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NC telescope spots 20 new galaxies

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A team of scientists representing three South African universities has discovered 20 new, previously unidentified galaxies. File picture: ANA

The recent discovery was made possible with the MeerKAT telescope situated in the Northern Cape.

A TEAM of scientists representing three South African universities has discovered 20 new, previously unidentified galaxies.

According to a statement issued by UCT, the discovery was detected by members of the MeerKAT International GHz Tiered Extragalactic Exploration (MIGHTEE) project team.

The team of scientists studies the demographics, evolution and conditions of galaxies in a variety of environments, according to the statement.

The scientists’ recent discovery was made possible with the MeerKAT telescope – the South African precursor telescope to the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) situated in the Northern Cape.

The MeerKAT telescope is an array of 64 interlinked receptors (a receptor is the complete antenna structure, with the main reflector, sub-reflector and all receivers, digitisers and other electronics installed), writes the South African Radio Astronomy Observatory (SARAO).

Dr Bradley Frank, adjunct lecturer at UCT’s Department of Astronomy, said in the statement that this was an exciting find and they have now set their expectations even higher for the remainder of the survey.

Frank is also the associate director for astronomy operations at the Inter‑University Institute for Data Intensive Astronomy (IDIA), established as a partnership between the University of Pretoria, the University of the Western Cape, and UCT, in close collaboration with the South African Radio Astronomy Observatory. The IDIA aims to build capacity and expertise in data‑intensive research in the higher education research community in the country, to grow a global leadership cohort on MeerKAT survey science projects and other large projects on SKA pathfinder telescopes.

In January, two giant radio galaxies, among the largest single objects in the universe, which were thought to be quite rare, were discovered with the powerful MeerKAT telescope.

– African News Agency (ANA)

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