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New radio telescope to warn of solar flares – Australia

The Murchison Widefield Array (MWA) radio telescope is giving vastly improved view of the sun and much faster warnings on massive solar storms, will detect flares on the sun’s surface that could damage communication satellites, electricity power grids and GPS navigation systems, director Steven Tingay said Saturday.

He also said the goal was to predict the trajectory of potentially damaging debris and use this information to allow the reorientation of satellites or the shut down of communications systems that could be in its path. And this new telescope could give them up to 20 hours warning of potentially damaging solar disturbances while older systems would give about three or four hours.

This new project costs US $53 million and involved the work of 13 institutions in Australia, the United States, India and New Zealand, led by Western Australia’s Curtin University.