Over the past few years, astronomers at the Green Bank Telescope in West Virginia have worked on the creation of a prototype radar.. This would allow them to create detailed images of celestial bodies in the distant solar system, including various planets, their moons, and even comets.
However, the joint project of the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO), the Green Bank Observatory and Raytheon Intelligence & Space (RIS) continues to develop. Although they did not achieve the ambitious goals that the project is intended to achieve, one of its spin-offs was the highest resolution imaging of the lunar surface. up to date.
In this case, astronomers targeted Tycho crater, one of the brightest regions on the lunar surface, 4,400 meters deep and 85 kilometers in diameter. This area is also has the ideal number of parts for testing new technology developed by the Green Bank Telescope, and this is what allowed them to capture our Moon like never before.
This is not the first time Green Bank Telescope astronomers have obtained high-quality photographs of the Moon. In 2021, they let us see a snapshot of the Hadley area, the Apollo 15 landing zone. managed to once again surpass themselves, aiming at a new region.
This incredible image of the moon is the most detailed to date.
This is a new image of the Moon with an impressive five-meter resolution. this is the highest resolution photograph ever taken by a satellite from Earth. Thus, the astronomers of the Green Bank Telescope revealed new details about the Tycho crater, on which they focused the powerful gaze of the radio telescope.
We also recall that the Green Bank Telescope It is the largest steerable radio telescope in the world.. It has a diameter of 100 meters, which makes it possible to obtain impressive images using radar waves. These waves are radiated towards the Moon, where they are later reflected and collected by ten Very Long Baseline Array (VLBA) antennas in Socorro, New Mexico. In this way, a detailed image can be created.
This last process is carried out with the help of a supercomputer, which responsible for analyzing differences in the received waveforms. Finally, a high-resolution image of the moon is created using this data, and this is what we present to you today.
As for the technical specifications of the radio telescope, the researchers say the Green Bank Telescope generated these images of the moon using a low-powered transmitter. Last achieves up to 700W of output power at around 13.9GHz.
The final version of the Green Bank telescope promises to change the world of astronomy
Scholars comment on this the full version of this technology will consume up to 500 kilowatts of power, and you will not only have VLBA, but also the future very large next generation array (ngVLA) at your disposal. In context, this is almost 1000 times the power used for this image. Thanks to this, you will be able to detect and track possible threats to the Earth, such as asteroids or meteoroids.
In our tests, we were able to detect an asteroid located 2.1 million kilometers away, more than five times the distance between the Earth and the Moon. An asteroid about a kilometer in size is large enough to cause global destruction on impact.
With a high power system, we could study more objects much further. When it comes to developing a strategy for potential impact, it’s important to have more time to communicate.
Patrick Taylor, Head of Radar Division, GBO and NRAO
Let’s remember that planetary protection is one of the problems facing astronomers today. NASA has already succeeded in its DART mission, managing to change the asteroid’s trajectory. Now this type of technology will help improve the early detection of bodies that could be potentially dangerous.
But this incredible picture of the Moon and the detection of asteroids is not all that the radio telescope has to offer. As noted on the official website of the Green Bank Observatory, “astronomers will also find this useful tool for astrometry, imaging, and physical and dynamic characterization objects of the solar system for planetology.
Source: Hiper Textual