RASC Mississauga Centre Meeting June 20

The June 20 meeting of the RASC Mississauga Centre will feature a talk on Canada's newest Radio Telescope.

CHIME: Mapping the Universe with Canada’s newest Radio Telescope

Speaker: Professor Keith Vanderlinde, Dunlap Institute for Astronomy and Astrophysics, University of Toronto 

Cosmologists from across Canada have recently undertaken the construction of a huge new radio telescope, a 100m x 100m array of dishes, designed to unravel some of the deepest mysteries in modern cosmology. The Canadian Hydrogen Intensity Mapping Experiment (CHIME, for short) is being built at the Dominion Radio Astrophysical Observatory (DRAO), located in BC’s Okanagan Valley, and will soon become a powerful new lens on the cosmos. Over its 5-year survey, CHIME will map out a larger volume of the Universe than ever previously studied, with the ultimate goal of tracing the expansion history and studying the characteristics of Dark Energy, a mysterious negative-pressure substance which dominates the energy density of the modern Unvierse.



CHIME is an ambitious new type of telescope, a hybrid digital interferometer, composed of five 20m x 100m parabolic reflectors which focus radio waves in one direction (east-west) while digital interferometry is used to resolve beams in the other (north-south). Earth rotation sweeps its view across the sky, yielding complete daily coverage of the northern celestial hemisphere. The full sized 100m x 100m instrument is funded, under active development, and expected to turn on in early 2016 — I’ll be taking you through the motivation, design, and progress on CHIME, including the 40 x 37m “Pathfinder” version of the telescope, already built and operating at the DRAO.

Keith Vanderlinde studies the nature and evolution of large-scale structure in the Universe, as well as the evolution of the cosmos itself. Studying large-scale structure requires specialized instruments and Vanderlinde is a member of collaborations using and developing ones that are unique.

CHIME - The Canadian Hydrogen Intensity Mapping Experiemt

CHIME - The Canadian Hydrogen Intensity Mapping Experiemt

One such instrument is the South Pole Telescope (SPT). The SPT surveys the sky at microwave frequencies to reveal the Cosmic Microwave Background—a snapshot of the Universe less than 400,000 years after the Big Bang.

Vanderlinde is also a member of a cross-Canada collaboration building an innovative, digital radio telescope near Penticton, B.C. The Canadian Hydrogen Intensity Mapping Experiment, or CHIME, is a radio array that will create a three-dimensional map of the largest volume of the Universe ever.

The group includes the Dunlap Institute, CITA, UBC, McGill University and the Dominion Radio Astrophysical Observatory. In January, the Canadian Foundation for Innovation approved funding to build the CHIME telescope.

Vanderlinde is also a member of a team using the Algonquin Radio Observatory in northern Ontario and the Giant Metre-wave Radio Telescope in India to make ultra-high resolution observations of pulsars, using pockets in interstellar gas as billion-kilometre-wide lenses.

                                                                              Professor Keith Vanderlinde

                                                                              Professor Keith Vanderlinde

Vanderlinde received his PhD from the University of Chicago and joined the Dunlap Institute in 2013.

The meeting will be held from 8:00 to 10:00 p.m. at The University of Toronto,Mississauga Campus, 3359 Mississauga Road in lecture hall SE2082 in the William Davis Building. The meeting is open to the public and is free.  

 Enter off of Mississauga Road. Park in lot 4 or the parkade, across from the fitness centre south of the Davis Building. Enter through the Fitness centre, walk up the stairs until you reach the main corridor then turn right. (If you need an elevator,follow the corridor to the right of the stairs, then go up to the mainfloor.) Look for the Mississauga Centre sign in front of the lecture room. For directions see this online map.

Post meeting plans: we usually continue the discussion post-meeting at a local bar – please join us!