Basic Astronomy

SKA would be shared between Australia and Southern Africa

The International SKA Organization announced on Friday the 25th of May that the SKA would be shared between Australia-New Zealand and Southern Africa (with four other African nations).

Both Southern Africa and Australia-New Zealand combined team have been contesting to host the $2 billion worth SKA project, since 2005. It is announced by International SKA Organization that SKA would be split between both sites.


Professor Quinn from Western Australia said "sharing the SKA between Africa and Australia allows the project to benefit from the best of both sites, building on the substantial investment in infrastructure and expertise that already exists in both locations".

It is decided that low frequency frequency part of the SKA will be hosted by Australia/New Zealand. Australian-designed ‘Aperture Array’ and multi-pixel radio cameras will be used for this part of the SKA. It will be optimized to survey large portions of the sky quickly.

Southern Africa will host a complementary group of parabolic dish-shaped telescopes which will work in higher frequencies. These telescopes will observe smaller sections of the sky in more detail. It will be mainly used to follow up detail study of regions of interest discovered by the survey portion of the SKA in low frequencies.

The decision of divide is taken keeping in mind the strengths of each countries. Australia demonstrated its expertise in design and developing low frequency survey instruments, such as Murchison Wide field Array (MWA) and the Australian SKA Pathfinder (ASKAP).

When completed, the SKA will help to answer many important questions, such as, whether general theory of relativity is correct or not. It will also shed light on galaxy and stellar evolution and evolution of Universe.

(26st May 2012)

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