Square Kilometre Array Project
- The Square Kilometre Array (SKA) project is an international effort to build the world’s largest radio telescope.
- It will have over a square kilometre (one million square metres) of collecting area.
Objective of Square kilometre Project
- The SKA will eventually use thousands of dishes and up to a million low-frequency antennas
- These antennas will enable astronomers to monitor the sky in unprecedented detail
- Also they will survey the entire sky much faster than any system currently in existence.
Significance of Square Kilometre Project
- Its unique configuration will give the SKA unrivaled scope in observations, largely exceeding the image resolution quality of the Hubble Space Telescope.
- It will also have the ability to image huge areas of sky in parallel a feat which no survey telescope has ever achieved on this scale with this level of sensitivity.
Location of Square Kilometre Project
- Thousands of SKA antenna dishes will be built in South Africa (in the Karoo), with outstations in other parts of South Africa, as well as in eight African partner countries, namely Botswana, Ghana, Kenya, Madagascar, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia and Zambia.
- Another part of the telescope, the low-frequency array, will be built in Western Australia.
Why the need?
- The Arecibo telescope in Puerto Rico, which was the second-largest single-dish radio telescope in the world, collapsed in December 2020.
What are radio telescopes?
- Unlike optical telescopes, radio telescopes can detect invisible gas and, therefore, they can reveal areas of space that may be obscured by cosmic dust.
- The first radio signals were detected by physicist Karl Jansky in the 1930s.