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  • richardmitnick 12:20 pm on November 21, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , SKA   

    From SKA: “Canada’s CHIME telescope joins SKA pathfinder family” 


    From SKA

    21 November 2018

    CHIME Canadian Hydrogen Intensity Mapping Experiment -A partnership between the University of British Columbia, the University of Toronto, McGill University, Yale and the National Research Council of Canada, at the Dominion Radio Astrophysical Observatory in British Columbia, at the Dominion Radio Astrophysical Observatory in British Columbia

    Great news: the SKA pathfinder family has a new member! We welcome CHIME, the Canadian Hydrogen Intensity Mapping Experiment 🇨🇦, to the group of facilities carrying out SKA-related science and technology studies around the world. Astronomers are using the signals CHIME collects to measure the expansion history of the Universe over a period of 4 billion years of cosmic time! CHIME is also expected to find thousands of new Fast Radio Bursts (FRBs) – a phenomenon consisting of short bursts of radio waves from far outside our Milky Way galaxy, but of unknown origin.

    “CHIME’s observations will set the scene for the next generation of experiments with the SKA, which will be able to see even further back into the history of the Universe, observing hydrogen from a time when the Universe was less than a billion years old,” says Canadian SKA Science Director Prof. Bryan Gaensler.

    The CHIME project is co-led by the @universityofbc, @McGillUniversity, @UniversityToronto and the National Research Council of Canada. Find out more on our website: http://skatel.org/CHIME-SKA-pathfinder_mXn0S

    Canada’s largest radio telescope, the Canadian Hydrogen Intensity Mapping Experiment (CHIME), has been officially granted Square Kilometre Array (SKA) pathfinder status.

    SKA pathfinders and precursors are facilities all over the world involved in SKA-related science and technology studies, and provide vital input for the teams developing the SKA. While precursor telescopes are located at the future SKA sites, pathfinders are dotted around the globe.

    Located at the National Research Council of Canada’s Dominion Radio Astrophysical Observatory (DRAO) in British Columbia, CHIME is an unusual telescope with no moving parts and a huge field of view, which stretches almost from the northern to the southern horizon.

    Astronomers are using the signals it collects to measure the expansion history of the Universe over a period of 4 billion years of cosmic time, by creating a 3D map of its most abundant element: hydrogen. Studying the Universe’s expansion in detail may provide evidence of what is causing its acceleration, one possible candidate being the mysterious Dark Energy.

    CHIME is also ideal for other SKA-related studies, including discovering large numbers of Fast Radio Bursts (FRBs) – a phenomenon consisting of short bursts of radio waves from far outside our Milky Way galaxy, but of unknown origin – and monitoring Galactic radio pulsars.

    “CHIME’s observations will set the scene for the next generation of experiments with the SKA, which will be able to see even further back into the history of the Universe, observing hydrogen from a time when the Universe was less than a billion years old,” said Canadian SKA Science Director Prof. Bryan Gaensler.

    “Canada has a rich history in radio astronomy, and CHIME has continued this tradition by bringing together scientists and engineers from across the country. CHIME has also proven to be a fantastic platform for training young students and postdocs on the relevant technologies. These are the next generation of scientists who will be keen to use the SKA in the next decade and beyond,” Prof. Gaensler added.

    “With CHIME we are performing exciting measurements of cosmology and FRBs which will help to frame the questions that the SKA is being designed to address,” said Prof. Mark Halpern from the University of British Columbia, which co-leads the project with McGill University, the University of Toronto and the National Research Council of Canada.

    “We expect to find thousands of new FRBs, completely transforming this field, so what we learn from CHIME will be hugely valuable when planning future observations with the SKA.”

    CHIME is a relatively new facility, achieving first light in September 2017. It brings the number of SKA pathfinders to 15, in addition to the four SKA precursor facilities in South Africa and Australia.

    Read more on SKA precursors and pathfinders

    Read more about the CHIME

    See the full article here .

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    SKA ASKAP Pathefinder Telescope

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


    SKA Meerkat Telescope

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


    SKA Murchison Wide Field Array
    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.

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  • richardmitnick 12:05 pm on November 21, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , SKA   

    From SKA: “SKA joins research data revolution through ESCAPE project” 


    From SKA

    20 November 2018

    1
    The SKA was identified as a landmark project in the European Commission’s infrastructure roadmap, the European Strategy Forum on Research Infrastructures (ESFRI) in 2016. Above are the physical science ESFRI projects in astronomy, astroparticle and particle physics that form the focus of the ESCAPE cluster (clockwise from top left: ELT, CTA, FAIR, KM3NeT, EST, HL-LHC, SKA).

    2
    ESCAPE brings together 31 partner projects and institutions.

    The SKA has joined 30 fellow research infrastructures to collaborate on a new science data initiative, which forms part of efforts to create a European cloud for scientific research.

    Launched today, ESCAPE (The European Science Cluster of Astronomy & Particle Physics ESFRI Research Infrastructures) is supported by €16 million of funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Framework with the purpose of finding solutions to shared data challenges.

    “For the SKA, our participation in ESCAPE will focus on developing technology and processes that will inform the global network of SKA Regional Centres (SRCs),” says Dr Antonio Chrysostomou, SKA Organisation Head of Science Operations Planning. SRCs will be hubs spread around the world which will enable researchers to access SKA science data products.

