On Tuesday in remote Western Australia, the mission of the Murchison Widefield Array (MWA) got its official start. Located near Meekatharra, the low-frequency, wide-field radio telescope was switched on and began gathering its first data from the skies, in its role as a test precursor of the ambitious Square Kilometre Array (SKA) telescope, the most sensitive telescope in the world, designed to get more information about the early period of the universe. The MWA uses a total of 2048 antennas to capture radio waves, some dating back as many as 13 billion years. When the SKA is in full use, it is set to have 2.5 million antennas. Construction is set to begin on the SKA in 2016, with preliminary operation expected as early as 2020.
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