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2015: a big year for ASKAP!

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15 highlights of 2015. Credit: CSIRO

It has been a big year for the Australian SKA Pathfinder (ASKAP) project in 2015, with an impressive list of achievements coming from the Mk I phased array feed (PAF) receivers installed at the Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory (MRO), and with the recently installed next-generation Mk II PAF receivers.

ASKAP is one of three precursor telescopes to the Square Kilometre Array, which will be the world’s largest radio telescope when built.

Some of the highlights this year were from the first initial science papers based on the Boolardy Engineering Test Array, or BETA, which had papers published on; mapping a galaxy group to reveal three previously unknown neutral hydrogen (HI) clouds, to the discovery of HI absorption in a galaxy 5 billion light years away, to confirming theoretical predictions about an ‘exotic’ intermittent pulsar, the results provided a teaser of what the full ASKAP may be capable of in the future.

With six Mk II PAFs having been already installed, and another 20 more on the production line in the workshop, it is an exciting time for CSIRO team as they prepare for the coming year with the ASKAP Early Science program that will take advantage of the significant improvement in performance offered by CSIRO’s next generation of ASKAP receivers.

Read the full press release from CSIRO.

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The Australian SKA Pathfinder with the Mk II phased array feed receivers installed at the MRO. Credit: CSIRO