Give for the future

New receiver uncovers space secrets

As a donor, you are revolutionising the way we look at the universe. The new multi-frequency receiver at the Metsähovi Radio Observatory of Aalto University makes it possible to see more precisely and further than ever.

The new receiver brings internationally-known Finnish astronomy expertise to a completely new level. It is designed for Metsähovi’s unique needs and is the heart of a 14-metre radio telescope. In the end of May 2022, an international invitation to tender for the procurement of the device was launched. The actual construction of the device will take about two years. It will likely be operational in 2024.

Joni Tammi
Joni Tammi

‘The new receiver allows us to measure the sun and other galaxies simultaneously at three different frequencies. This is a leap to a new level of technology,’ says Joni Tammi, Director of Metsähovi Radio Observatory.

The receiver makes it possible to explore more distant and dimmer objects. This means that the number of research subjects will rise from hundreds to thousands. In addition, measurements will be made more quickly because the receiver does not need to be adjusted when changing the frequency range.

‘Black holes in the centre of active galaxies, known as quasars, are one of the most energy rich targets in the universe. The multi-frequency receiver gives us a new understanding of how black holes work and what happens around them.’

Joining the global measurement network

A more accurate understanding of quasars helps make satellite positioning on Earth more precise, which is essential for managing the traffic of self-driving cars, for example. The new technology also helps predict solar storms that can damage satellites and cause long power outages on Earth.

When the same type of multi-frequency technology is introduced more extensively in the world, radio telescopes in different countries can be combined into a network. In this way, space phenomena and objects can be studied in a completely new way.

‘When we are among the first to build a network, we will be able to define future space research and select the most interesting research subjects. In the network, Finland will be involved in making the next major space discoveries.’

Text: Marjukka Puolakka

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