    “We want the SKA community to have the same experience wherever they are in the world, so prototyping around how to share, access and visualize data, and how the process can then be scaled up to a global level, will provide important lessons for us.”

    ESCAPE funding will enable SKA Organisation to bring on board personnel to focus on the project’s work packages relating to developing a science platform for data sharing, interoperability and communication using Virtual Observatory protocols, software deployment and user interfaces.

    ESCAPE involves 31 partners at the cutting edge of research in astronomy and particle physics, including the Cherenkov Telescope Array (CTA), Joint Institute for VLBI ERIC (JIV-ERIC), ASTRON, Istituto Nazionale d’Astrofisica (INAF), the European Southern Observatory (ESO), and CERN, with the project being led by IN2P3, the French National Institute of Nuclear and Particle Physics.

    Cherenkov Telescope Array, http://www.isdc.unige.ch/cta/ at Cerro Paranal, located in the Atacama Desert of northern Chile on Cerro Paranal at 2,635 m (8,645 ft) altitude, 120 km (70 mi) south of Antofagasta; and at at the Instituto de Astrofisica de Canarias (IAC), Roque de los Muchachos Observatory in La Palma, Spain searches for cosmic rays

    European VLBI


    SKA LOFAR core (“superterp”) near Exloo, Netherlands


    INAF Telescopio Nazionale Galileo, a 3.58-meter Italian telescope, located at the Roque de los Muchachos Observatory on the island of La Palma in the Canary Islands, Spain Altitude 2,396 m (7,861 ft).

    “It is the first time that many of the greatest European scientific facilities in physics and astronomy have combined forces to make their data and software interoperable and open, committing to make the European Science Cloud a reality,” says IN2P3’s Dr Giovanni Lamanna, Principal Investigator of ESCAPE. “This is an important milestone for European scientific research.”

    The European Open Science Cloud project (EOSC) project aims to facilitate universal access to scientific data through a single online platform, allowing both professional researchers and the general public to re-use data produced by other scientists. It is an effort to harness the full potential of the vast amounts of data that will be created by next-generation facilities like the SKA.

    “The scope of the SKA, both in terms of its global footprint and its scientific challenge, demands a paradigm shift in approach if its potential benefits are to be fully realised,” adds Dr Chrysostomou. “EOSC will help to promote a culture of accessibility and rigour that can only benefit astronomy in this multi-wavelength, ‘multi-messenger’ era.”

    Read the official ESCAPE press release here.

    See the full article here .

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    SKA ASKAP Pathefinder Telescope

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


    SKA Meerkat Telescope

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


    SKA Murchison Wide Field Array
    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.

     
  • richardmitnick 4:15 pm on September 13, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , , SKA, Westerbork Synthesis Radio Telescope   

    From Netherlands Institute for Radio Astronomy Astron: “This morning party at ASTRON-Netherlands Institute for Radio Astronomy in westerbork (actually hooghalen)” 

    ASTRON bloc

    From Netherlands Institute for Radio Astronomy Astron

    Westerbork Synthesis Radio Telescope, an aperture synthesis interferometer near World War II Nazi detention and transit camp Westerbork, north of the village of Westerbork, Midden-Drenthe, in the northeastern Netherlands

    The radio telescope has existed for 50 years and 12 out of 14 devices are equipped with new technique that has increased the range 37 times! This new project is called Apertif. In addition to lofar and ska a new development that teaches us even more from the universe and that with thr Dutch province of Drenthe as the center of the world!!

    Astron Lofar radio telescope

    ASTRON LOFAR Map

    SKA LOFAR core (“superterp”) near Exloo, Netherlands

    To me the honor apertif officially open, following the welcome of director professor Carole Jackson.

    See the full article here .

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    ASTRON-Westerbork Synthesis Radio Telescope
    Westerbork Synthesis Radio Telescope (WSRT)

    ASTRON was founded in 1949, as the Foundation for Radio radiation from the Sun and Milky Way (SRZM). Its original charge was to develop and operate radio telescopes, the first being systems using surplus wartime radar dishes. The organisation has grown from twenty employees in the early 1960’s to about 180 staff members today.

     
  • richardmitnick 12:36 pm on July 25, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , SKA   

    From SKA: “SKA-Athena Synergy White Paper released” 


    From SKA

    1
    The SKA-Athena Synergy White Paper details areas in which the two facilities can be complementary to each other

    25 July 2018

    A new white paper has been published detailing synergies between the SKA and the European Space Agency’s future Athena telescope.

    ESA/Athena spacecraft depiction

    The SKA-Athena Synergy White Paper highlights the areas of science where combining data gathered by the two facilities would provide unique insights that would not be available with data from the individual telescopes themselves.

    Athena (Advanced Telescope for High ENergy Astrophysics) will be a space-based X-ray telescope that aims to investigate the “Hot and Energetic Universe” scientific theme, and it is provisionally due to be launched in the early 2030s – making it an ideal contemporary instrument to the SKA. It is one of a number of facilities with which the SKA is exploring possible synergies, with the goal of supporting the wider astronomy community to make discoveries through collaborations across the electromagnetic spectrum.

