June 14, 2010

World’s Largest Radiotelescope Unveiled

Scientists unveiled the largest radiotelescope in the world on Saturday in the Netherlands.

Femke Boekhorst of the Netherlands Radioastronomy Institute said the LOFAR (LOw Frequence ARray) consists of 25,000 small antennas measuring between 19 inches and 6 feet across, instead of a traditional large dish.

The scientists say the telescope was capable of detecting faint signals from almost as far back as the Big Bang.

The antennas are spread out across the Netherlands and also in Germany, Sweden, France and Britain.

"Today we have launched the biggest radiotelescope in the world. When you combine all the antennas you get a giant telescope with a diameter of about 600 miles," Boekhorst told AFP.

"The observations that we will be able to make will allow us to learn more about the origin of the universe, back to the moment right after the Big Bang," she added.

The data gathered by the radiotelescope will be dealt with by a supercomputer at the University of Groningen and then transmitted to the institute.


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