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Radio Astronomy

By: John Goldsmith

 

Region: Australia and Pacific

Site: Western Australia - Australia

Date: November 2012

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A fireball (very bright meteor) flashes against the coalsack nebula and the Southern Cross in the night sky above Murchison Widefield Array radio telescope antennas. The fireball left a glowing trail that dissipated over several minutes. The southern Milky Way and our neighboring dwarf galaxies the Large and Small Magellanic Clouds are also visible in this south-looking image. Click on the constellation icon above the image to see another view of this scene during twilight.
Emerging out of the Western Australian outback MWA is a remarkable telescope for radio astronomy where more than 2000 antennas are spread across 3 square kilometers, in 128 groups of dual-polarisation dipole antennas. Unlike steerable radio telescope dishes, these antennas contain no moving parts. Instead, advanced signal computer processing is used to focus the antennas on different parts of the sky. Murchison is over 800 km away from Perth, the capital of the Western Australia, and the vast area has very few population. Not only can extremely faint cosmic radio wave be detected in this radio-silent area, but the night sky is also extremely dark, giving spectacular views of the cosmos. John Goldsmith, Celestialvisions.com.au

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