    The white paper was authored by the SKA-Athena Synergy Team, a group of experts based at four leading research organisations: Dr Rossella Cassano (INAF-Istituto di Radioastronomia, Italy), Dr Rob Fender (University of Oxford, UK), Dr Chiara Ferrari (Observatoire de la Côte d’Azur, France) and Dr Andrea Merloni (Max-Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics, Germany), based on contributions from 25 scientists in eleven different countries.

    “While there are many areas of synergy, one of the most exciting is the pin-pointing of the very first generation of stars to have been born in the Universe,” said SKA Organisation Science Director Dr Robert Braun. “The SKA should allow detection of the ionised bubbles surrounding these stars as cavities within the neutral hydrogen emission at the relevant epoch, while Athena would permit direct detection of the ionising sources themselves.”

    Another important area is in understanding the growth and evolution of super-massive black holes, like the one at the centre of our own Milky Way Galaxy. “The two-pronged radio/X-ray approach is particularly well-matched to the study these enigmatic objects that are found to reside at the centre of most major galaxies,” Dr Braun added. “While they tend to be particularly bright in the X-ray and radio bands, they tend to be almost invisible in the intervening portions of the electromagnetic spectrum due to the extreme gravitational forces and very high temperatures.”

    Next year the SKA Organisation Global Headquarters at Jodrell Bank in the UK will host the SKA General Science Meeting, a major gathering of the international science community interested in the project. Many of the synergies outlined in the white paper will be further discussed there.

    To read the full SKA-Athena Synergy White Paper, download a PDF copy here.

    See the full article here .

    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition


    SKA ASKAP Pathefinder Telescope

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


    SKA Meerkat Telescope

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


    SKA Murchison Wide Field Array
    About SKA

    The Square Kilometre Array will 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.

     
  • richardmitnick 2:42 pm on June 19, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: ASKAP, , , , , , , , SKA   

    From AAAS: “New radio telescope in South Africa will study galaxy formation” 

    AAAS

    From AAAS

    Jun. 19, 2018
    Daniel Clery

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

    Today, the Square Kilometre Array (SKA), a continent-spanning radio astronomy project, announced that Spain has come on board as the collaboration’s 11th member. That boost will help the sometimes-troubled project as, over the next year or so, it forms an international treaty organization and negotiates funding to start construction. Meanwhile, on the wide-open plains of the Karoo, a semiarid desert northeast of Cape Town, South Africa, part of the telescope is already in place in the shape of the newly completed MeerKAT, the largest and most powerful radio telescope in the Southern Hemisphere.

    The last of 64 13.5-meter dishes was installed late last year, and next month South African President Cyril Ramaphosa will officially open the facility. Spread across 8 kilometers, the dishes have a collecting area similar to that of the great workhorse of astrophysics, the Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array (VLA) near Socorro, New Mexico.

    NRAO/Karl V Jansky VLA, on the Plains of San Agustin fifty miles west of Socorro, NM, USA, at an elevation of 6970 ft (2124 m)

    But with new hardware designs and a powerful supercomputer to process data, the newcomer could have an edge on its 40-year-old northern cousin.

    “For certain studies, it will be the best” in the world, says Fernando Camilo, chief scientist of the South African Radio Astronomy Observatory in Cape Town, which operates MeerKAT. Sensitive across a wide swath of the radio spectrum, MeerKAT can study how hydrogen gas moves into galaxies to fuel star formation. With little experience, South Africa has “a major fantastic achievement,” says Heino Falcke of Radboud University in Nijmegen, the Netherlands.

    MeerKAT, which stands for Karoo Array Telescope along with the Afrikaans word for “more,” is one of several precursor instruments for the SKA. . The first phase of the SKA could begin in 2020 at a cost of €798 million. It would add another 133 dishes to MeerKAT, extending it across 150 kilometers, and place 130,000 smaller radio antennas across Australia—but only if member governments agree to fully fund the work. Months of delicate negotiations lie ahead. “In every country, people are having that discussion on what funding is available,” Falcke says.

    With MeerKAT’s 64 dishes now in place, engineers are learning how to process the data they gather. In a technique called interferometry, computers correlate the signals from pairs of dishes to build a much sharper image than a single dish could produce. For early science campaigns last year, 16 dishes were correlated. In March, the new supercomputer came online, and the team hopes to be fully operational by early next year. “It’s going to be a challenge,” Camilo says.

    MeerKAT’s dishes are smaller than the VLA’s, but having more of them puts it in “a sweet spot of sensitivity and resolution,” Camilo says. Its dishes are split into a densely packed core, which boosts sensitivity, and widely dispersed arms, which increase resolution. The VLA can opt for sensitivity or resolution, but not both at once—and only after the slow process of moving its 27 dishes into a different configuration.

    The combination makes MeerKAT ideal for mapping hydrogen, the fuel of star and galaxy formation. Because of a spontaneous transition in the atoms of neutral hydrogen, the gas constantly emits microwaves with a wavelength of 21 centimeters. Stretched to radio frequencies by the expansion of the universe, these photons land in the telescope’s main frequency band. It should have the sensitivity to map the faint signal to greater distances than before, and the resolution to see the gas moving in and around galaxies.

