Construction of the Square Kilometer Array (SKA), a radio telescope that will be the largest in the world at the time of commissioning in 2028, has begun in Australia and South Africa. This is an international project, the preparation for the implementation of which lasted almost 30 years, BBC writes.
State scientific institutions of Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Italy, Portugal, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the Netherlands, and Great Britain participate in the project. As of December 2022, the cost of the entire SKA project is estimated at $3 billion. The new radio telescope will see the first light no earlier than 2027.
The collection arrays of the telescope, which after completion will have a collection area of 1 sq. km, are located in Australia (low-frequency arrays) and South Africa (medium-frequency arrays), and the control and processing center, Square Kilometer Array Observatory, is located in Great Britain, on the territory of the Jodrell Bank Observatory. SKA cores are built in the southern hemisphere because there is the best view of the Milky Way with the least radio interference.
The initial architecture of the telescope, which will be built in the first stage, will include just under 200 parabolic dish antennas with a height of 12 m, as well as 131,000 dipole antennas, which somewhat resemble Christmas trees and are scattered in compact arrays over a large area (74 km). The system will operate in the frequency range from approximately 50 MHz to 25 GHz. The SKA is expected to be 50 times more sensitive and able to survey the entire sky 10,000 times faster than any current radio telescope.
The main tasks of the Square Kilometer Array: verification of the general theory of relativity, mapping of the distribution of hydrogen in the universe, verification of the influence of dark energy on the expansion of the universe; research of the dark period in the history of the universe (from 0 to 300,000 years after the Big Bang); studying the evolution of cosmic magnetism and… the search for extraterrestrial life.
We will remind you that the world’s largest radio telescope of decameter waves UTR-2, located in the Kharkiv region, was severely damaged during the temporary occupation. Ruscist barbarians set up a firing position on the territory of the UTR-2 observatory, looted and destroyed scientific equipment.