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Powerful Radio Telescopes in South Africa are Revolutionizing Astronomy

July 26, 2019 - General
Radio Telescope

The world’s largest radio telescope is expected to come online sometime in 2020. The Square Kilometre Array (SKA) is an internationally sponsored and funded initiative that will include more than one million square metres of collecting area when all of its installations are complete.

With thousands of individual dishes and approximately one million low-frequency antennas at their disposal, astronomers will be able to survey the sky above the Earth in exquisite and comprehensive detail. Despite being based on our planet’s surface, SKA image resolution quality will actually exceed that of the Hubble Space Telescope.

One unique aspect of the project is that it will incorporate dishes on two separate continents in the Southern hemisphere. SKA facilities in secluded desert regions of South Africa and Australia will work in coordination to supply scientists with a far more panoramic view of the sky than was previously attainable. Sky scanning speed will exceed previous standards by an impressive factor of 10,000, and the array’s sensitivity will be 50 times greater than what radio telescopes have achieved before.

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