MeerKAT Radio Telescope: Two Giant Radio Galaxies discovered

The MeerKAT Radio Telescope recently discovered two giant radio galaxies. The galaxies were discovered under the MIGHTEE survey. The discovered galaxies are bigger than 93% of any other giants discovered before. They were 62 times the size of Milky Way. Light takes 6.5 million light years to travel from one end to the other.

MeerKAT Radio Telescope

  • The MeerKAT Radio Telescope is located in Northern Cape of South Africa. It is a radio telescope with sixty-four antennas.
  • The array configuration of MeerKAT Radio Telescope has 61% of antennas located within one kilo metre diameter circle and the remaining 39% is distributed to a radius of four kilo metres.
  • MeerKAT is a follow up to Karoo Array Telescope (KAT 7). In simple words, KAT 7 is a precursor to MeerKAT. KAT 7 has seven dishes of Prime Focus Reflecting Telescope.
  • It is built in the semi-desert Karoo region of Northern Cape.
  • It will address key questions of astrophysics such as how did the galaxies evolve, how are the galaxies formed, etc.
  • MeerKAT is one of the four precursors to the final Square Kilometre Array. The SKA is an intergovernmental radio telescope project built in South Africa and Australia.

Square Kilometre Array

The receiving stations of SKA are to extend out to a distance of 3,000 kilometres. The SKA is being built in Australia and South Africa. The four precursor facilities of the project are as follows:

  • MeerKAT
  • Hydrogen Epoch of Reionization Array in South Africa
  • Murchison Widefield Array in Western Australia
  • Australian SKA Pathfinder

The SKA is an international effort to build the world largest radio telescope. The Karoo region in South Africa and the Murchison Shire region in Australia were chosen for technical and scientific reasons. The atmospheric above the deserts are favourable with clear sky and provide maximum radio quietness.

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