New Canadian telescope will map largest volume of space ever surveyed
“CHIME is an extraordinary example showcasing Canada’s leadership in space science and engineering. The new telescope will be a destination for astronomers from around the world who will work with their Canadian counterparts to answer some of the most profound questions about space. Our government believes in providing scientists with the opportunities and tools they need to pursue the answers to questions that keep them up at night.”
– The Honourable Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science
“The National Research Council works hand-in-hand with academia for the advancement of knowledge in Canada. CHIME is a shining example of what outcomes we can achieve, working in collaboration, for today and tomorrow, for Canada and beyond.”
– Mr. Iain Stewart, President of the National Research Council of Canada
“With the CHIME telescope we will measure the expansion history of the universe and we expect to further our understanding of the mysterious dark energy that drives that expansion ever faster. This is a fundamental part of physics that we don’t understand and it’s a deep mystery. This is about better understanding how the universe began and what lies ahead.”
– Dr. Mark Halpern, University of British Columbia
“CHIME’s unique design will enable us to tackle one of the most puzzling new areas of astrophysics today – Fast Radio Bursts. 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.”
– Dr. Victoria Kaspi, McGill University
“CHIME ‘sees’ in a fundamentally different way from other telescopes. A massive supercomputer is used to process incoming radio light and digitally piece together an image of the radio sky. All that computing power also lets us do things that were previously impossible: we can look in many directions at once, run several experiments in parallel, and leverage the power of this new instrument in unprecedented ways.”
– Dr. Keith Vanderlinde, University of Toronto
· The CHIME telescope incorporates four 100-metre long U-shaped cylinders of metal mesh that resemble snowboard half-pipes. Its overall footprint is the size of five NHL hockey rinks.
· CHIME collects radio waves with wavelengths between 37 and 75 centimetres, similar to the wavelength used by cell phones.
· Most of the signals collected by CHIME come from our Milky Way galaxy, but a tiny fraction of these signals started on their way when the universe was between 6 and 11 billion years old.
· The radio signal from the universe is very weak and extreme sensitivity is needed to detect it. The amount of energy collected by CHIME in one year is equivalent to the amount of energy gained by a paper clip falling off a desk to the floor.
· The data rate passing through CHIME is comparable to all the data in the world’s mobile networks. There is so much data that it cannot all be saved to disk. It must first be processed and compressed by a factor of 100,000.
· Seven quadrillion computer operations occur every second on CHIME. This rate is equivalent to every person on Earth performing one million multiplication problems every second.
- Backgrounder: Canadian Hydrogen Intensity Mapping Experiment
- Video: Timelapse of the construction of the CHIME telescope
- Video: Footage of the CHIME telescope
- Video: Fast Radio Bursts (from McGill University)
- Video: How CHIME works (animated video from McGill University)
- Video: CHIME and dark energy (from University of British Columbia)
Ann Marie Paquet
Office of the Honourable Kirsty Duncan
Media Relations Team
National Research Council of Canada
613-991-1431 or 1-855-282-1637 (24/7)
University of British Columbia Public Affairs
McGill Media Relations Office
Dunlap Institute for Astronomy & Astrophysics
University of Toronto
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