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Square Kilometre Array

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The Office of Science plays a key leadership role in coordinating the Western Australian Government's involvement in the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) project and maximising the benefits to the State.

About the SKA

The Square Kilometre Array (SKA) is an international endeavour to build the world's largest and most sensitive radio telescope. The SKA will provide a great leap in sensitivity, resolution and survey speed compared to existing radio telescope, enabling it to revolutionise our understanding of the universe. 

The international SKA Organisation has 10 member countries, with even more countries participating in the SKA design effort. The SKA will be hosted in Australia and South Africa.

For more information, visit the international Square Kilometre Array Organisation website.

The SKA in Western Australia

The Australian component of the SKA will be centred on and around the Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory in the State's Mid West region.  Australia will host the SKA1-Low telescope, the low frequency component of the SKA project.

SKA1-Low will comprise over 100,000 dipole antennas shaped like wireframe Christmas trees.  Ongoing work to finalise the design and technology needed for SKA1-Low is underway, with construction scheduled to commence in 2018.

 

Impression of SKA1-Low in Australia

Credit: Swinburne Astronomy Productions/ICRAR.U. Cambridge/ASTRON.

 

For more information about the SKA project in Australia, visit the Australian Square Array Office website.

Benefits to Western Australia

Co-hosting the SKA is expected to enhance the State's science reputation, provide Western Australian scientists and industry with international collaboration opportunities, and inspire the next generation of scientists. The project could also catalyse new technologies, in the same way that the technology underpinning Wi-Fi wireless internet was originally developed by CSIRO for radio astronomy.

The SKA's unprecedented data processing requirements will require new techniques in the big data and supercomputing sector. Hosting the SKA is anticipated to place Western Australia in a position of advantage in relation to the global big data industry, with applications across a broad range of industries, including oil and gas and mineral resources.