December 31, 2012
Wallaby, Dingo Telescopes Set To Find 700,000 New Galaxies In 2013
Lawrence LeBlond for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online
Australian astronomers are expecting two sky surveys will be on par to discover some 700,000 new galaxies in 2013. The sky surveys, named Wallaby and Dingo, were officially opened earlier this year as part of the Australian Square Kilometer Array Pathfinder (Askap).
The $105 million Askap is located in a remote desert region of Western Australia, roughly 200 miles from Geraldton. Askap consists of 36 dishes, each 39 feet wide, which will work together as a single antenna to comb the vast regions of space hunting down new galaxies and providing clues about galactic evolution.
Astronomers said Askap will also investigate dark energy, one of the greatest mysteries of the universe. Dark energy is the force in which astronomers believe is causing galaxies to break apart at an accelerating rate. Astronomers, still not clear on exactly what dark energy is, believe it accounts for 73% of the universe.
“Askap is a highly capable telescope. Its surveys will find more galaxies, further away, and will be able to study them in more detail than any other radio telescope in the world,” noted Dr. Alan Duffy, an Askap team member from 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.”
The telescope system will also examine galactic hydrogen gas–the fuel that forms stars–to see how galaxies have evolved over the past 4 billion years.
Another ambitious project, the Square Kilometer Array (Ska), is projected to come online in 2019, giving astronomers an even bigger and better look into the cosmos. With receiving stations in South Africa, Australia and New Zealand, Ska will be the world´s largest radio telescope when it goes live.