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The Relevance Of The Square Kilometre Array In Understanding The Universe

2307 words - 10 pages

The Square Kilometer Array, or SKA, is a new, powerful radio telescope that is being developed which is aimed at obtaining better sensitivity, higher dynamic range, larger field-of-view, and perhaps some other parameters not yet contemplated in the field of astronomy according to P.N Wilkinson, K.I. Kellermann, R.D. Ekers , J.M. Cordes and T. Joseph W. Lazio (2004). The SKA is highly relevant in the understanding of the universe in that it is able to explain and provide evidence for phenomena, including: cosmic webs, the Transcension Hypothesis, the forming of galaxies from gasses and the semi-analytical model.
The Relevance of the Square Kilometer Array in Understanding the Universe
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N Wilkinson et al (2004). The SKA will not be used to explore new parameters in space but will allow for “new opportunities for investigating the radio sky” as it increases the known parameter space by: a much greater sensitivity, over a very wide range of angular resolutions, a much larger instantaneous field-of-view at least at some wavelengths and the potential for multiple, independently steerable, fields-of-view within which are independently steerable beams (P.N Wilkinson et al 2004). The new telescope also is described as a mode of “exploration-driven observing”, which is what distinguishes it from the present day instruments which are available. The “highly flexible” SKA, therefore, is aimed mainly at exploring the Unknown and is based firmly on the knowledge attained by the previous discoveries made in the field of radio astronomy.
SKA observations of the cosmic web:
The Square Kilometre Array (SKA), provides the opportunity to investigate and map the low red-shift cosmic web, to full extent, and will therefore characterize the large scale structures of the Universe. The process of mapping the Universe as such will be due to the detection of diffuse synchrotron emission that is associated with the growth of the large scale structures.
Large scale diffuse synchrotron emission is created when matter collapses upon filaments of the ‘web’ and accelerated to extremely high energies, in exceptionally weak magnetic fields. Due to the sensitivity of the SKA, it will be possible to detect these low frequencies of diffuse synchrotron emission that arises from the in fall of the baryons on large scale structures, better known as giant clusters of galaxies, for the process of mapping the cosmos. “The simulation of Cen and Ostriker (1999); Dave’ et al. (2001), Kravtsov et al. (2002), and Klyptin et al. (2003) predict that most of the warm-hot intergalactic medium(WHIM) resides in the filamentary network that characterizes the cosmic web of the large scale structures of the Universe.”,(Wilcots 2004:1281). These so called filaments are traced by the redshift distribution of galaxies, where the measurement of density, total energy and the magnetic field strength is fundamental to distribute baryons in the cosmic web. The distribution of WHIM is reluctant to the ability to probe large volumes, not just individual sightlines, and therefore the best approach to mapping the cosmic web would be in emission. The SKA will provide more accurate probes of both the WHIM and clusters of galaxies, due to its tremendous sensitivity and large field view.
“Galaxies however simply represent the highest density knots of the cosmic web as most baryons reside in a diffuse component that follows the distribution of dark matter”, (Wilcots 2004:1283). The detection of enormous pulses from extragalactic pulsars across the local void, will allow measurements for baryon density of these voids, for the exploration of the WHIM. The in fall of matter on filamentary structures...

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