Australia is now home to the world's fastest radio telescope with the launch Friday of the $152 million Australia Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder (ASKAP), which experts said would allow a more expansive survey of the universe - both known and what remains for scientists to discover s.
The new scientific research site is located in the Shire of Murchison, a sparsely populated area in Western Australia that astronomers have picked out because of the virtual absence of man-made radio signals.
"The location is ideal because it is 'radio quiet', or lacks man-made radio signals that would interfere with the antennas picking up astronomical radio signals," Reuters said on its report.
The ASKAP telescope is projected to improve on the previous achievements of similar facilities, giving researchers and scientists more universe space to cover with less time required.
Putting into perspective the speed and efficiency that comes with the ASKAP, scientists said only five minutes will be spent to fully observe Milky Way's neighbouring galaxy, which Reuters said is Centaurus A.
Earlier works on the Centaurus A were achieved after two years of careful observations that were aided by thousands of hours of computer analysis and the poring over of hundreds of images, the news agency added.
Now with use of phased array feeds coming from 36 antennas spread over an area of about 50,000 square kilometres, future scientific researchers and observations have become more specific and accurate, scientists said.
These well-coordinated radio waves will provide clear snap shots of what man aims to discover out there to better comprehend the universe, National Scientific Research Organisation (NSRO) project director Brian Boyle said in a news briefing held earlier this week.
"Radio waves tell us unique things about the cosmos, about the gas from which stars were formed, and about exotic objects, pulsars and quasars, that really push the boundaries of our knowledge of the physical laws in the universe," Mr Boyle said.
What the new facility has delivered is for astronomers to better understand our own universe and the 'others' on its outer realms, he added.
Over the next few years, the NSRO is gunning to gain more information on the force that led to the creation of Milky Way and its constant expansion, decode the mystery-laden black holes and investigate further on pulsars.
It could be that the new ASKAP telescope would eventually prove that 'man is not alone' after all, Mr Boyle suggested.
"As you're surveying the sky, particularly over wide areas of sky looking for objects, you are also increasing the search volume for signals from extraterrestrial life," the Aussie scientist was quoted by Reuters as saying.
ASKAP will also pave the way for the setting up of the Square Kilometre Array (SKA), which is an international project with the Australian and South African governments at the forefront as the two nations will host the facilities.
It will become the world's largest telescope upon completion, NSRO said, and construction of additional antennas in Australia is expected to commence on 216.
From the existing 36 antennas, another 60 will be added to realise such ambitious project, Mr Boyle said.
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