From SKA: “Canada’s CHIME telescope joins SKA pathfinder family”


From SKA

21 November 2018

CHIME Canadian Hydrogen Intensity Mapping Experiment -A partnership between the University of British Columbia, the University of Toronto, McGill University, Yale and the National Research Council of Canada, at the Dominion Radio Astrophysical Observatory in British Columbia, at the Dominion Radio Astrophysical Observatory in British Columbia

Great news: the SKA pathfinder family has a new member! We welcome CHIME, the Canadian Hydrogen Intensity Mapping Experiment 🇨🇦, to the group of facilities carrying out SKA-related science and technology studies around the world. Astronomers are using the signals CHIME collects to measure the expansion history of the Universe over a period of 4 billion years of cosmic time! CHIME is also expected to find thousands of new Fast Radio Bursts (FRBs) – a phenomenon consisting of short bursts of radio waves from far outside our Milky Way galaxy, but of unknown origin.

“CHIME’s observations will set the scene for the next generation of experiments with the SKA, which will be able to see even further back into the history of the Universe, observing hydrogen from a time when the Universe was less than a billion years old,” says Canadian SKA Science Director Prof. Bryan Gaensler.

The CHIME project is co-led by the @universityofbc, @McGillUniversity, @UniversityToronto and the National Research Council of Canada. Find out more on our website: http://skatel.org/CHIME-SKA-pathfinder_mXn0S

Canada’s largest radio telescope, the Canadian Hydrogen Intensity Mapping Experiment (CHIME), has been officially granted Square Kilometre Array (SKA) pathfinder status.

SKA pathfinders and precursors are facilities all over the world involved in SKA-related science and technology studies, and provide vital input for the teams developing the SKA. While precursor telescopes are located at the future SKA sites, pathfinders are dotted around the globe.

Located at the National Research Council of Canada’s Dominion Radio Astrophysical Observatory (DRAO) in British Columbia, CHIME is an unusual telescope with no moving parts and a huge field of view, which stretches almost from the northern to the southern horizon.

Astronomers are using the signals it collects to measure the expansion history of the Universe over a period of 4 billion years of cosmic time, by creating a 3D map of its most abundant element: hydrogen. Studying the Universe’s expansion in detail may provide evidence of what is causing its acceleration, one possible candidate being the mysterious Dark Energy.

CHIME is also ideal for other SKA-related studies, including discovering large numbers of Fast Radio Bursts (FRBs) – a phenomenon consisting of short bursts of radio waves from far outside our Milky Way galaxy, but of unknown origin – and monitoring Galactic radio pulsars.

“CHIME’s observations will set the scene for the next generation of experiments with the SKA, which will be able to see even further back into the history of the Universe, observing hydrogen from a time when the Universe was less than a billion years old,” said Canadian SKA Science Director Prof. Bryan Gaensler.

“Canada has a rich history in radio astronomy, and CHIME has continued this tradition by bringing together scientists and engineers from across the country. CHIME has also proven to be a fantastic platform for training young students and postdocs on the relevant technologies. These are the next generation of scientists who will be keen to use the SKA in the next decade and beyond,” Prof. Gaensler added.

“With CHIME we are performing exciting measurements of cosmology and FRBs which will help to frame the questions that the SKA is being designed to address,” said Prof. Mark Halpern from the University of British Columbia, which co-leads the project with McGill University, the University of Toronto and the National Research Council of Canada.

“We expect to find thousands of new FRBs, completely transforming this field, so what we learn from CHIME will be hugely valuable when planning future observations with the SKA.”

CHIME is a relatively new facility, achieving first light in September 2017. It brings the number of SKA pathfinders to 15, in addition to the four SKA precursor facilities in South Africa and Australia.

Read more on SKA precursors and pathfinders

Read more about the CHIME

See the full article here .

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About SKA

The Square Kilometre Arraywill be the world’s largest and most sensitive radio telescope. The total collecting area will be approximately one square kilometre giving 50 times the sensitivity, and 10 000 times the survey speed, of the best current-day telescopes. The SKA will be built in Southern Africa and in Australia. Thousands of receptors will extend to distances of 3 000 km from the central regions. The SKA will address fundamental unanswered questions about our Universe including how the first stars and galaxies formed after the Big Bang, how dark energy is accelerating the expansion of the Universe, the role of magnetism in the cosmos, the nature of gravity, and the search for life beyond Earth. Construction of phase one of the SKA is scheduled to start in 2016. The SKA Organisation, with its headquarters at Jodrell Bank Observatory, near Manchester, UK, was established in December 2011 as a not-for-profit company in order to formalise relationships between the international partners and centralise the leadership of the project.

The Square Kilometre Array (SKA) project is an international effort to build the world’s largest radio telescope, led by SKA Organisation. The SKA will conduct transformational science to improve our understanding of the Universe and the laws of fundamental physics, monitoring the sky in unprecedented detail and mapping it hundreds of times faster than any current facility.

Already supported by 10 member countries – Australia, Canada, China, India, Italy, New Zealand, South Africa, Sweden, The Netherlands and the United Kingdom – SKA Organisation has brought together some of the world’s finest scientists, engineers and policy makers and more than 100 companies and research institutions across 20 countries in the design and development of the telescope. Construction of the SKA is set to start in 2018, with early science observations in 2020.