What is the Square Kilometre Array?
A network of antennas working at centimetre to metre wavelengths with 100 times the
sensitivity of the largest existing arrays. Australia is jostling for position with South Africa in its bid to host and build what could be the most powerful radio telescope in the world.
The Australian plan allows for the SKA’s centre to be built in Western Australia, near Geraldton with observatories around the world linking to it via high-speed data links.
What’s all the fuss about?
Radio astronomy has played a big role in some of the big discoveries in astrophysics and cosmology – the after-glow of the Big Bang, neutron stars, gravitational radiation (via the binary pulsar), dark matter, black holes in galaxies, and gravitational lenses amoing them. Three of these discoveries resulted in Nobel Prizes for Physics. The hope is that the SKA project would lead to other Earth-shattering discoveries.
Please see below for a backgrounder about the SKA project.
Media round-up on news of the Kiwi backing for the project:
New Zealand Herald: video of Rudd/Clark press conference
The West Australian: WA’s bid for $100m SKA gets a boost
For more background visit the Square Kilometre Array website.
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