SKA is building out the world's largest telescope, with the Square Kilometer Array Observatory (SKAO) costing $2.2 billion and will have 197 dishes (50 feet/15 meters in diameter) installed in Karoo, South Africa's Northern Cape, and then 131,072 antennas (6.5 feet/2 meters tall) in Murchison, in Western Australia.
Professor Philip Diamond, Director-General of SKAO said during at SKAO's global HQ in the UK this week: "I am ecstatic-this moment has been 30 years in the making. Humankind is taking another giant leap by committing to build what will be the largest science facility of its kind on the planet".
SKA's new radio telescopes will study the "detailed properties of the first luminous objects in the universe, and be able to take snapshots of the 21cm emission at many different epochs, before, during and after reionisation, yielding detailed information about the formation of the first structures in the universe. It will provide the best measurements available of the characteristics of the first light sources in the universe" according to the SKA Telescope website.
Not only that, but the SKA's new telescope is "so sensitive that it will be able to detect signals comparable in strength to television transmitters operating on planets around the closest stars to the Sun out to dozens of light years. The SKA will be able to search for these "leakage" signals from other civilizations for the first time".
The super-sensitive SKA telescope will allow scientists to search for intentional beacons expand by 1000x that will be driven through wider ranges of frequencies at their finger tips. The team adds: "The detection of such extraterrestrial signals would forever change the perception of humanity in the Universe. The search is on, and the SKA will be at the forefront of one of human kinds greatest quests".
- Australia: The core site is located at the Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory (MRO) at Mileura Station near Boolardy in Western Australia 315 km north-east of Geraldton on a flat desert-like plain at an elevation of about 460 metres.
- South Africa: The core site is located at 30°43′16.068″S 21°24′40.06″E at an elevation of about 1000 metres in the Karoo area of the arid Northern Cape Province, about 75 km north-west of Carnarvon, with distant stations in Botswana, Ghana, Kenya, Madagascar, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia and Zambia.
SKA-Mid (South Africa) and SKA-Low (Western Australia) which describe the radio frequency that they cover, respectively.
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