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WVU Center for Astrophysics receives Green Bank Radio Telescope grant

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The West Virginia University Center for Astrophysics will be a part of a project to upgrade the Green Bank Radio Telescope.

The center, in conjunction with Brigham Young University, has received a $500,000 grant to build a new detector for the Green Bank Radio Telescope, called a phased array feed.

The array feed will operate as an antenna, increasing the amount of sky that can be surveyed in a single snapshot image, according to WVU. The field of view is directly related to the observing power of a telescope, and the larger the field of view, the quicker the telescope can map the sky.

"This instrument will allow us to map regions of the sky about three to five times faster than we currently can," D.J. Pisano, assistant professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy and a member of the astrophysics team that received the grant, said in a news release. "In my case, I will be using it to search for the faint, diffuse gas around galaxies in the nearby universe, work that is also supported by another grant and that I am doing with a couple of my graduate students."

Faculty members at Brigham Young University are developing the hardware and software that will be used to support the telescope's upgrades, while the National Radio Astronomy Observatory will be responsible for providing the phased array feed and integrating the software into the Green Bank Telescope operations. WVU's astrophysicists will test the software and its effectiveness.