    MeerKAT will also watch for pulsars, dense and rapidly spinning stellar remnants. Their metronomic radio wave pulses serve as precise clocks that help astronomers study gravity in extreme conditions. “By finding new and exotic pulsars, MeerKAT can provide tests of physics,” says Philip Best of the University of Edinburgh. Falcke wants to get a better look at a highly magnetized pulsar discovered in 2013. He hopes it will shed light on the gravitational effects of the leviathan it orbits: the supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way.

    Other SKA precursors are taking shape. The Australian SKA Pathfinder (ASKAP) at the Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory in Western Australia is testing a novel survey technology with its 36 12-meter dishes that could be used in a future phase of the SKA.

    SKA/ASKAP radio telescope at the Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory (MRO) in Mid West region of Western Australia

    Whereas a conventional radio dish has a single-element detector—the equivalent of a single pixel—the ASKAP’s detectors have 188 elements, which should help it quickly map galaxies across large areas of the sky.

    Nearby is the Murchison Widefield Array (MWA), an array of 2048 antennas, each about a meter across, that look like metallic spiders.

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

    Sensitive to lower frequencies than MeerKAT, the MWA can pick up the neutral hydrogen signal from as far back as 500 million years after the big bang, when the first stars and galaxies were lighting up the universe. Astronomers have been chasing the faint signal for years, and earlier this year, one group reported a tentative detection. “We’re really curious to see if it can be replicated,” says MWA Director Melanie Johnston-Hollitt of Curtin University in Perth, Australia.

    If the MWA doesn’t deliver a verdict, the SKA, with 130,000 similar antennas, almost certainly will. Although the MWA may detect the universe lighting up, the SKA intends to map out where it happened.

    The American Association for the Advancement of Science is an international non-profit organization dedicated to advancing science for the benefit of all people.

    See the full article here .


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  • richardmitnick 3:17 pm on May 14, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , SKA, , The next big discovery in astronomy? Scientists probably found it years ago – but they don’t know it yet   

    From The Conversation: “The next big discovery in astronomy? Scientists probably found it years ago – but they don’t know it yet” 

    Conversation
    From The Conversation

    May 14, 2018
    Eileen Meyer

    1
    An artist’s illustration of a black hole “eating” a star. NASA/JPL-Caltech

    Earlier this year, astronomers stumbled upon a fascinating finding: Thousands of black holes likely exist near the center of our galaxy.

    1
    Hundreds — Perhaps Thousands — of Black Holes Occupy the Center of the Milky Way

    The X-ray images that enabled this discovery weren’t from some state-of-the-art new telescope. Nor were they even recently taken – some of the data was collected nearly 20 years ago.

    No, the researchers discovered the black holes by digging through old, long-archived data.

    Discoveries like this will only become more common, as the era of “big data” changes how science is done. Astronomers are gathering an exponentially greater amount of data every day – so much that it will take years to uncover all the hidden signals buried in the archives.

    The evolution of astronomy

    Sixty years ago, the typical astronomer worked largely alone or in a small team. They likely had access to a respectably large ground-based optical telescope at their home institution.

    Their observations were largely confined to optical wavelengths – more or less what the eye can see. That meant they missed signals from a host of astrophysical sources, which can emit non-visible radiation from very low-frequency radio all the way up to high-energy gamma rays. For the most part, if you wanted to do astronomy, you had to be an academic or eccentric rich person with access to a good telescope.

    Old data was stored in the form of photographic plates or published catalogs. But accessing archives from other observatories could be difficult – and it was virtually impossible for amateur astronomers.

    Today, there are observatories that cover the entire electromagnetic spectrum. No longer operated by single institutions, these state-of-the-art observatories are usually launched by space agencies and are often joint efforts involving many countries.

    With the coming of the digital age, almost all data are publicly available shortly after they are obtained. This makes astronomy very democratic – anyone who wants to can reanalyze almost any data set that makes the news. (You too can look at the Chandra data that led to the discovery of thousands of black holes!)

    These observatories generate a staggering amount of data. For example, the Hubble Space Telescope, operating since 1990, has made over 1.3 million observations and transmits around 20 GB of raw data every week, which is impressive for a telescope first designed in the 1970s.

    NASA/ESA Hubble Telescope

    The Atacama Large Millimeter Array in Chile now anticipates adding 2 TB of data to its archives every day.

    ESO/NRAO/NAOJ ALMA Array in Chile in the Atacama at Chajnantor plateau, at 5,000 metres

    Data firehose

    The archives of astronomical data are already impressively large. But things are about to explode.

    Each generation of observatories are usually at least 10 times more sensitive than the previous, either because of improved technology or because the mission is simply larger. Depending on how long a new mission runs, it can detect hundreds of times more astronomical sources than previous missions at that wavelength.

    For example, compare the early EGRET gamma ray observatory, which flew in the 1990s, to NASA’s flagship mission Fermi, which turns 10 this year. EGRET detected only about 190 gamma ray sources in the sky. Fermi has seen over 5,000.

    NASA/Fermi LAT


    NASA/Fermi Gamma Ray Space Telescope

    The Large Synoptic Survey Telescope, an optical telescope currently under construction in Chile, will image the entire sky every few nights. It will be so sensitive that it will generate 10 million alerts per night on new or transient sources, leading to a catalog of over 15 petabytes after 10 years.

