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In the news this month... and finally: Trans-Tasman VLBI

Supernova 1987A in the Large Magellanic Cloud, before (right) and ten days after the event (left)
Colour composite image of Centaurus A, revealing the lobes and jets emanating from the active galaxy’s central black hole. This is a composite of images obtained with three instruments, operating at very different wavelengths. The 870-micron submillimetre data, from LABOCA on APEX, are shown in orange. X-ray data from the Chandra X-ray Observatory are shown in blue. Visible light data from the Wide Field Imager (WFI) on the MPG/ESO 2.2 m telescope located at La Silla, Chile, show the background stars and the galaxy's characteristic dust lane in close to "true colour". CREDIT: ESO/WFI (Optical); MPIfR/ESO/APEX/A.Weiss et al. (Submillimetre); NASA/CXC/CfA/R.Kraft et al. (X-ray)
Astronomers have connected up the largest ever array of radio telescopes in the Southern hemisphere and made the highest resolution image of the core of the nearby active galaxy Centaurus A. The project linked up new telescopes in New Zealand and in mid-west Western Australia, with the existing long baseline array, including the Parkes radio telescope in New South Wales, to form an array more than 5,500 kilometres across, the first time telescopes have have been connected over such large distances in the southern hemisphere.

At 14 million light years from Earth, Centaurus A is the nearest example of a galaxy containing an active black hole at its core. Observations show two enormous jets moving out from the core at close to the speed of light, but probing the physics of the core itself requires very high resolution observations, only possible by linking up radio telescopes over many thousands of kilometres.

The new telescope at Warkworth is the first research-quality radio telescope in New Zealand, while the new antenna in Western Australia is the first of many that will make up the Australia Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder. Using the same technique, the Square Kilometre Array will consist of radio telescopes spread out over many thousands of kilometres and will be located either in Australia or Southern Africa.



This blog post is a news story from the Jodcast, aired in the June 2010 edition.

Posted by Megan on Monday 07th Jun 2010 (08:42 UTC) | Add a comment | Permalink

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