Giant telescope near Kharkov sparks the interest of lunar astronomers

Giant telescope near Kharkov sparks the interest of lunar astronomers

Farside Explorer international program involves installation of a low-frequency radio telescope on the other side of the moon. The observatory on the Earth satellite planned for completion in 2024; now scientists are drafting the project for the future space laboratory. Kharkov Institute of Radio Astronomy of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine also joined the work on the project, estimated at 10 billion euros (including manufacture, delivery to the moon and installation of the radio telescope).

The world’s largest decametre radio telescope UTR-2 is located in Kharkov region, said deputy director of the Institute Alexander Konovalenko. The telescope is already actively engaged in various international programs, so foreign astronomers were invited to use its capabilities in the lunar project, too. The thing is, the moon-based telescope cannot be as large as its Earth counterparts, for various reasons. The telescope will have about 100 acceptors (Kharkov UTR-2 telescope consists of 2,040 acceptors and has much larger resolution). However, lunar telescope will operate without interference, created by the Earth’s ionosphere and the radio waves. Working in synchronous mode, the lunar telescope will help the Kharkov scientists to separate interference from space signals — they will have to simply compare the charts.

The UTR-2 radio telescope was created about 40 years ago on the project of Semen Braude, member of the Academy of Sciences. The telescope covers 150,000 square meters, which is equivalent to the total area of all telescopes in the world working in all wavelengths. The discoveries made with the telescope include such breakthrough as the spectral lines of excited carbon atoms. The GURT telescope has 550 acceptors, its construction continues. Using the telescope, scientists receive the data on almost all objects of the Universe.

Елизавета Будько


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