New radio telescope launched in South Africa to solve the mystery that & # 39; dark energy & # 39; is

A new radio telescope launched in South Africa will investigate the deep mysteries of radio bursts and dark energy.

According to Cape Talk, the multi-million peripheral device will be based on the location of the MeerKAT radio telescope array in the North Cape.

The radio telescope will be called HIRAX, which stands for Hydrogen Intensity and Real Time Analysis eXperiment.

"The HIRAX will investigate the mysterious dark energy, which is theorized to provide the energy for the accelerated expansion of the universe", says the publication.

UWC astronomy researcher, Professor Roy Maartens, says that dark energy already existed 14 billion years ago since the beginning of the universe. The cosmologist explains what dark energy is and what the HIRAX hopes to achieve.

In conversation with John Maytham, Maartens said that dark energy is different from dark matter.

"In a nutshell, dark matter is the substance that holds galaxies together. Dark energy is the other substance that drives galaxies apart."

"The strange thing about dark energy is that one thing does not get weaker as the universe gets bigger.You can imagine that as the universe grows through expansion, the density of matter of the universe goes down because particles are getting farther and farther apart. But dark energy has the peculiar property where the density does not go down, it is more constant and eventually it came to dominate and then the universe began to accelerate slowly. "

He says that physicists are intrigued by this remarkable energy field that has this strange effect by pushing galaxies apart.

"We have to be honest, we do not understand the nature of dark energy properly."

And that is exactly where astronomers come in.

"The great thing for South Africa, for the first time in history, we are now close to the center of one of the biggest problems in science because we are hosting HIRAX." We are central to the search for a better understanding of dark energy. . "

What does HIRAX do?

According to The conversation, it is an interferometer array that will consist of 1024 6-meter dishes.

Interferometer arrays are really cool because they combine signals from many telescopes to provide the resolution of a larger telescope.

HIRAX has two main scientific goals: studying the evolution of dark energy by following neutral hydrogen gas in galaxies and detecting and locating mysterious radio flashes called fast radio bursts.

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