India part of radio telescope project in Australia

Perth: In a joint project involving India, Australia and the US, a next-generation radio telescope is being built in Western Australia to study the early Universe, Sun and space weather.

The Murchison Widefield Array (MWA) is a new type of radio telescope, with no moving parts and depends on prodigious computer power to create exquisite real-time wide-field images of the radio sky, Professor Steven Tingay of the International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research at Curtin University told.

Having frequencies ranging from 80 to 300 MHz and located in the radio-quiet Western Australia outback, the MWA will observe with unprecedented sensitivity to discover low-frequency radio phenomena that have never been seen before, he said.

The MWA, with a total cost of 30 million Australian dollars, is an international project led by Curtin University in Australia, MIT Haystack Observatory in the US and the Raman Research Institute (RRI), Bangalore.

Scientists and engineers at the RRI are supplying critical digital electronics sub-systems for the MWA, Tingay said.

Explaining the work, he said, “The radio waves from the distant Universe are converted into electrical signal by the antennas. These signals will go to the receiver where they are converted by the digital sub-system into digital signals that can then be transmitted via optical fibre to a central processing facility for conversion into images of the sky.