Aussie Astronomers Set to Detect 700,000 New Galaxies on 2013

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By Erik Pineda | January 2, 2013 3:45 PM EST

Australian astronomers are gunning to detect some 700,000 new galaxies via the $105 million Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder (ASKAP) located in the remote desert region of Western Australia.

Two separate sky surveys dubbed as Wallaby and Dingo will make use of the radio telescopes set up and completed in the WA region last year, which are comprised of 36 dishes each stretching at 39 feet.

These space-aimed dishes "would work together as a single antenna scanning the vast regions of space to locate new galaxies and provide clues about galactic evolution," Domain-B.com said in a report.

By the end of 2013, this powerful telescope would have mapped out hundreds of thousand of galaxies that previously were beyond man's reach, according to Dr Alan Duffy of the University of Western Australia.

"We predict that Wallaby will find an amazing 600,000 new galaxies and Dingo 100,000, spread over trillions of cubic light years of space," Dr Duffy told the IrishCentral.com this week.

"ASKAP is a highly capable telescope. Its surveys will find more galaxies, further away and be able to study them in more detail than any other radio telescope in the world," added the leader of the upcoming 'space exploration'.

Dr Duffy's team is also set to probe deeper on the so-called Dark Energy in the universe, which according to astronomers dominates around 73 per cent of the unmapped space out there.

Regarded as an anti-gravity force, the Dark Energy "was causing galaxies to break apart at an accelerating rate," the ASKAP team said in a statement.

Dr Duffy is hopeful that with ASKAP, astronomers will gain deeper understanding on the inner works of the Dark Energy.

He added that part of ASKAP's goal this year is to unearth more information surrounding the galactic hydrogen gas.

This gas, Dr Duffy said, is the fuel behind the formation of stars, adding that plotting the galactic movements directly connected with this space element would provide astronomers clear clues on how the galaxies were formed, developed and changed in the past few billion years.

By 2019, ASKAP will link up with similar radio dishes in New Zealand and South Africa to form the Square Kilometre Array that will be known as the world's largest radio telescope.

According to IrishCentral.com, this new super facility's "combined antennae will provide a total radiation collecting area of approximately one square kilometre."

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