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When it is complete, the MeerKAT array in South Africa’s Karoo region will include 64 antenna dishes, making it the largest and most sensitive radio telescope in the southern hemisphere. As a forerunner to the Square Kilometre Array (SKA), slated for completion in 2024, MeerKAT will be used by scientists worldwide on a range of research projects, including observing neutral hydrogen gas and molecular hydrogen levels in the early universe; the physics of enigmatic neutron stars; and the nature and behavior of pulsars, dark matter, and the cosmic web… (more)

South Africa is joining Astron, the Netherlands Institute for Radio Astronomy, and IBM in a four-year collaboration to research extremely fast, but low-power exascale computer systems aimed at developing advanced technologies for handling the massive amount of data that will be produced by the SKA which constitutes the ultimate Big Data challenge… (more)

The SKA SA project supports science and engineering students and researchers around the country for work related to MeerKAT and SKA challenges. A group is working at the University of Cape Town.  Bradley Frank, Prof. Erwin de Blok and Moses Mogotsi… (more)

South Africa recently heard the news that it is getting the lion’s share of the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) project. This is great news for South Africa and its partner countries but what is the future of fracking in the Karoo and how will it impact on the SKA project. After nine-years of sweat and tears by the South African and Australian SKA site bid teams, the independent SKA Site Advisory Committee (SSAC), composed of world-renowned experts, carried out an objective technical and scientific assessment of the sites in South Africa and Australia, and by consensus identified Africa as the preferred site… (more)

After nine years of sweat and tears by the South African and Australian SKA site bid teams, the independent SKA Site Advisory Committee (SSAC), composed of world-renowned experts, carried out an objective technical and scientific assessment of the sites in South Africa and Australia, and by consensus identified Africa as the preferred site. But their recommendation was overturned by the SKA Organisation after complaints by the Australians… (more)

South Africa’s new Astronomy Geographic Advantage Act protects 12,5-million hectares in the Northern Cape as a radio astronomy reserve to ensure the future of radio astronomy in the region. The question is – how will it affect people living in the area? Will they still have acces to TV, radio, cellphones and to the internet? According to Adrian Tiplady, Square Kilometre Arra (SKA) site characterisation manager, great efforts are being made to ensure that people in the area will have access to telecommunications and broadcasting, with full co-operation from the various role-players… (more)

Potential for SADC to tap into space technology – NASA takes another step in the development of SLS… (more)

Tellumat has invested in creating locally developed innovative solutions that will form key elements of the current MeerKAT and hopefully the future Square Kilometre Array (SKA) project. The company has been responsible for the electronic receiver design for the KAT-7 project which was the precursor to the current MeerKAT project. The one element of the full electronic receiver chain that was imported from an international supplier was the cryogenic low noise amplifier… (more)

New galaxy found?
SA to assist Mozambique in building a telescope
Office of astronomy for development opens in Cape Town
Collision of neutron stars can generate gamma-ray bursts
DUT and University of Mauritius in joint astronomy project
New stamp series recognises SA’s space programme

 A radio telescope, such as the SKA, is an extremely sensitive radio receiver in order to detect the extremely faint radio signals that have traversed the universe for billions of years. This means that any terrestrial source of radio frequency interference has the potential to destroy radio astronomy observations.The introduction of new mining and exploration activity by Shell would not be able to comply with the protection requirements of radio astronomy without very careful and detailed analysis. And even after this analysis, the chances don’t look good for compliance. My advice? Just stay away from the SKA… (more)

SKA takes steps crucial for realisation of world’s biggest radio telescope project

Destination Mercury

What’s hitting Earth?

STS133 woken up with a song

Suzaku shows clearest picture yet of Perseus galaxy cluster

A satellite that missed its “birth date”
Are TGFs dangerous?
What lurks behind thunder clouds?
More data capacity
Grid power to the Meerkat site
NASA research team reveals that the moon has earth-like core
SKA precursor to Meerkat on stream

One of the important criteria in the decision of where the SKA will finally be built is how radio frequency interference-free the area is. Will it be South Africa or Australia? (more)

The latest in space technology – just click on each link:

Click on these links for the latest  in space technology:

New room-mate for ISS astronauts

Science fiction becoming reality?

SKA – youth involvement

More sun mysteries

Leading South African and international astronomers recently met with representatives from governments and funding agencies from around the world. The SKA Forum was the highlight of two weeks of specialist meetings that focused on the design, construction and science goals of this mega-science instrument… (more)

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