Science

A new observatory to study Exoplanets and Black Holes is being planned

New Observatory

The National Academy of Sciences’ Astronomy and Astrophysics Decadal Survey report has been released. The Next Generation Very Large Array has been given high priority for new ground-based observatories to be built during the next decade. The study, which ranked the ngVLA second among ground-based projects, resulted from a protracted process to define a comprehensive research plan and vision for a decade of revolutionary science at the frontiers of astrThe ngVLA is a system of 263 dish antennas distributed throughout North. 

America and centered in the United States Southwest that will give astronomers spectacular new scientific capabilities. The United States Extremely Enormous Telescope Project (US-ELT) plans two large optical telescopes, the Thirty Meter Telescope and the Giant Magellan Telescope, both in various phases of development, topped the list of ground-based facilities in the Astro2020 study. Following the US-ELT, equal importance was given to the result and building of the ngVLA and the Cosmic Microwave Background Stage-4 experiment (CMB-S4).onomy and astrophysics.

Being acknowledged as a significant new effort demonstrates that our colleagues from all disciplines of astronomy and astrophysics realize the importance of the ngVLA in meeting the critical scientific challenges of the following decades. We created the ngVLA with significant input from the scientific community, and we are sure that it will be in great demand by scientists worldwide, stated NRAO Director.

Following the release of the Astro2020 report, the ngVLA will need to be approved by the National Science Foundation’s National Science Board and funded by Congress. Construction might commence in 2026, with early scientific observations beginning in 2029 and entire scientific operations in 2035.

The ngVLA’s high scientific priority reflects the range and complexity of the science it enables, from the genesis of exoplanets to the testing of relativity with pulsars and black holes to the study of some of the Universe’s oldest galaxies. This high rating is a significant endorsement. It opens the way for the United States to maintain its leadership in radio astronomy, and consequently, astrophysics in general for many decades to come.

According to Eric Murphy, NRAO’s Project Scientist for ngVLA, this Astro2020 outcome directly results from the close collaboration between NRAO and the larger astronomical community in developing the broad, transformative science case the technical design of the ngVLA over the last five-plus years. Murphy said that all of the community’s hard work has definitely paid off, and we now look forward to continuing this cooperation as we complete the design and work toward first light with the ngVLA.

The ngVLA is intended to have better sensitivity to identify faint things and resolving capacity to discern fine detail than the present VLA. It is capable of answering fundamental issues in all main branches of astrophysics. The capabilities of the ngVLA will be complementary, considering Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) and other new instruments such as the lower-frequency Square Kilometer Array. It will also improve the features of the US-ELT optical telescopes and the James Webb Space Telescope, which will work at infrared wavelengths and be released in the upcoming weeks.

The ngVLA is the main center for all astronomers, independent of institution or training. It will be open to all members of the scientific community. Anyone can submit an observation proposal to use the ngVLA’s superior capabilities for frontier science.

The ngVLA facility would be unique worldwide in both sensitivity and frequency coverage, according to the Astro 2020 report, and concludes that the VLA and Very Long Baseline Array should be maintained by an observatory that can calculate any magnitude improvement in sensitivity compared to these facilities, with the ability to image radio sources on scales of arcminutes to fractions of a milliarcsecond.

About the author

Tina Hayden

Tina is a freelance writer based in Maine. She earned her bachelor’s in journalism at Temple University. She has written several high-level documentations for local magazine. She loves to travel and vlog her vacations when she is not writing. [email protected]

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