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A team of Canadian cosmologists, including the Dunlap Institute’s Professor Keith Vanderlinde, completed the build of a ground-breaking radio telescope at the Dominion Radio Astrophysical Observatory in B.C. called the Canadian Hydrogen Intensity Mapping Experiment (CHIME) in 2017.

CHIME is now mapping the 21-cm signature of neutral hydrogen within the largest volume of space ever surveyed, encompassing a three-dimensional swath of the Universe that covers half the sky and is billions of light-years deep.

The nearest edge of this vast volume of space will be billions of light-years closer to Earth than the farthest edge. That means CHIME will add yet another dimension—time—to produce a “four-dimensional map” of the expansion and evolution of the Universe over some four billion years of its early history.

This epoch is particularly interesting because it was a time when dark energy began to play an important role in the evolution of the Universe. Dark energy is the enigmatic force behind one of the biggest paradigm shifts in cosmology: that the expansion of the Universe is speeding up, rather than slowing down.

With additional back-end instruments, CHIME/Pulsar and CHIME/FRB, the experiment is also an excellent detector of radio pulsars and the newly recognized phenomenon of fast radio bursts (FRBs).

CHIME comprises four, 20×100-metre half-cylinders, arranged side-by-side—an array that equals the area of five NHL-size hockey rinks. The super-computer “back-end” of CHIME processes incoming radio light and digitally pieces together an image of the radio sky.

CHIME is designed to gather radio signals along the meridian—the line in the sky running between due north and due south on the horizon, and the zenith. The array won’t move, but as the Earth rotates and the sky moves overhead from east to west, CHIME will scan the entire northern sky.

The collaboration includes researchers from the University of Toronto, NRC, University of British Columbia, and McGill University. CHIME/FRB and CHIME/Pulsar include the National Radio Astronomy Observatory and the Perimeter Institute as collaborating institutions.

At the University of Toronto, members include researchers from the Canadian Institute for Theoretical Astrophysics, the David A. Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics, and the Dunlap Institute.

For more:

CHIME website

CHIME at the Dominion Radio Astrophysical Observatory in B.C.

Credit: CHIME Collaboration.


Credit: CHIME Collaboration.