Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder (Askap)

The Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder (Askap) is a radio telescope with a collection of 36 dish antennas, located in the southern hemisphere, in Western Australia. These antennas work together for taking panoramas of the sky.

Key Points

  • It is located at the observatory of CSIRO- the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, an Australian Government agency.
  • It is spread across an area of 6km at the CSIRO’s Murchison observatory approximately 700km north of Perth.
  • As per CSIRO, Aksap combines signals from smaller dishes and creates high-resolution images at a fraction of the cost of one very large dish.
  • The large volumes of data that are generated are then sent to a supercomputer processing facility in Perth for creating images.
  • Its construction started in the year 2009 and the first use of Aksap was done in October 2012.

First Mapping using Aksap

  • Askap conducted its first all-sky survey that covered 83% of the sky by mapping three million galaxies in total, with more revealing details.
  • The map dubbed as the ‘Atlas of Universe’ was integrated together using 903 highly-detailed images, unlike tens of thousands of images required conventionally.
  • This survey just took 300 hours as compared to years taken by previous all-sky surveys.
  • With the depth and scale of the images, Scientists can perform intense analysis and improve their understanding of how the universe is evolved.

The initial results were published in the Astronomical Society of Australia Publications. Askap is one of the precursors to an international project for building the world’s largest radio telescope – the Square Kilometre Array.

CSIRO

Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) is n scientific research agency of the Australian government. It was formed in the year 1916. It is headquartered in Canberra, Australia. It is presently headed by David Thodey.