B.C. gets a new telescope!

There’s a big project going on southwest of Penticton, British Columbia – at the Dominion Radio Astrophysical Observatory, construction for a brand new, gigantic radio telescope is just starting. It is Canada’s first research telescope built in over three decades, with a collaboration between professors from the University of British Columbia, the University of Toronto and Mcgill University.

This project, called the Canadian Hydrogen Intensity-Mapping Experiment (CHIME), will cost about 11 million dollars, using cellphone components to capture and turn radio waves from anywhere between 6-11 billion years ago in the universe into a huge 3-D map. This map will contain about 1/4 of the observable universe, which will be the largest map of its type in the world. Scientists say it will help to understand the expansion of the universe as well as the mysterious substance known as dark energy, which makes up about 70% of the universe.

CHIME is an amazing large project – when it is finished, it will have 2560 low noise receivers built from components adapted from cellphone materials, which will sense the radio waves. This entire site will have an area of 10 000 square metres, being larger than 6 NHL hockey rinks! See CBC news article: http://www.cbc.ca/news/technology/story/2013/01/25/tech-bc-radio-telescope-chime.html for more details.

UBC astrophysicist Mark Halpern says that this is “a standalone, entirely important Canadian experiment and we’re proud of that.” CHIME will be a fantastic astrological initiative for British Columbians, and will bring us further understanding of the mysteries of our universe.

Picture from CBC news website, by Gary Hinshaw/UBC.

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