Outer Space

The MeerKAT Telescope Discovered 1,000+ Galaxies On Its First Test Run

In July 2016, the MeerKAT radio telescope array showed astronomers an image full of previously unknown galaxies. The patch of sky it focused on covered less than 0.01% of the entire celestial sphere, but even so, the array detected more than 1,300 galaxies -- roughly 1,230 more than astronomers knew existed in that location. What's more impressive is that MeerKAT wasn't even fully built. It achieved this scientific milestone using only 16 of the 64 total dishes planned for the project. The final array will cover around a half mile, but the potential for discovery gets even more grand once that telescope joins with others in Australia to create the Square Kilometre Array (SKA), which could boost our discovery power by 10,000 times. With that kind of potential, there's no knowing what new discoveries about galaxies, pulsars, and dark energy we could make. We've collected some awesome videos on this topic. Watch them now to learn more.

Key Facts In This Video

  1. When the MEERKat project is done, it will have 64 satellite dishes spread over half a mile. 00:00

  2. The telescopes work by converting what they read in radio waves to a digital image. 00:35

  3. Another group will be built in Australia, with a total goal of 3,000 dishes, giving the project the discovery potential of 10,000 times what we currently have. 00:43

Written by Curiosity Staff July 29, 2016

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