“Square Kilometre Array” (SKA) Project

What is the News?
 The Square Kilometre Array Observatory (SKAO) Council held its first meeting recently. In that, the member countries approved the establishment of Square Kilometre Array (SKA).


 Square Kilometre Array (SKA) Project:

  • It is an international effort to build the world’s largest radio telescope. It is not a single telescope. It consists of an array of antennas strategically designed and set up in South Africa and Australia.
    • South Africa – host high and mid-frequency dish antennas
    • Australia – Low-frequency antennas.
  • Aim: To allow astronomers to look deeper into the universe and unravel secrets about its evolution.
  • Goals:
    • To study the universe and its evolution, origin and evolution of cosmic magnetism and dark energy and evolution of galaxies.
    • To detect very weak extra-terrestrial signals and search for molecules that support life.
  • Member Countries: South Africa, Australia, UK, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Japan, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, South Korea, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.
    • Note: India’s SKA membership is currently under review with India’s Department of Atomic Energy(DAE) and Department of Science and Technology (DST) and is expected to be completed sometime this year.
  • What is Square Kilometre Array Observatory (SKAO)?
    • SKAO is a new intergovernmental organisation dedicated to radio astronomy
    • The operation, maintenance and construction of SKA will be overseen by Square Kilometre Array Observatory (SKAO).
    • Headquarters:  The SKAO is headquartered in the UK.
  • India’s Participation: India is participating in the project through the DAE and the DST.

Apart from that, the Pune-based TIFR-National Centre for Radio Astrophysics leads a team of researchers from different Indian institutes.

  • India’s Contributions:
    • The Indian team was among the first to submit and get the design approval of a highly sophisticated Telescope Manager (TM). The TM is also nicknamed as the “nervous system” of the SKA observatory.
    • The Indian team has been chosen to lead the construction of the TM system which will be responsible for end-to-end operations of SKAO.
    • India will also contribute towards building digital hardware for the SKA low-frequency receiver systems. India also builds the digital hardware of some parts of the mid-frequency telescopes in SKA. Apart from that, India is also producing some parts of the data processing units.

Source: Indian Express

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