none
none

AUSTRALIA'S DESERTS HELP SCAN THE SKIES

15-02-2018
by 
in 

Australia's deserts will soon hold hundreds of radio dishes, forming part of a global radio telescope designed to listen for signals from the start of the universe: The Square Kilometre Array (SKA). 

When completed, the ambitious project will be the world's single largest piece of astronomical equipment, stretching across multiple countries and being assembled from thousands of individual radio dishes. 

The project will involve researchers from across the world including China, Australia, Britain and parts of Europe. Each of the dishes will be 21 metres tall, with a prototype of the dish design recently unveiled at a test site in Shijiazhuang, China. The project will also erect another prototype at the South African site by April of 2018.

Three antenna concepts were devised for consideration by experts and the China-led design, a dual-offset Gregorian reflector antenna, was chosen by panelists at a meeting in November 2015. It has a height of 21 meters, a weight of 42 metric tons and a service life of 50 years, and features a high level of sensitivity, accuracy and reliability. It is also lightweight and "not prohibitively costly".

"It's great to actually see metal being deployed," says Phil Diamond, director-general of the SKA Organisation, based in Manchester, UK. "This is the culmination of a 5-year design program."

CSIRO’s director of astronomy and space science, Douglas Bock, says Chinese and Australian scientists collaborated on the light and affordable dish design.

“In radio astronomy, we have been working with China since before we had diplomatic relations,” said Bock.

“We open our telescopes in Australia to scientists from around the world because that is how we get the best brains from around the world for free, to combine with our telescopes and our minds, to broaden our knowledge and our networks,” he said.

Once deployed, the radio telescope will hopefully help to answer questions about how galaxies, stars, and black holes formed, in addition to informing on the existence of dark matter. 

 

Related news & editorials

  1. 20.02.2018
    20.02.2018
    by      In
    An in-depth analysis of the battery industry in Australia has shown that lithium totals a $2 trillion investment opportunity, and despite investment in other kinds of battery technology, Australia must act or be left behind in lithium tech. 
    The Association of Mining and Exploration Companies (AMEC... Read More
  2. 20.02.2018
    20.02.2018
    by      In
    Lockheed Martin Australia has opened a new $12 million Lockheed Martin Australia House on the edge of Canberra’s Parliamentary Triangle. 
    The new office was opened by Defence Industry Minister Christopher Pyne, who said the company has cemented its ongoing commitment to Australia's defence industry... Read More
  3. 20.02.2018
    20.02.2018
    by      In
    Expressions of interest have now opened for trade works on the Osborne Naval Shipbuilding Precinct infrastructure project, promising up to 600 new construction jobs, and ongoing maintenance procedures. 
    Under the project, new facilities will be required to support the continuous build programs for... Read More
  4. 20.02.2018
    20.02.2018
    by      In
    With 'temporary' demountable structures making up more than one-in-ten classrooms in NSW, it is clear the education system is struggling to keep up with expansion. 
    Facing a future with more than five thousand demountables, many of which remain in place for upwards of ten years, the Centre for... Read More