| Back | Up | Map | Glossary | Information |
The BIMA array's history dates
back to the 1970's, when it consisted of just three antennas.
Three new dishes were added in 1993, bringing the total then
to six. Currently, eight dishes are operational. Plans call for an expansion to ten operational dishes
within about a year.
When using an array, radio astronomers often want to employ as many dishes in as possible.
The greater the number of dishes, the better an array can emulate a larger single dish telescope.
That's because more dishes translates into more baselines that can be observed
simultaneously. The more baselines, the more complete the resulting data.
Adding the extra dishes will also increase the BIMA array's sensitivity, thereby allowing it to detect further or fainter objects .
The dishes are placed along a "T" shaped track in three different configurations. Plans are in progress to extend the length of the
tracks, thus allowing for longer baselines with
higher resolutions. This enhancement will further improve the array's
ability to pick out still finer details yet deeper in space.
While adding more dishes enhances the imaging power of the telescope, doing so also
increases the amount of data generated per observing run. For example, ten dishes
produce three times as much data as do six. Efficient handling of the resulting mountains of data
poses a major computational challenge.
Return to Planning for the Future: A Quest..
Up to the BIMA Array: Today and Beyond