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
Smallest transistor worldwide switches current with a single atom in solid electrolyte
17.08.2018 | Karlsruher Institut für Technologie (KIT)
Protecting the power grid: Advanced plasma switch for more efficient transmission
17.08.2018 | DOE/Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory
There are currently great hopes for solid-state batteries. They contain no liquid parts that could leak or catch fire. For this reason, they do not require cooling and are considered to be much safer, more reliable, and longer lasting than traditional lithium-ion batteries. Jülich scientists have now introduced a new concept that allows currents up to ten times greater during charging and discharging than previously described in the literature. The improvement was achieved by a “clever” choice of materials with a focus on consistently good compatibility. All components were made from phosphate compounds, which are well matched both chemically and mechanically.
The low current is considered one of the biggest hurdles in the development of solid-state batteries. It is the reason why the batteries take a relatively long...
New design tool automatically creates nanostructure 3D-print templates for user-given colors
Scientists present work at prestigious SIGGRAPH conference
Most of the objects we see are colored by pigments, but using pigments has disadvantages: such colors can fade, industrial pigments are often toxic, and...
Scientists at the University of California, Los Angeles present new research on a curious cosmic phenomenon known as "whistlers" -- very low frequency packets...
Scientists develop first tool to use machine learning methods to compute flow around interactively designable 3D objects. Tool will be presented at this year’s prestigious SIGGRAPH conference.
When engineers or designers want to test the aerodynamic properties of the newly designed shape of a car, airplane, or other object, they would normally model...
Researchers from TU Graz and their industry partners have unveiled a world first: the prototype of a robot-controlled, high-speed combined charging system (CCS) for electric vehicles that enables series charging of cars in various parking positions.
Global demand for electric vehicles is forecast to rise sharply: by 2025, the number of new vehicle registrations is expected to reach 25 million per year....
17.08.2018 | Event News
08.08.2018 | Event News
27.07.2018 | Event News
20.08.2018 | Information Technology
20.08.2018 | Life Sciences
20.08.2018 | Information Technology