In the wake of the astonishing images captured by NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope earlier this month, some of Australia’s astronomy experts are making their own mind-blowing examinations of the heavenly bodies. Not to be shown up by their U.S. counterparts, a team from Macquarie University has unveiled the Huntsman Telescope, a novel telescope designed with the support of Canon in order to find and study ultra-faint galaxies and astronomical objects in the southern sky.
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Located at Siding Spring Observatory near Coonabarabran, NSW, the telescope harnesses the power of 10 Canon EF 400mm f/2.8 L IS II super-telephoto lenses – typically used by professional sports or wildlife photographers and commercially available if you’re looking to do a little space examination yourself – in order to expand our understanding of galaxy formation and evolution.
More specifically, the research team’s goal is to explore what might happen in the event our Milky Way Galaxy collides head-on with our neighbours in the Andromeda Galaxy. While this is an event that scientists believe won’t occur for another 4.5 billion years, it’s always best to be prepared well in advance for the violent destruction of the galaxy you inhabit.
According to Principal Investigator of the Huntsman Telescope, Macquarie University’s Dr Lee Spitler, the Huntsman is able to capture images of the faintest galaxy structures that are beyond the reach of conventional telescopes: “The ability to observe the remnants of galaxies colliding with each other and searching for the faintest and smallest galaxies in the universe, will help us understand the potential fate of the Milky Way in the far distant future.”
While we won’t be having any sleepless nights over that possible future just yet, the Huntsman Telescope has already captured a number of stunning images that further illuminate the vastness of the universe in which we live. If you’d like to see these wonders of the sky for yourself, the Huntsman Telescope will be open to the public on 1 October 2022 as part of the annual StarFest. Or, you could stay at home and Get The Perfect Astrophotography Time Lapse.