Page 22 - Frontiers of the Universe
P. 22

Galaxies form, grow, and change over millions upon millions of years. Stars are born and die, planets and moons turn in their orbits, and comets and asteroids  ll vast reaches of space. To understand these processes, astrophysicists study snapshots from telescopes and try to piece them together using complex computer simulations. Innovations spearheaded by the best minds are opening up a new lense to outer space.
Weizmann Institute investigators are developing pioneering ground-based methods for probing the dynamics of outer space, whether this relates to the solar system, to our own Milky Way galaxy, or to the far reaches of the Universe. Through innovative computational approaches, as well
as the design of next-generation telescopes, Weizmann scientists have the most advanced support on the ground to look to the sky for answers.
Weizmann’s new observatory in the Negev
Among the new approaches to be tested in this center is a set of ground-based survey telescopes at a new “o -campus” facility: the Weizmann Astrophysical Observatory (WAO), in Israel’s Negev Desert. Capable
of sampling an expanse of the sky some hundred times wider than can be observed using current technologies, the telescopes being developed by Weizmann scientists and installed in this remote location will scan the visible Universe at extremely high temporal resolution.
Today’s most advanced observatories cost in excess of a billion dollars. But recent advances spearheaded by Weizmann researchers have made it possible to achieve a 30-fold increase in cost-e ectiveness, while delivering digital capabilities that make it possible to observe space in a
way that has never been possible before. The truly novel approach involves arrays
of multiple o -the-shelf small telescopes coupled with commercially-available detectors. The system’s unique power is derived from original algorithms that allow Weizmann scientists to store and analyze the immense data sets generated by their astronomical observations.

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