The CHIME telescope, located at the Dominion Radio Astrophysical Observatory near Penticton, may help solve some of the universe’s biggest mysteries. (Photo courtesy CHIME)

Learn how a radio telescope in the South Okanagan may unlock mysteries of space

Dominion Radio Astrophysical Observatory to hold open house on Sept. 7

The National Research Council’s Dominion Radio Astrophysical Observatory in Kaleden is opening its doors to the public on Sept. 7 to celebrate the ground-breaking work being done.

“Anybody who would like to come along could come along and find out what we are up to. We have a combination of tours and presentations by staff and also demonstrations,” said Ken Tapping, an astronomer with the National Research Council’s Dominion Radio Astrophysical Observatory.

READ MORE: Perseid meteors return for August show

The public is invited to tour the facility, see the telescopes and laboratories, learn about the facility’s plans for future telescopes and hear lectures on frontier topics in astronomy.

Visitors will also get a chance to learn about Canadian Hydrogen Intensity Mapping Experiment (CHIME) radio telescope, which can detect fast radio bursts (FRB) originating 1.5 billion light years away, Tapping explained. Caused by some high-energy astrophysical process, radio bursts are not fully understood by astronomers.

“It was intended for measuring structure at the beginning of the universe, but it is picking up these radio bursts and we have probably collected more of them than anybody else in the world,” he added.

READ MORE: Want to hear a meteor? Tune into the radio

“When you think of a radio telescope, you think of a great big dish that scans around the sky, whereas this thing sits on the ground and is totally electronic so there are no moving parts to the instrument at all. So this is really a step into new territory in the design of radio telescope and is something completely new.”

Running from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. next Saturday, the family friendly event will have something of interest for people of all ages and lots of activities for kids. The observatory is located at 717 White Lake Rd. in Kaleden.


 

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