4 February 2021

New era for radio astronomy • Launch of international observatory SKAO

The SKA Observatory, a new intergovernmental organisation dedicated to radio astronomy, was launched 4 Februari 2021.

Lars Börjesson, Professor, Materials Physics, Department of Physics at Chalmers, representative of Sweden as Observer to Council.

SKAO, formally known as the SKA Observatory, is a global collaboration of Member States to build and operate cutting-edge radio telescopes to answer fundamental questions about our Universe. Headquartered in the UK, its first two telescopes, the two largest and most complex radio telescope networks ever built, will be constructed in Australia and South Africa.

Sweden is represented in the SKA Organisation by Onsala Space Observatory, the Swedish national facility for radio astronomy. Onsala Space Observatory, founded in 1949, is hosted by Department of Earth and Space Sciences at Chalmers University of Technology, and is operated on behalf of the Swedish Research Council. Sweden became a member of the SKA in 2012.

Lars Börjesson, Professor, Materials Physics, Department of Physics at Chalmers, representative of Sweden as Observer to Council

“The establishment of the SKA Observatory is a major event for the field of radio astronomy, and a decisive organisational step towards the construction of the SKA telescope. We’ve reached this milestone thanks to a huge amount of work in a truly global network, involving the world’s leading radio astronomy institutes and observatories.

Together, across international borders, we have combined expertise and enthusiasm to develop the SKA’s science goals, its technical design and organisational structure, and this is something we can be really proud of. For Sweden, funding has now been secured for participation in the construction phase, and the formal process for membership in the SKA Observatory has been initiated.”

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