CSIRO 'hot rods' old telescope

Oct 13, 2010
The University of Sydney's MOST telescope, now SKAMP. Image credit - University of Sydney

CSIRO has helped transform the University of Sydney's radio telescope into a world-class instrument, and along the way has learned lessons for its own ASKAP (Australian SKA Pathfinder) telescope.

Both telescopes will help demonstrate Australia’s technological expertise in its bid to host the world’s largest and most advanced radio telescope – the Square Kilometre Array (SKA).

The University of Sydney runs what was the Molonglo Observatory Synthesis Telescope (MOST) near Canberra. It contracted CSIRO to help develop signal-processing systems – a filterbank and correlator – to dramatically boost the telescope’s performance.

The upgrade has made the telescope more flexible, three times more sensitive, with ten times more bandwidth [up from 3 MHz to 30 MHz], and able to make better-quality images of objects in space.

“This project has given our telescope a whole new capability,” says Professor Anne Green of the University of Sydney, who led the process.

“It looks the same, but under the bonnet it’s been born again.”

And the “new” telescope has a new name: SKAMP (the Square Kilometre Array Molonglo Prototype).

The formal handover of the new signal-processing systems recently took place at the University of Sydney.

The knowledge CSIRO has gained during the course of this project has been applied to the design of the digital systems for its own ASKAP , which is now under construction in Western . Much of the SKAMP contract was carried out by the ASKAP Digital Systems team.

“What we’ve learned over several years will now allow us to dramatically shorten our design cycle for ASKAP's digital systems, as well as potentially feed into future development work that will be required for the SKA,” says CSIRO SKA Director, Dr. Brian Boyle.

Explore further: Black hole chokes on a swallowed star

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

First signal received by future telescope

Mar 03, 2010

An historic milestone was reached recently in Australia's bid to host the Square Kilometre Array telescope - a future international radio telescope that will be the world's largest and most sensitive.

Honey, I shrunk the receiver

Mar 17, 2010

(PhysOrg.com) -- CSIRO and Australian company Sapphicon Semiconductor Pty Ltd have signed an agreement to jointly develop a complete radio receiver on a chip measuring just 5 mm x 5 mm that could eventually ...

Astronomers reveal a 'blue whale of space'

Jul 07, 2009

CSIRO astronomers have revealed the hidden face of an enormous galaxy called Centaurus A, which emits a radio glow covering an area 200 times bigger than the full Moon.

Aussies and Kiwis forge a cosmic connection

May 26, 2010

Six radio telescopes across Australia and New Zealand have joined forces to act as one giant telescope, linking up over a distance of 5500 km for the first time.

Recommended for you

Black hole chokes on a swallowed star

7 hours ago

A five-year analysis of an event captured by a tiny telescope at McDonald Observatory and followed up by telescopes on the ground and in space has led astronomers to believe they witnessed a giant black hole ...

Swarm of microprobes to head for Jupiter

14 hours ago

A swarm of tiny probes each with a different sensor could be fired into the clouds of Jupiter and grab data as they fall before burning up in the gas giant planet's atmosphere. The probes would last an estimated ...

A recoiling, supermassive black hole

18 hours ago

When galaxies collide, the central supermassive black holes that reside at their cores will end up orbiting one another in a binary pair, at least according to current simulations. Einstein's general theory ...

Chandra celebrates the International Year of Light

Jan 23, 2015

The year of 2015 has been declared the International Year of Light (IYL) by the United Nations. Organizations, institutions, and individuals involved in the science and applications of light will be joining ...

Why is Andromeda coming toward us?

Jan 23, 2015

I don't want to alarm you, but there's a massive galaxy heading our way and will collide with us in a few billion years. But aren't most galaxies speeding away? Why is Andromeda on a collision course with ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.