A new multimillion-rand radio telescope will be launched on Friday to investigate the deep mysteries of radio outbreaks and dark energy.
The instrument, called HIRAX for hydrogen intensity and real-time analysis's eXperiment, will have its core of 1,024 6m disks in Carnarvon in the Northern Cape province at the location of the MeerKAT radio telescopic array.
One of the most important research areas in HIRAX is the investigation of mysterious dark energy that is theorized to provide energy for accelerated expansion of the universe.
"There is evidence of dark energy – super novae and other lines have shown evidence of dark energy," told Kavilan Moodley, one of the most important HIRAX investigators, News24.
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Moodley graduated from Cambridge University and currently working at the University of KwaZulu-Natal -Natal. His main research interest lies in confronting cosmological theories with observation data.
"HIRAX will add the ability to measure how the universe expands at a critical time when dark energy will dominate the universe's expansion around seven to 12 billion years ago," he added.
Dark energy accounts for about 70% of the universe and is theorized for causing the expansion of the universe at an accelerated rate. Dark matter represents 27% and so-called "common thing" – the things we can see – make up less than 5%. "
" If our model of dark matter is basically correct, then we should eventually be able to detect dark matter particles with experiments on Earth. If this is achieved, it would be a huge breakthrough, "Roy Maartens told News24.
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Maartens is a cosmologist focusing on the dark energy issue and publishing more than 200 papers. He is not directly involved in HIRAX and from 2011, he has held the Square Scientist (SKA) research school in cosmology at UWC.
"Dark energy is more problematic and unlikely to detected by soil attempts. The universe made by experiments like HIRAX can help us to exclude some models of dark energy. If the simplest model – the so-called vacuum energy or the Lambda model – is excluded, it would be a major breakthrough. That would not be a final solution to the problem, he said.
MeerKAT, the forerunner of the massive SKA, will be used in collaboration with HIRAX to study neutral hydrogen, as astronomers work to map the universe's expansion and understand the galaxies density.
"We actually measure neutral hydrogen in the universe," says Moodley.
"MeerKAT's widespread nature gives you better resolution and HIRAX measures hydrogen on very large scales," he added.
Moodley also indicated that the instrument should investigate the confusing phenomena of rapid radio outbreak (FRB).
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These sudden energy emissions are believed to be related to powerful magnetic neutron stars called magneters or those spinning mill of dead stars called pulsaries.
. Very few repetitive FRBs have been found, which leads to speculation that they are random events.
But Moodley said that HIRAX could deliver unprecedented research on FRB.
"Since they have found a repetitive deficit, some people wonder if they are from a magnetiser.
" HIRAX can detect these events and monitor if they repeat or not. "
While the instrument will have ” data-imageid=”f582fd89-087e-43af-a189-f4c921845905″ data-smallsrc=”https://cdn.24.co.za/files/Cms/General/d/5468/bb78e7704d4e4540a6d0b5474a6b74e9.jpg” src=”https://cdn.24.co.za/files/Cms/General/d/5468/da78d140f66f479384e6000d45a11c90.jpg” style=”max-width:620px;”/>
The HIRAX team is a photograph. ” data-imageid=”f582fd89-087e-43af-a189-f4c921845905″ data-smallsrc=”https://cdn.24.co.za/files/Cms/General/d/5468/bb78e7704d4e4540a6d0b5474a6b74e9.jpg” src=”https://cdn.24.co.za/files/Cms/General/d/5468/da78d140f66f479384e6000d45a11c90.jpg” style=”max-width:620px;”/>
The HIRAX team is a photograph. (Cynthia Chiang)
Radio astronomy allows for the creation of a telescope – known as Utrigger sets – in partner African countries. academics to use interferometry to accurately map FRB's location.
"When we get a signal in the Karoo main row, we send the signal to the other equalization sets.
"With these trigger arrays can locate FRB," said Moodley.
& # 39; Earthbreaking Research & # 39;
He could not hold his tension in the future for the impact of research: "This is groundbreaking research."
The Swiss scientist Andre Maeder claimed that his research suggested that
But while Moodley considered the theory as "interesting", he said that new equipment gave astronomers more tools to understand it natural world.  "It's an interesting theory, but the theories must be borne by the data," he said.
Maartens agreed and said: "Maeder claims that he has a new weight theory that does not require dark energy – but until this theory is developed to explain all observations, possible claims against dark matter and dark energy is too early."
The HIRAX project costs R70m and is funded by the University of KwaZulu-Natal and the Department of Science and Technology through the National Research Foundation.
"The project will help South Africa to develop innovative solutions, especially in instrumentation and high computing, which directly impact other economic sectors through technology transfer," said Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane.
Moodley said that the cost of the instrument was relatively inexpensive compared with similar international projects.
"We compete with $ 15 billion experiments. We have the site with low radio interference. Our dishes are relatively cheap and we can build a lot of them."
For Maartens, the difficulty in the issue of dark energy is nothing to fear.
"Let me make one last point: Astrophysics are not afraid of questions that can not be answered easily. Advances in physics make it possible for us to understand more – but it also means that we can ask even harder issues that can not easily
It takes time to crack big problems – there is no need to panic.
HIRAX with the numbers: ] 400MHz – 800MHz
Field of View
5 ° – 10 °