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South Africa's super radio telescope reveals distant galaxies

South Africa

South Africa’s super radio telescope has revealed more than 1,000 galaxies in a corner of the universe, where only 70 were previously known.

On Saturday, the MeerKAT radio telescope released the images of the galaxies. The telescope permitted an interesting depiction of astrophysical phenomena that were never before seen by the human eye.

Dr Fernando Camilo, chief scientist of Square Kilometre Array (SKA) said, “Today we presented the first images done with a quarter of the array, 16 dishes. And remarkably they are far better than we could have expected which means that this telescope, as is today, only one quarter of the way done, is already the best radio telescope in the southern hemisphere of its kind, so it’s quite remarkable.”

The telescope expected to comprise about 3,000 dishes will be fully up and running in the next couple of years. This will allow astronomers to explore deeper into space.

“Africans can do science, are ready for big science and welcome the world to use these wonderful instruments that we have built here, deep in the Northern Cape,” said South African Minister of Science and Technology Naledi Pandor.

Currently, hundreds of scientific groups from 45 countries have booked to use the powerful instrument in the next couple of years.


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