Amazing Video: Timelapse View Of The Australian Outback's Giant Radio Dishes

The Australian Square Kilometer Array Pathfinder, a network of massive radio antennae, officially switches on this week.

ASKAP in the Outback
An elevated view of four of CSIRO’s new ASKAP antennas at the Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory, October 2010. Credit: Ant Schinckel, CSIRO.Ant Schinckel, CSIRO

Australia's first portion of the enormous future Square Kilometer Array turns on this Friday, and will soon begin surveying the entire sky with a quickness. The array contains 36 12-meter antennas that spread across 4,000 meters but work as a single instrument, providing an enormous field of view.

The Australian Square Kilometer Array Pathfinder (ASKAP) is 100 times more powerful than any previous survey telescope. Scientists hope it will help them understand galaxy formation and evolution, and the evolution of the cosmos. Ultimately, it will become part of the Square Kilometer Array, a 3,000-antenna array spread across Australia and South Africa.

Below, photographer Alexander Cherney put together a mesmerizing timelapse video of the majestic dishes, set against the starry backdrop they will study. You can also see a live webcam of them here.