    LSST

    LSST Camera, built at SLAC



    LSST telescope, currently under construction on the El Peñón peak at Cerro Pachón Chile, a 2,682-meter-high mountain in Coquimbo Region, in northern Chile, alongside the existing Gemini South and Southern Astrophysical Research Telescopes.

    The Square Kilometre Array , when completed in 2020, will be the most sensitive telescope in the world, capable of detecting airport radar stations of alien civilizations up to 50 light-years away. In just one year of activity, it will generate more data than the entire internet.


    SKA/ASKAP radio telescope at the Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory (MRO) in Mid West region of Western Australia


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


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


    SKA LOFAR core (“superterp”) near Exloo, Netherlands


    These ambitious projects will test scientists’ ability to handle data. Images will need to be automatically processed – meaning that the data will need to be reduced down to a manageable size or transformed into a finished product. The new observatories are pushing the envelope of computational power, requiring facilities capable of processing hundreds of terabytes per day.

    The resulting archives – all publicly searchable – will contain 1 million times more information that what can be stored on your typical 1 TB backup disk.

    Unlocking new science

    The data deluge will make astronomy become a more collaborative and open science than ever before. Thanks to internet archives, robust learning communities and new outreach initiatives, citizens can now participate in science. For example, with the computer program Einstein@Home, anyone can use their computer’s idle time to help search for gravitational waves from colliding black holes.

    It’s an exciting time for scientists, too. Astronomers like myself often study physical phenomena on timescales so wildly beyond the typical human lifetime that watching them in real-time just isn’t going to happen. Events like a typical galaxy merger – which is exactly what it sounds like – can take hundreds of millions of years. All we can capture is a snapshot, like a single still frame from a video of a car accident.

    However, there are some phenomena that occur on shorter timescales, taking just a few decades, years or even seconds. That’s how scientists discovered those thousands of black holes in the new study. It’s also how they recently realized that the X-ray emission from the center of a nearby dwarf galaxy has been fading since first detected in the 1990s. These new discoveries suggest that more will be found in archival data spanning decades.

    In my own work, I use Hubble archives to make movies of “jets,” high-speed plasma ejected in beams from black holes. I used over 400 raw images spanning 13 years to make a movie of the jet in nearby galaxy M87. That movie showed, for the first time, the twisting motions of the plasma, suggesting that the jet has a helical structure.

    This kind of work was only possible because other observers, for other purposes, just happened to capture images of the source I was interested in, back when I was in kindergarten. As astronomical images become larger, higher resolution and ever more sensitive, this kind of research will become the norm.

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    stem

    Stem Education Coalition

    The Conversation US launched as a pilot project in October 2014. It is an independent source of news and views from the academic and research community, delivered direct to the public.
    Our team of professional editors work with university and research institute experts to unlock their knowledge for use by the wider public.
    Access to independent, high quality, authenticated, explanatory journalism underpins a functioning democracy. Our aim is to promote better understanding of current affairs and complex issues. And hopefully allow for a better quality of public discourse and conversation.

     
  • richardmitnick 12:45 pm on April 29, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , Interactive infographic developed by SKAO, New Platform To Showcase SKA’s Major Engineering Progress, , SKA   

    From SKA: “New Platform To Showcase SKA’s Major Engineering Progress” 


    SKA

    27 April 2018

    1
    The interactive infographic developed by SKAO showcases the ongoing Critical Design Reviews (CDRs) – key engineering milestones that assess the readiness levels of the major elements of the SKA. Click on the image in the full blog post or the full article to access the new platform.

    The SKA Organisation is pleased to announce the launch of a new platform highlighting the SKA’s key engineering milestones. The interactive infographic will showcase the ongoing Critical Design Reviews (CDRs), which assess the readiness levels of the major elements of the SKA.

    As well as capturing international teams’ progress towards and beyond their CDRs, the new platform will feature a wide range of news stories, profiles, case studies, photos and videos, providing context on the work that has been done so far.

    All the CDRs will take place in 2018 and early 2019, with reviewers and engineering consortia members meeting at the SKA’s headquarters in the UK to discuss and assess their proposed designs. The first full review, for the Telescope Manager (the set of software that will operate and monitor the telescope), was completed last week.

    The CDR platform is designed to be a central hub for updates, chronicling each major step on the road towards SKA construction and showcasing the technological innovations that are making it possible.

    It will also highlight the expertise and talents of the teams behind that progress.

    Users will get to know key individuals from the SKA Organisation and its partner institutions in the global consortia through detailed profiles that demonstrate how people – not just technology – are crucial to the SKA’s success.

    Scientists will be on hand to explain the significance of reaching each target, and how it relates to the project’s key science goals, from looking at how the very first stars and galaxies formed just after the Big Bang, through to understanding the vast magnetic fields which permeate the cosmos.

    For our industry partners, the platform is a place to highlight their vital contributions to the project, showcasing how their technologies are being used both at this crucial CDR stage and going forward.

    A key characteristic of the site is that its functionalities will increase over time, just like the SKA itself. As the telescope’s design elements are finalised through the CDRs and towards the System CDR, the infographic will grow its content and capabilities in parallel.

    The CDRs represent a global effort by 9 international engineering consortia representing 500 engineers and scientists in 20 countries.

