the police Android phones to join iPhone in saying no to the police
3
Perth's first iPhone buyer immediately drops brand new phone on live TV Perth's first iPhone buyer immediately drops brand new phone on live TV
4
Only 5 billion years until Andromeda Galaxy eats Milky Way Only 5 billion years until Andromeda Galaxy eats Milky Way
5
BYU electric car breaks another land speed record BYU electric car breaks another land speed record
Trending News
Video
x
Feedback