8 December 2022

SKA Observatory celebrates start of telescope construction in Australia and South Africa

At the start of December, the SKA Observatory is celebrating the start of construction for the enormous radio telescope, one part in the Karoo Desert in South Africa and the other in Western Australia. Chalmers University of Technology is leading Sweden’s participation in the project.

SKAO (the SKA Observatory), the world’s largest radio telescope, is a radio astronomy facility, and the big data it will provide will revolutionise our understanding of the universe and fundamental laws of physics.

Sweden is represented in the SKA Organisation by Onsala Space Observatory, the Swedish national facility for radio astronomy, which is affiliated to Chalmers.

John Conway, professor of radio astronomy at Chalmers, represents Sweden in the SKA project.

“The telescopes in SKA are now becoming a reality on site in South Africa and Australia, and all over the world preparations are underway for both gigantic amounts of data and major scientific breakthroughs,” he explains.

“I am grateful for all the work that colleagues in Sweden and all over the world have put in this far on these fantastic telescopes. It’s an honour for us to have been entrusted with this task by both the traditional owners of the land and by the governments of the member countries.”

Read more at Chalmers.se

<p>​The thousands of antennas that will make up SKA-Low in Australia (artist's impression)​</p>

​The thousands of antennas that will make up SKA-Low in Australia (artist's impression)​

The SKA Project

The Square Kilometre Array (SKA) will have a square kilometre (one million square metres) of collecting area. The scale of the SKA represents a huge leap forward in both engineering and research & development towards building and delivering a unique instrument, with the detailed design and preparation now well under way.

In South Africa, parabolic antennas will supplement the 64 that today comprise the SKA pioneer MeerKAT telescope to form a new telescope, SKA-Mid. Australia will host no fewer than 131,072 two-metre-high antennas that will form the SKA-Low telescope.