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First phase of upgraded GMRT project inaugurated

Pune, Sep 16 (): The first phase of Giant Metrewave Radio Telescope (GMRT), the world’s largest radio telescope facility operating at low frequencies was inaugurated and launched by Govind Swarup, who is the father of Indian radio astronomy.

The GMRT is located around 80 km north of Pune at Khodad and the office of NCRA (National Centre for Radio Astrophysics) is located in the University of Pune campus.

GMRT consists of 30 fully steerable dishes, each having a diameter of 45 metres, spread over a 25 km area. These steerable dishes capture radio signals and send them to the research centre, where these signals are decoded.  Out of 30 fully steerable dishes, eight have been improved as per the latest technology in the first phase.

National Centre for Radio Astrophysics said in a statement, “Currently, all the systems of GMRT are going through an upgrade using latest analog and digital technologies and servo systems among other technologies to enhance the telescope performance and features.”

The new front-end and backend system is being developed by NCRA engineers and scientists in collaboration with Swinburne University of Australia and nVidia-India, US-based CASPER group. The GMRT upgradation of components and advanced electronics will increase its sensitivity by three times.

In the inauguration, Govind Swarup ssid, “The GMRT is one of the best telescopes in the world. The new upgrade is definitely a big step and going to help the scientists to do further research in various projects which were earlier impossible due to the limitation of the telescope.”

Giant Metrewave Radio Telescope is operational from 2002 and astronomers across the world are using it for cutting edge research on astronomy and astrophysics. One of the important aims of the telescope is to search for the highly red-shifted 21-cm line radiation from primordial neutral hydrogen clouds in order to determine the epoch of galaxy formation in the universe.