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Surveys the sky, faster than ever before

Telescopes like ASKAP provide a big picture view of the Universe. Instead of studying a few objects in detail, astronomers can catalogue millions of new galaxies and other astronomical sources.

Located at Inyarrimanha Ilgari Bundara, our Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory in Western Australia, ASKAP has 36 dish antennas that work together as one telescope. The antennas stand three storeys tall, each with a 12-metre-wide dish, and they are dotted across the outback over an area of about six square kilometres. Critical to ASKAP’s unique capability is a novel radio ‘camera’ called a phased array feed receiver, located at the apex of each antenna.

Data-intensive science

ASKAP generates data at the rate of 100 trillion bits per second – more data at a faster rate than Australia’s entire internet traffic.

At the heart of ASKAP is the ‘correlator’, a high-speed digital signal processing system that extracts astronomy signals from this massive amount of data.

Using the Pawsey Supercomputing Research Centre and custom-written software, we produce science-ready datasets of many Terabytes for each observation, served to astronomers through ASKAP’s science archive.

Science programs with ASKAP are already delivering exciting new results, including all-sky catalogues of radio sources powered by black holes, measurements of hydrogen clouds in nearby and distant galaxies and clues to the origin of fast radio bursts.

ASKAP broke records with the fastest survey of the southern sky ever completed. Documenting three million galaxies in only 300 hours, one million of those galaxies had never been seen before. This was the Rapid ASKAP Continuum Survey, which has been turned into a virtual tour [Link will open in a new window] so you can see the sky just like ASKAP.

We acknowledge the Wajarri Yamaji as the Traditional Owners and native title holders of the Inyarrimanha Ilgari Bundara, our Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory site.

Our ASKAP news

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