From SKA: “SKA signs cooperation agreement with Čerenkov Telescope Array”

SKA South Africa


From SKA

29 January 2020

The SKA Organisation (SKAO) [all telescope images below] will engage in closer collaboration with the Čerenkov Telescope Array Observatory (CTAO) under a new agreement signed by the two research infrastructures.

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The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) will facilitate greater sharing of knowledge and expertise in areas including engineering, science, technology and administration.

SKAO and CTAO are both large international collaborations and have several member countries in common, including many European countries but also astronomy organisations in Australia and South Africa. Like the SKA, which will have radio telescopes in Australia and South Africa, CTA will also comprise two arrays on different continents observing gamma rays: one in Chile at ESO’s Cerro Paranal and one in Spain on La Palma in the Canary Islands.

The two observatories are due to begin delivering science within just a few years of each other.

Both have also begun transitions on the governance front; the SKA is becoming an intergovernmental organisation or IGO, while CTAO is becoming a European Research Infrastructure Consortium (ERIC).

“Both the SKA and CTA are pushing the boundaries of what’s possible technically, scientifically and logistically, and some of the challenges that brings are common to both projects,” says Simon Berry, Director of Strategy for the SKA. “This MOU formalises our relationship, so we can keep learning from each other’s experiences and share expertise for the benefit of both observatories.”

“In this age of multi-messenger astronomy, building alliances with observatories across the spectrum are critical to achieving our common missions to expand our view and understanding of the Universe,” says Federico Ferrini, CTAO Managing Director. “The CTAO-SKAO partnership was an obvious fit due to our vast similarities, and we are looking forward to the collaboration.”

While the respective telescopes will observe opposite ends of the spectrum, there are exciting areas of scientific synergy between them. Both radio and gamma rays are a probe of the violent and variable universe, including the study of active galactic nuclei, transient events such as gamma-ray bursts and fast radio bursts, accretion into compact objects and gravitational wave counterparts.

As the flagship very high-energy gamma-ray observatory for the coming decades, CTA is one of several next-generation facilities targeting other wavelengths or cosmic messengers (detections that do not use photons, such as neutrinos or gravitational waves) which will be complementary to the SKA. Coordinated observations between such facilities can give a more complete picture of astronomical sources and phenomena, resulting in greatly enhanced scientific discoveries.

See the full article here .

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Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder (ASKAP) is a radio telescope array located at Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory (MRO) in the Australian Mid West. ASKAP consists of 36 identical parabolic antennas, each 12 metres in diameter, working together as a single instrument with a total collecting area of approximately 4,000 square metres.

SKA Meerkat telescope, 90 km outside the small Northern Cape town of Carnarvon, SA

Murchison Widefield Array,SKA Murchison Widefield Array, Boolardy station in outback Western Australia, at the Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory (MRO)

SKA Hera at SKA South Africa

SKA Pathfinder – LOFAR location at Potsdam via Google Images

About SKA

The Square Kilometre Arraywill be the world’s largest and most sensitive radio telescope. The total collecting area will be approximately one square kilometre giving 50 times the sensitivity, and 10 000 times the survey speed, of the best current-day telescopes. The SKA will be built in Southern Africa and in Australia. Thousands of receptors will extend to distances of 3 000 km from the central regions. The SKA will address fundamental unanswered questions about our Universe including how the first stars and galaxies formed after the Big Bang, how dark energy is accelerating the expansion of the Universe, the role of magnetism in the cosmos, the nature of gravity, and the search for life beyond Earth. Construction of phase one of the SKA is scheduled to start in 2016. The SKA Organisation, with its headquarters at Jodrell Bank Observatory, near Manchester, UK, was established in December 2011 as a not-for-profit company in order to formalise relationships between the international partners and centralise the leadership of the project.

The Square Kilometre Array (SKA) project is an international effort to build the world’s largest radio telescope, led by SKA Organisation. The SKA will conduct transformational science to improve our understanding of the Universe and the laws of fundamental physics, monitoring the sky in unprecedented detail and mapping it hundreds of times faster than any current facility.

Already supported by 10 member countries – Australia, Canada, China, India, Italy, New Zealand, South Africa, Sweden, The Netherlands and the United Kingdom – SKA Organisation has brought together some of the world’s finest scientists, engineers and policy makers and more than 100 companies and research institutions across 20 countries in the design and development of the telescope. Construction of the SKA is set to start in 2018, with early science observations in 2020.