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
New manifestation of magnetic monopoles discovered
08.12.2017 | Institute of Science and Technology Austria
NASA's SuperTIGER balloon flies again to study heavy cosmic particles
07.12.2017 | NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center
The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.
Over the past few years, the building blocks of storage media have gotten ever smaller. But further miniaturization of the current technology is hindered by...
With innovative experiments, researchers at the Helmholtz-Zentrums Geesthacht and the Technical University Hamburg unravel why tiny metallic structures are extremely strong
Light-weight and simultaneously strong – porous metallic nanomaterials promise interesting applications as, for instance, for future aeroplanes with enhanced...
An interdisciplinary group of researchers interfaced individual bacteria with a computer to build a hybrid bio-digital circuit - Study published in Nature Communications
Scientists at the Institute of Science and Technology Austria (IST Austria) have managed to control the behavior of individual bacteria by connecting them to a...
Physicists in the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics (run jointly by LMU Munich and the Max Planck Institute for Quantum Optics) have developed an attosecond electron microscope that allows them to visualize the dispersion of light in time and space, and observe the motions of electrons in atoms.
The most basic of all physical interactions in nature is that between light and matter. This interaction takes place in attosecond times (i.e. billionths of a...
Transistors based on carbon nanostructures: what sounds like a futuristic dream could be reality in just a few years' time. An international research team working with Empa has now succeeded in producing nanotransistors from graphene ribbons that are only a few atoms wide, as reported in the current issue of the trade journal "Nature Communications."
Graphene ribbons that are only a few atoms wide, so-called graphene nanoribbons, have special electrical properties that make them promising candidates for the...
08.12.2017 | Event News
07.12.2017 | Event News
05.12.2017 | Event News
08.12.2017 | Life Sciences
08.12.2017 | Information Technology
08.12.2017 | Information Technology