SRT is ready for teamwork

The preliminary tests have just successfully been completed for the use of Interferometric Sardinia Radio Telescope.



Image source: Credit: SRT

In the graph, highlighted in yellow, the so-called “fringe”: the characteristic signal that confirms the good synchronization between the interferometric data from the SRT and those collected by the telescope of Medicine

It is the youngest in the field, all eyes are on it. It now seems to be ready to work in a team. We talk about the Sardinia Radio Telescope, the new promise of radio astronomy world. Its technical equipment is such as to embarrass colleagues far more noble. But as experience is still a puppy. It could not be otherwise, since it was opened just a few months ago, in September of 2013. Months in which he has already had occasion to offer a good account of themselves, it is true, but always playing on their own, in the way that the single-dish radio astronomers call it: a “flat” one . The “flat” in question, in its case, is the parable of 64 meters in diameter in the active surface. It is the jewel of Sardinia weblog INAF the most advanced radio telescope in Europe today. But still unique, in the sense of single, alone.

How it would manage the team play? The question is not farfetched. In radio astronomy, at times, one is not enough. And if the single- dish is perfect for studying sources such as pulsars, for example, in the comments when you request a resolution to the extreme it may be necessary at times to work with multiple antennas at the same time. In particular, there exists a mode – said VLBI ( Very Long Baseline Interferometry ) – in which, using two or more radio telescopes, it achieves a resolution comparable to that which would be obtained with a single huge virtual antenna as large as the distance between the individual antennas . They were even on different continents, as in fact occur, or even some other in space and on Earth. Provided, however, that all the radio telescopes are involved ” to dance ” like one. Perfectly synchronized to a billionth of a second.

A requirement at all easy to please, this is the perfect coordination. Yet SRT seems to have done it. In recent days, technicians and researchers of the test, they did make an observation paired with the telescope of Medicine, in the province of Bologna. And the result , appeared on computer monitors in the guise of a graph with a particular curve that radio astronomers call “fringe” (but that has nothing to do with the hair ), it was flattering. “The fringe tells us that we are on the right path,” confirms the coordinator of the experiment, Mauro Nanni, INAF- IRA in Bologna, “that the observation made ​​with the two radio telescopes is synchronized. An important result, because this is the first time that the SRT has been shown to work in conjunction with any other antenna. ”



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