The Cosmic Savannah: S5E61 - Part 1 - SKAO Construction Commencement Ceremony South Africa
Dan

Welcome to the Cosmic Savannah with Dr. Daniel Cunnama

Jacinta

And Dr. Jacinta Delhaiz. Each episode we'll be giving you a behind the scenes look at world class astronomy and astrophysics happening under African skies.

Dan

Let us introduce you to the people involved, the technology we use, the exciting work we do, and the fascinating discoveries we make.

Jacinta

Sit back and relax as we take you on a safari through the skies.

Dan

Welcome to today's episode. So, a little bit belated this episode, so it's going to be a little bit of a flashback, but we are going to be talking about the commencement of construction ceremony for the Square Kilometre Array, which we both attended.

Jacinta

Yeah, so this is our long promised episode, which we are finally publishing.

Since we're in season five, maybe we've got some listeners who are not so familiar, but we'll start from the beginning. So, the Square Kilometre Array. Observatory, the SKAO is, it's basically going to be a massive radio telescope splitting into two different sites, partly built in Southern Africa, partly built in Western Australia, where I'm from, and the headquarters are in the UK.

So this is a massive international collaboration of many countries that the current partner countries are South Africa, Australia, UK, China, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland, and with more to come, massive international project. One of the biggest in the world.

Dan

Yeah. Very exciting and it'll be completed probably in the next five or 10 years, there have been a couple of precursor telescopes already built in South Africa, the MeerKAT radio telescope, which you may have heard, about a 64 dish array and the most powerful radio telescope in the world right now. And that was completed in 2018 and has been operating very well with some awesome discoveries so far.

In Australia, there were also precursor telescopes built the ASCAP array and the Murchison Widefield Array, and then those telescopes will be incorporated into the larger SKA, which is currently under construction. So that's where we are.

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