Canada Builds One of the World’s Largest Radio Telescopes

Satellite. Image Source: Dominion Radio Astrophysical Observatory.

Satellite. Image Source: Dominion Radio Astrophysical Observatory.

Canada is making construction headlines as it prepares to build one of the largest radio telescopes in the world, and the largest in the country. The telescope will span full-sized NHL hockey rinks.

The radio telescope is known as the Canadian Hydrogen Intensity-Mapping Experiment (CHIME) is the first telescope of its kind to be built in Canada in 30 years and will stand in Penticton, BC, in the Dominion Radio Astrophysical Observatory (DRAO). This is, according to astrophysicist Gary Hinshaw, the best location for this project.

The experiment will cost $11 million, but according to lead investigator Kris Sigurdson, this is a small price to pay for understanding why the universe is expanding. With the radio telescope, scientists hope to make a three-dimensional picture of the universe.

The telescope will have a 100 meter by 100 meter collecting area with 2,560 low-noise receivers. Within five years, twenty five percent (25%) of the universe will be mapped by the telescope in a complex process that starts with the collection of the signals and its digital sampling at a rate of one billion times per second.

The expansion of the universe at a rapid rate has been noted in the 1920s by astronomer Edwin Hubble back in the 1920s. Until now, no scientific research had backed these claims. The goal of the telescope is to find out what is responsible for this accelerated expansion of the universe.

Funding for the project will come from the Canada Foundation for Innovation and will gather scientists from McGill University, the University of Toronto, and the University of British Columbia.

With the radio telescope project, once again, Canada proves itself as a world-class leader in construction.



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