January 04, 2013 - 3:32 PM
With construction of a radio telescope beginning next month near Penticton, researchers from the University of British Columbia are hopeful they'll soon have a better understanding of the origins of the universe.
The Canadian Hydrogen Intensity Mapping Experiment (CHIME) brings together the talents of cosmologists from the UBC, University of Toronto's Canadian Institute for Theoretical Astrophysics and McGill University.
CHIME will be built on the radio-protected campus of the Dominion Radio Astrophysical Observatory (DRAO), to survey the universe and collect data at the fastest speed possible at a lower cost compared to other methods used to gather this type of information. The technology will allow observers to create a recent, three dimensional view of the universe by measuring cosmic sound waves.
And contrary to what might be expected from technology, the telescope will become better and more sensitive over years as other components are integrated into the project.
The telescope involves an array of cylindrical reflectors with no moving parts or cryogenics. They'll take up a space about the size of three football fields and will survey from a quarter to half the sky every day with microsecond resolution.
Not only will CHIME measure the 4.6 per cent of matter that is directly observable, it will also "see" dark matter which comprises 24 per cent, detected as it creates gravitational effects on observable matter.
The remaining matter is known by cosmologists as dark energy which is considered a type of anti-gravity and thought to be responsible for pushing the universe apart. This effect will also be calculated through data gathered by the telescope.
To get it all going, a test bed is being built while funding for the $12 million project is secured by proponents of the project.
More information on the project is available through the UBC website.
News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2013