The newly constituted Square Kilometre Array Observatory (SKAO) Council has approved for the establishment of the world’s largest radio telescope. The telescope will enable astronomers to monitor the sky in unprecedented detail and survey the entire sky much faster than any system currently in existence. To look into some of the unexplored areas of the universe and seek answers about its history and evolution, study fundamental physics in extreme environments and know about galaxies over cosmic time.
What are radio telescopes?
Radio telescopes, unlike optical telescopes, can detect invisible gas and can reveal areas of space that may be obscured by cosmic dust.
Where will be the world’s largest radio telescope located?
- The SKAO telescope will be an array of antennas located in two continents, i.e. Africa and Australia.
- The operation, maintenance and construction of the telescope will be overseen by SKAO.
- The development of the telescope is expected to take nearly a decade at a cost of over £1.8 billion.
What is SKAO?
- SKAO is a new intergovernmental organisation dedicated to radio astronomy.
- The headquartered of SKAO is based in the United Kingdom
- Currently organisations from ten countries are a part of the SKAO, which include Australia, Canada, China, India, Italy, New Zealand, South Africa, Sweden, the Netherlands and the UK.
- French-born Dr Catherine Cesarsky has been appointed as the first Chair of the SKAO Council.
- The Indian contingent of over 20 institutions will be lead by Pune-based National Centre for Radio Astrophysics (NCRA) of TIFR.