The first image snapped by the MeerKAT radio telescope, which is still being constructed, has revealed 1,300 new galaxies. Just imagine how many galaxies this monster will capture when it’s operating at full capacity. Previously, only 70 galaxies were known in the area the image was snapped.
According to scientists, MeerKAT’s 64 receptors will eventually be integrated into a multi-national Square Kilometre Array (SKA). By the 2020s, SKA will comprise of over 3,000 dishes, allowing researchers to peer into space in unparalleled detail. Once everything is fully operational, the network of dishes will have the discovery potential 10,000 times greater than the most modern instruments.
MeerKAT is just a small piece of a larger goal. Built in South Africa, the site will consist of 64 dishes once it’s completed; the first phase, AR1, which captured the image you see above, has only 16 dishes. Once MeerKATE is eventually integrated into SKA, researchers plan on using the array of dishes to explore exploding stars, black holes, dark energy, and traces of the universe’s origins.
Although the image above doesn’t look like much, this is just a fraction of what researchers plan to find. One of the galaxies (lower left corner), is approximately 200 light years away. We’ll soon find more like it once MeerKAT and SKA are completely up and running.