Australasian Science: Australia's authority on science since 1938

SKA Site Shared

By Various experts

After many months of deliberations, the Square Kilometre Array Organisation has announced that the massive telescope will be shared between Australia/NZ and South Africa.

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“The decision is a complex one, which recognises the enormous amount of international investment that will be needed to make the SKA happen.

The array will be split between Africa and Australia/NZ. What this does not mean is that half the telescope will be built in each continent. Each site gets a full square kilometre of collecting area, with the full scientific functionality originally envisaged.

However, the SKA's science goals require a facility that can tune into radio waves from 70 MHz up to above 10,000 MHz. It's impossible for any single technology to cover this vast range, so the plan has always been to build two or even three different types of antennas, which together can span the full range needed.

What the SKA project has decided is to put different technologies in different places, playing to the strengths of each site. The lowest frequency component, consisting of antennas that do not move or steer and that can collect signals from the whole sky at once, will be built in Australia and New Zealand. This capitalises on the superb radio quietness of the SKA core planned for Murchison in outback Western Australia – one of the few places on the planet that isn't polluted by FM radio and other artificial signals in this low frequency band.

The higher frequency technology, consisting of more traditional steerable dishes like the one at...

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.

Source: AusSMC