    Since 2013, these nine consortia have been focusing on the main components of the telescope, each essential to the overall success of the project, while three others focus on developing advanced instrumentation for the telescope. The reviews will allow the SKA to fine-tune if needed and then adopt the proposed designs to proceed to construction.

    Last week’s CDR for the Telescope Manager (TM) element of the SKA went well, according to Prof. Yashwant Gupta, Director of the National Centre for Radio Astrophysics of India and Lead of the TM consortium.

    “We’ve had a very good CDR review” said Prof. Gupta after the meeting at SKA headquarters. “The review panel stated that they didn’t find any showstoppers in the overall TM architecture that we’ve presented. I really would like to thank the team members from all the different countries who’ve come together. It’s a really positive take from the entire work over the last several years.”

    “It’s a very good recognition of the work done by the consortium members and by the SKA Office people” added Maurizio Miccolis, SKAO Project Manager for TM.

    Earlier in the year, the reviews for the four sub-elements of the Central Signal Processor (the pulsar search, pulsar timing, and both the Mid and Low correlator and beamformer) also took place, allowing the overall system design work to move forward ahead of the consortium’s final review.

    Watch the first impressions from the Telescope Manager Critical Design Review:

    The new CDR platform will be updated regularly as the process advances, with content also being shared on SKA social media accounts. Keep an eye on updates here: https://cdr.skatelescope.org/

    See the full article here .

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    SKA ASKAP Pathefinder Telescope

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


    SKA Meerkat Telescope

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


    SKA Murchison Wide Field Array
    About SKA

    The Square Kilometre Array will 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.

     
  • richardmitnick 9:47 pm on April 25, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , SKA, SKA precursor upgrade makes telescope 10 times more powerful   

    From SKA: “SKA precursor upgrade makes telescope 10 times more powerful” 


    SKA

    1
    MWA aerial view of the centre of the array. AAVS1, the station of prototype SKA-low antennas, is visible at bottom left. Credit – Curtin University

    24 April 2018

    A major expansion of the Murchison Widefield Array (MWA), one of four SKA precursor telescopes, has been completed, doubling the number of antenna stations at the remote site in Western Australia.

    The addition of 2,048 antennas will make the low-frequency radio telescope ten times more powerful as it seeks to explore the evolution of the Universe. As one of four precursors to the SKA, the MWA provides scientists with invaluable knowledge and carries out scientific study related to future SKA activities. Curtin University, based in Perth, operates the telescope on behalf of a consortium of 21 research institutions.

    MWA Director Prof Melanie Johnston-Hollitt notes that the upgrade will greatly assist scientists in their research. “The telescope is now ten times more powerful and with double the resolution, meaning not only can we explore more of the Universe, but the quality of the images we produce is significantly improved, providing the opportunity for greater scientific discovery,” Prof Johnston-Hollitt said.

    Australia’s Minister for Jobs and Innovation Michaelia Cash attended a celebratory event at Curtin University alongside Prof Johnston-Hollitt, SKA Organisation Director-General Prof Philip Diamond and Chair of the SKA Board of Directors Dr Catherine Cesarsky.

    “The SKA will be the largest and most advanced radio telescope ever constructed and will be used by scientists from around the world to make major discoveries about the universe. Lessons learned in building and operating the MWA are vital to delivering the SKA,” Minister Cash said in a statement. “These projects are also driving the development of new technologies, particularly in the field of big data management. This work is helping to expand Australian businesses and create jobs, in Western Australia and across the country.”

    Read the official press release on the Curtin University website.

    See the full article here .

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    SKA ASKAP Pathefinder Telescope

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


    SKA Meerkat Telescope

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


    SKA Murchison Wide Field Array
    About SKA

    The Square Kilometre Array will 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.

     
  • richardmitnick 3:14 pm on February 28, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , Signs of earliest stars seen from Australia, SKA   

    From CSIRO: “Signs of earliest stars seen from Australia “ 

    CSIRO bloc

    Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation

    01 Mar 2018
    Annabelle Young
    Phone +61 2 9372 4270
    Mobile +61 403 928 102
    Email annabelle.young@csiro.au

    Using a small radio telescope at a CSIRO observatory in Western Australia, US astronomers have detected a signal from the first stars to have emerged in the early universe about 180 million years after the Big Bang.

    1
    Artist’s rendering of how the first stars in the universe may have looked. ©N.R.Fuller, National Science Foundation.

    Inflationary Universe. NASA/WMAP


    A timeline of the universe, updated to show when the first stars emerged. This updated timeline of the universe reflects the recent discovery that the first stars emerged by 180 million years after the Big Bang. The research behind this timeline was conducted by Judd Bowman of Arizona State University and his colleagues, with funding from the National Science Foundation. ©N.R.Fuller, National Science Foundation.

    3
    EDGES ground-based radio spectrometer. In each instrument, sky radiation is collected by a wideband dipole-like antenna consisting of two rectangular metal panels mounted horizontally above a metal ground plane. A receiver with two internal noise comparison sources is installed underneath the ground plane. A balun is used to guide radiation from the antenna panels to the receiver. The EDGES detection required the exceptional radio quietness at the Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory, as Australian national legislation limits the use of radio transmitters within 260 kilometers of the site. This discovery sets the stage for follow-up observations with other powerful low-frequency facilities at the same radio-quiet site, including the forthcoming SKA-low.

    4
    EDGES ground-based radio spectrometer, CSIRO’s Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory in Western Australia. The instrument on its wire mesh ground plane. The bottom panel shows a closer view of the antenna before the extension of the ground plane. The two elevated metal panels form the dipole-based antenna and are supported by fiberglass legs. The balun consists of the two vertical brass tubes in the middle of the antenna. The receiver is located under the white metal support structure. The EDGES detection required the exceptional radio quietness at the Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory, as Australian national legislation limits the use of radio transmitters within 260 kilometers of the site. This discovery sets the stage for follow-up observations with other powerful low-frequency facilities at the same radio-quiet site, including the forthcoming SKA-low.

    The discovery is reported in the journal Nature today.

    After the Big Bang, the universe cooled and went dark for millions of years. In the darkness, gravity pulled matter together until stars formed and burst into life, bringing the ‘cosmic dawn’.

    This new-found signal marks the closest astronomers have seen to that moment.

    “Finding this miniscule signal has opened a new window on the early universe,” lead author Dr Judd Bowman of Arizona State University said.

    Dr Bowman has been running his Experiment to Detect the Global EoR (Epoch of Reionization) Signature (EDGES ) for 12 years. Nine years ago he started doing the observations from CSIRO’s Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory (MRO), after searching for the best place on the planet for this work.

    The radio signal Dr Bowman’s team found was incredibly faint, coming from 13.6 billion years back in the universe’s history.

    It also fell in the region of the spectrum used by FM radio stations, making detection of this weak signal from most Earth-based sites impossible.

    The MRO observatory is in a naturally extremely ‘radio-quiet’ location. This unique characteristic is protected by a legislated ‘radio quiet’ zone up to 260 km across, which keeps human-made activities that produce interfering radio signals to an absolute minimum.

    The MRO’s development was managed by Antony Schinckel, CSIRO’s Head of Square Kilometre Array (SKA) Construction and Planning.

    SKA Square Kilometer Array

    “Finding this signal is an absolute triumph, a triumph made possible by the extreme attention to detail by Judd’s team, combined with the exceptional radio quietness of the CSIRO site,” Mr Schinckel said.

    “We worked hard to select this site for the long-term future of radio astronomy after exhaustive investigations across the country. We believe we have the gold standard in radio quietness, the best site in the world.

    “This is one of the most technically challenging radio astronomy experiments ever attempted. The lead authors include two of the best radio astronomy experimentalists in the world and they have gone to great lengths to design and calibrate their equipment in order to have convincing evidence for a real signal,” Mr Schinckel said.

    Dr Robert Braun, Science Director at the SKA Organisation said “this is a powerful demonstration of what can be achieved with the combination of an excellent site and world-class engineering, boding well for the great discoveries that will be enabled by the SKA.”

    Dr Bowman praised the support he had received from CSIRO.

    “The infrastructure and logistical support that CSIRO has provided for EDGES has enabled our small team to focus on developing the new instrumentation and techniques needed for the experiment.

    “CSIRO’s operations team at the MRO has been phenomenal. They have helped to install the experiment and maintain it between our visits to the site. Their expertise has been invaluable, they helped us learn how to operate in the outback environment.

    “In addition astronomers at the Curtin University node of ICRAR supported the EDGES project by sharing equipment and supplies on site at the MRO,” Dr Bowman said.

    The MRO was developed by CSIRO for its Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder (ASKAP) telescope and also hosts a low-frequency telescope, the Murchison Widefield Array , developed by an international collaboration, led by Curtin University.

    SKA/ASKAP radio telescope at the Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory (MRO) in Mid West region of Western Australia

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

    These telescopes make use of the radio-quiet nature of the site and also are important precursors to the Square Kilometre Array itself. It is now the Australian site for the low-frequency telescope of the future Square Kilometre Array, SKA1 Low.

    CSIRO hosts and manages a wide range of science-ready national research facilities and infrastructure that is used by thousands of Australian and international researchers each year.

    CSIRO acknowledges the Wajarri people as the traditional owners of the Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory site.

    See the full article here .

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    CSIRO campus

    CSIRO, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, is Australia’s national science agency and one of the largest and most diverse research agencies in the world.

     
  • richardmitnick 12:09 pm on February 6, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , SKA, SKA prototype dish assembled for the first time   

    From SKA: “SKA prototype dish assembled for the first time” 


    SKA

    2.6.18

    Contact:
    William Garnier
    Director of Communications, Outreach & Education
    SKA Organisation
    +44 161 306 9613
    +44 7814 908 932
    w.garnier@skatelescope.org

    1
    The fully assembled SKA dish prototype – SKA-P – at the CETC54 assembly workshop in Shijiazhuang, China. Credit: SKA Organisation

    The first fully assembled SKA dish was unveiled today at a ceremony in Shijiazhuang, China, by the Vice Minister of the Chinese Ministry of Science and Technology, in the presence of representatives from the countries involved and the SKA Organisation. The dish is one of two final prototypes that will be tested ahead of production of an early array.

    In a major milestone for the SKA Project, the 54th Institute of China Electronics Technology Group Corporation (CETC54) has completed the structural assembly of the first SKA dish, bringing together components from China, Germany, and Italy.

    The state-of-the-art 15-metre diameter dish was unveiled today at a ceremony in Shijiazhuang, China, hosted by the SKA Organisation and the SKA China Office and organised by the Joint Laboratory for Radio Astronomy Technology (JLRAT) and the SKA Dish consortium, supported by the Chinese Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST), the Chinese Academy of Sciences, the National Natural Science Foundation of China and the CETC group.

    “This is a major achievement by all the partners involved” said Prof. Philip Diamond, Director-General of the SKA Organisation, which is overseeing the project. “After many years of intense design effort, we have an actual SKA dish, built by an international collaboration between China, Germany and Italy that is very much representative of the global nature of the SKA project.”

    “Our Chinese partners are extremely well resourced. They’ve demonstrated that they have the technology and capability to construct a telescope with the specifications that the SKA requires”, adds Mark Harman, SKA Organisation Project Manager for the Dish consortium

    An international effort across 18 time zones

    This year will see the culmination of a 3-year effort by an international consortium that includes institutions in China acting as the consortium lead, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, South Africa, Spain, the United Kingdom and Sweden, overseen by the SKA Organisation.

    Across 18 time zones, extensive work has taken place to reach this point as the various teams around the world work towards building a fully functional SKA dish prototype.

    CETC54 has been leading the design and production of the prototype dish, in particular the production of its highly precise main reflector, sub-reflector, backup structure, and pedestal.

    “This is a mature method developed by CETC54. Applied to the SKA dish, it allows us to achieve and maintain the dish surface to a very precise surface-accuracy level as well as consistency for all panels”, said Wang Feng from the Joint Laboratory for Radio Astronomy Technology (JLRAT), recently appointed SKA Dish Consortium Lead.

    In Mainz, Germany, MT Mechatronics (MTM) have been designing and manufacturing the precise hardware and electronics – such as the Drive Units and Electronics – used to move the dish.

    “We’ve been entrusted with demonstrating precision engineering in order to move the telescopes with up to a thousandth of a degree accuracy, as well as reliability to produce over 130 such systems behaving equally well.” comments Lutz Stenvers, Managing Director from MTM and SKA Dish Structure Lead Engineer.

    In Italy, near Naples, the Società Aerospaziale Mediterranea (SAM) has been working on the design and production of the feed indexer, an electro-mechanical component that will support the various receivers and move them into position to align them with the optics of the dish when required, depending on the observations.

    “The feed indexer is a very innovative part of the dish, the first of its kind. We’ve got stringent requirements, as the indexer needs to move with high accuracy to position the receivers with sub-millimetric precision, and it also needs to be able to sustain heavy loads, with for example the Band 1 receiver alone weighing 165kg” explains Renato Aurigemma, the SAM team coordinator.

    Today, for the first time, all these components came together at CETC54’s assembly workshop to test how the structure as a whole behaves.

    “We will be putting the dish through its paces to see how it responds to different commands and whether it performs as expected” adds Wang Feng. “This will allow us to spot any discrepancies and fine tune the design if needed. The next step will be to test it on site with its instrumentation.”

    A second dish, currently under production at CETC54 and funded by the German Max Planck Society, will be shipped to South Africa and assembled at the South African SKA site in the next few months where it will be equipped with its instrumentation and used to conduct real observations for the first time to test its performance and calibrate all the systems.

    Instrumentation & control

    Onsala Space Observatory at Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden, EMSS Antennas in Stellenbosch, South Africa, and Oxford University and the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) in the United Kingdom have been working on the various receivers that will be fitted on this second dish, covering a broad frequency range from 350 MHz to 15.3 GHz.

    Additional institutes involved include the Italian National Institute for Astrophysics (INAF), who are developing the software to monitor, coordinate and control the Dish subsystems. A group of engineers at the National Research Council (NRC) Canada, are developing the hardware that digitises the signals recorded with each of the five receivers while The University of Bordeaux, France contributes their expertise to digitise high frequency signals. SKA South Africa has been leading the System Engineering, which played a key role in coordinating the consortium.

    Early Production

    The SKA prototype dish unveiled today is being delivered as part of the consortium’s critical design review – the final stage of design work before construction. It and the Max-Planck funded dish, are the final precursors to a further series of up to six SKA dishes that will form an Early Production Array (EPA), expected to be built on site from 2019 under the leadership of the SKA Organisation.

    The EPA will be used to demonstrate a working array, allowing engineers to spot any further design or production issues ahead of full-scale production. Additionally, it will for the first time provide an opportunity to integrate dishes with prototypes of other critical SKA elements provided by their respective design institutions such as the Signal and Data network, the Central Signal Processor where the signals from all dishes are correlated, the Science Data Processor (the imaging software) and the Telescope Manager software used to send commands to the dishes and monitor their status.

    “The EPA will allow us not only to bring production and construction forward but it will also allow us to test how key SKA components work together on the field. In essence, it’s bringing the various pieces of this puzzle together to see if they match and produce the image that we expect” concludes Joe McMullin, recently appointed as SKA Programme Director.

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.
    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition


    SKA ASKAP Pathefinder Telescope

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


    SKA Meerkat Telescope

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


    SKA Murchison Wide Field Array
    About SKA

    The Square Kilometre Array will 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.

     
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