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Russian radio telescope enables scientists to make map of distant galaxy

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July 14, 2012, 5:27 p.m. | Science & technology — by Interfax-Ukraine

RadioAstron consists of a Navigator platform designed by Russian aerospace company NPO Lavochkin and a radio telescope - dish antenna with a diameter of 10 meters.
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MOSCOW - Russian scientists have made a map of the nucleus of a distant galaxy by using its Spektr-R (RadioAstron) orbtal radio telescope, said the Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos).

"For the first time an experiment has been carried out whose purpose was to make a map of the compact nucleus of galaxy 0716+714. Telescopes of the European network of very long-baseline radio technical facilities, including Russian Kvazar-KVO systems and observatories in Ukraine and in Japan, were involve din it," Roscosmos said in a statement.

The nucleus is 0.2 parsecs large, the statement said. "Mass-scale examinations of the nuclei of active galaxies in all ranges covered by RadioAstron are continuing."

RadioAstron's record to date is detection of compact details in the center of galaxy OJ287, Roscosmos said. "The result is resolution that is far better the maximum resolution achievable by ground-based interferometers operating at this wavelength and hundreds of times better that the resolution obtainable by the Hubble Telescope," it said.

Launched on July 18, 2011, RadioAstron consists of a Navigator platform designed by Russian aerospace company NPO Lavochkin and a radio telescope - dish antenna with a diameter of 10 meters. Navigator comprises service systems - a control, radio, power and engine units.

The antenna, which was unraveled in orbit, is fitted with systems for the magnification and processing of data and their transmission to Earth, and consists of a central mirror and 27 petals.

A RadioAstron program launched in February involves studies of the nuclei of active galaxies, space masers and pulsars, Roscosmos said. 

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