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Penticton plays host to international astrophysics conference

The Dominion Radio Astrophysical Observatory's CHIME telescope on White Lake Road southwest of Penticton. The institute hosted a conference in Penticton involving 250 international scientists participating in a multi-national, billion dollar astrophysical project earlier this week.

PENTICTON - About 250 members of the international astrophysical community gathered in Penticton this week to discuss an joint project dealing with radio astronomy.

The scientists from around the world discussed the design work being done on a billion dollar project known as the Square Kilometre Array. Staff at the Dominion Radio Astrophysical Observatory near Penticton played host to the event.

Dominion Observatory director Sean Dougherty says the project, which will be built in Australia and South Africa, has involved meetings held annually for the past three years.

“Because we are the national radio astronomy observatory, we are working on a number of different projects in several technical areas,” Dougherty says. "The observatory is contributing to the Square Kilometre Array project by leveraging our experience, which comes from many years of building leading edge instrumentation for radio astronomy.” 

They are working on design work for a number of the different sub-systems including dish design, receiver systems, software and digital signal processing systems, he says.

Dougherty says the observatory continues to be very busy having recently designed a new telescope called CHIME.

"It’s not associated with the Square Kilometre Array directly, but it’s a university consortium project UBC, University of Toronto and McGill University are involved in,” he says, adding the telescope could provide a “pathfinder experiment” the array could build on when it comes into operation.

The telescope is nearly operational, requiring the installation of receivers.

“It’s currently the biggest radio telescope in Canada today, at 80,000 square metres,” Dougherty says.

To contact the reporter for this story, email Steve Arstad at or call 250-488-3065. To contact the editor, email or call 250-718-2724.

News from © iNFOnews, 2015

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