The decision was made by the International SKA Steering Committee, following advice from an external committee of 7 scientists from 5 countries that examined the four site bids.
“Both Australia and Southern Africa can meet the full range of requirements for the SKA,” said Prof. Richard Schilizzi, International SKA Project Director, in announcing the decision today in Dwingeloo, The Netherlands.
The SKA will be a set of thousands of antennas, not a single giant instrument, spread over 3,000 km, but with half of the antennas located in a central region 5 km across. The SKA will be 50 times more sensitive than the most powerful radio telescopes we now have.
It will peer deep into the cosmos to pick up signs of the first stars and galaxies to form after the Big Bang; it will trace the effects of the mysterious Dark Energy that is driving the Universe apart at an ever increasing speed; and it will map out the influence of magnetic fields on the development of stars and galaxies.
Observations of pulsars will allow the SKA to look for the effects of gravitational waves from merging massive black-holes at the centres of other galaxies. If there are extra-terrestrial intelligences out there in the Milky Way with airport or ionospheric radars, the SKA will detect them.
For Australia, the core site is proposed to be at Mileura station, about 100 km west of Meekathara in Western Australia. Other dishes would be distributed over the Australian continent with the possibility of extension into New Zealand.
In Southern Africa, the central location would be at the Karoo site in the Northern Cape region of South Africa, about 95 km from Carnarvon, with further dishes located in South Africa itself and in neighbouring African countries - Botswana, Namibia, Mozambique, Madagasgar, Mauritius, Kenya, and Ghana.
A key requirement of the core site is that there must be a very low level of man-made radio signals, because interference will mask the faint cosmic radio waves the telescope is designed to detect.
“Furthermore, South Africa and Australia are both making excellent progress towards protecting these unique environments with radio-quiet zones that will limit the use of radio transmitting equipment,” said Prof. Phil Diamond, past-chair of the International SKA Steering Committee.
Both the Australian and Southern African sites can see much of the same sky as other major ground-based optical, infrared and sub-millimetre telescopes and both have a good view of the southern sky, which is where the centre of our Galaxy goes overhead. Both also have stable ionospheric conditions, which is important for the low-frequency observations the SKA will make.
China and Argentina/Brazil also bid to host the SKA. Both sites were also considered exceptional sites for radio astronomy, but failed to meet at least one of the broad range of exacting requirements for the Square Kilometre Array. The proposed Chinese site would place unacceptable restrictions on the placement of the central elements of the SKA and the joint Argentinian / Brazilian proposal was eliminated because the ionospheric conditions above South America would limit the SKA’s performance at low frequencies.
Further analysis of the short-listed sites will now be carried out, with the final decision about which of the two sites will host the SKA expected towards the end of the decade.
Professor Philip Diamond | alfa
Ultra-compact phase modulators based on graphene plasmons
27.06.2017 | ICFO-The Institute of Photonic Sciences
Smooth propagation of spin waves using gold
26.06.2017 | Toyohashi University of Technology
An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.
Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...
Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.
Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...
Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.
As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...
Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.
With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...
Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine
Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...
19.06.2017 | Event News
13.06.2017 | Event News
13.06.2017 | Event News
27.06.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering
27.06.2017 | Information Technology
27.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy