Paris, 5 February 2021. – One in Australia, the other one in South Africa: The UK-based observatory organization SKAO launched “a new era for radio astronomy”, building and operating “the two largest and most complex radio telescope networks ever conceived to address fundamental questions about our universe”, SKAO said.
The organization headquartered on UNESCO’s World Heritage Site Jodrell Bank in Manchester is building one super large telescope in South Africa, composed of 197 dishes of 15 metres diameter (64 of which already exist), and another one in Australia, composed of a stunning 131,072 two-metre-tall antennas located on the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation’s (CSIRO) Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory, SKAO said.
SKAO sees itself as “the world’s second intergovernmental organisation to be dedicated to astronomy”.
The creation of SKAO follows a decade of detailed work under the supervision of its predecessor, the SKA Organisation, SKAO said, supported by more than 500 engineers, over 1,000 scientists and dozens of policy-makers in more than 20 countries. It is “the result of 30 years of thinking and research and development since discussions first took place about developing a next-generation radio telescope”.