"Unprecedented" CHIME radio telescope completed
Assembly of a new giant Canadian radio telescope that has no moving parts yet is capable of scanning half the sky in a single day has been completed. The Canadian Hydrogen Intensity Mapping Experiment (CHIME) at Kaleden, British Columbia is composed of four 100-m (330-ft)-long metal troughs covering an area the size of five NHL hockey rinks and is capable of pairing with supercomputers to create 3D radio maps of deep space.
Built by Canadian universities in collaboration with the Canadian Institute For Advanced Research (CIFAR) to scan the radio frequencies between 37 and 75 cm, the CAD16 million (US$13 million) CHIME is designed to accurately map hydrogen gas radio emissions in the universe in three dimensions across the largest volume of space ever surveyed. The hope is that it will not only provide scientists with a better understanding of the history of the universe, but also of distant stars and gravitational waves.
Along with general mapping, the team behind CHIME says that it could provide new insights into Fast Radio Bursts and radio pulsars. The former has garnered attention in recent weeks due to a series of recently observed FRBs that could turn out to be a new yardstick for understanding the structure of the cosmos. Fast Radio Bursts only last a few thousandths of a second and are much brighter than the short bursts emitted by pulsars
"CHIME's unique design will enable us to tackle one of the most puzzling new areas of astrophysics today - Fast Radio Bursts," says Victoria Kaspi of McGill University. "The origin of these bizarre extragalactic events is presently a mystery, with only two dozen reported since their discovery a decade ago. CHIME is likely to detect many of these objects every day, providing a massive treasure trove of data that will put Canada at the forefront of this research."