The SKA Telescope   34 comments

The Square Kilometre Array

Out of the Darkness, Into the Light


Astronomy allows us to see back in time because the light waves from distant stars and galaxies that reach our current telescopes take a long time to do so and what we see is from a very distant past. SKA (the Square Kilometre Array) will be the most powerful radio telescope we have built, and will see back to when the first galaxies and stars formed, and will make pictures from radio waves rather than seeing light waves. This will allow objects to be discovered that would otherwise remain invisible and impossible to know of.

Expected to collect more data in one week clip_image003than previous attempts have done in the whole of history it will have the means to survey the sky 100,000 times+ faster than ever before. By the time construction of the array is completed it will include 4,400 dish antennae and flat arrays, 2,200 of which will be situated in the central 5km-wide core area. Thousands of remaining arrays will be grouped together in “stations” spanning 3,000 km (size of a continent) from the core.


The SKA Array will likely be based in South Africa or Australia; a decision will be made in 2012. If Australia was to be chosen SKA would spread right across the mainland, into Tasmania and New Zealand.

International project, also including several European countries, which will revolutionise our understanding in several areas of physics, including general relativity, (how gravity bends spacetime) planet formation, understanding magnetic fields, and cosmology. One of the most important projects will involve measuring the nature of dark energy which it is thought makes up 73% of the universe, because of the vast expanses SKA will be able to survey.clip_image009

May provide answers to fundamental questions about nature, origin and evolution of universe.

The SKA will be able to detect extremely weak extra-terrestrial signals and may even spot other planets capable of supporting life. Astrobiologists will use SKA to search for amino acids, the building blocks of life by identifying spectral lines at specific frequencies. The SKA array is sensitive enough to be able to detect similar types of radiation to that emitted from our TV broadcasts, radar, and mobile phones. If there proved to be an advanced alien race existing somewhere out in the universe contact could occur by such means. By 2024 the construction will be complete and the fun will begin!

34 responses to “The SKA Telescope

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  1. i dont want to meet an alien so i think im safe but who knows one day this earth maybe visitted your very into the cosmos icey hey i always knew you were a pretty wolfy wont stop andro biting lol pretty meat sweeter have a lovely week enjoy the summer if it comes back xxjen

    • Oh…pretty meat’s sweeter is it?! lol Right…Icy off to make herself as ghastly and ugly as possible then! A good dousing in extra strong garlic and a good hearty chew on the stash of garlic bones should be enough to ensure NObody wants to bite Icy ever again! lol 🙂

  2. I expect I’ll be a little speck in the heavens myself by the time all these wonderful things come about Wolfie. pity, as I do find the idea of looking through space both backwards and forwards quite fascinating. I am sceptical of other forms of life that will be remotely understandable to us, and right or wrong I may be, but I think that the idea of sending these capsules with messages of ‘ greetings from earth ‘ are quite frankly pie in the sky and a bit far fetched,. but that’s only my opinion, and who am I after all to dare to question the reason of the great and good of Astronomy [t.i.c.]

    • You are “sceptical of other forms of life that will be remotely understandable to us”Arlene?!! lol… what about Wolfie then?!!! Hailing all the way from icy Europa!! Don’t tell me with all your K9 expertise you don’t have an amazing understanding of every single melodic howl emitted by this Icewolfie? 😉 Tango does! 🙂

      • I will have a tete a tete with Tango and ask him to translate your howls Wolfie, though I’m sure if aliens were of the K9 persuasion I could accept and understand them, but seriously, I think it’s all a bit airy fairy, there may be ‘life’ but to think they will anything close to replicating humans, |IMO a big NO !

      • Tango is a great translator Arlene! You want to hear some of the things he translates for me when he’s not busy keeping an eye on you and Ruby 😉 lol… Must admit I’d be a bit worried if there were aliens of humanoid orientation out there… we’re quite enough trouble on our own!! 🙂

  3. The idea of looking into the past is a weird and thought-provoking one.
    Hope the array goes to South Africa – they could do with the investment.
    By the way – you were the 1600th comment on my blog. Thanks.

    • I am honoured to be the 16000th comment on your blog! How cool!
      Seeing the past in the eyes of the present is a fascinating concept…and one that reflects the joy of discovery that the world of astronomy offers 🙂

  4. Interesting, Maybe they should point their antenna closer to home, for I think we already have some Aliens present upon this Earth Realm Ice-Wolfie, and they don’t all come from another planet LOL.. But interesting article in that they spend so much on seeing what’s ‘Out There’ when we need to do so much on here ‘Earth’… We shall maybe need the Aliens to mount a rescue.. lol… and ‘THEY’ do exist and THEY are out there WATCHING us.. and THEY know already what a Mess we made of this planet… You will see soon Wolfie more in the news on UFO’s as Gov’ have sat on much info and Kept lots hidden, but soon very soon its going to surface that they Hey, wonder of wonders, you know what? After all this time they will admit WE are NOT alone.. Have a great week and wooohoo hooowwlll howl for this Moon out which is Full tomorrow Wolfie is going to herald in new changes also… Dreamy Dreams…… 🙂

    • Interesting comment Dreamwalker…yes we are making a mess of this planet without any doubt. But if we can get to grips with some of the fundamental questions about the universe perhaps we will also understand more about our world and learn to respect it somewhat more than we do now. There is so much we do not understand about “out there” and many unanswered questions which may hold the key to our missing knowledge how can we afford NOT to pursue the answers if we can? SKA will not only be looking for signs of Extra Terrestrial Life but also for regions in space where “Pulsars” are orbiting “Black holes”, the question being does the combination of these two gravitational giants result in the breaking down of Einstein’s Theory of Relativity – explains how gravity bends spacetime. By studying the movement and distribution of billions of galaxies at the edge of the galaxy SKA may also be able to reveal the secrets of the much talkied about “dark energy”. 73% of the galaxy consists of this mysterious stuff!… Dreamy Walks 🙂

  5. This is very exciting indeed Icywolfy of the Icy Realm and in just thirteen years time we will see just what is beyond our
    now strongest of telescopes, this new and extraordinarily improved version will certainly add fuel to everyone’s thoughts
    on Space and the unidentified boundaries that up until this new development was just impossible to achieve… I hope that
    you are thinking of adding more of these fangtastic postings Icywolfy as the world of knowledge is something that we can
    all take advantage of…

    Thank you for your well received in depth look at ‘The Square Kilometre Array’, it has been a magnificently fine read our
    great friend and thank you for sharing your thoughts with us…

    Androgoth XXx

    • Ghoulish icewolfie greetings Androgoth 🙂 Let’s hope 13 years will be long enough…SKA will use “interferometry” (combining light and radio waves to produce high res’ images) to reproduce the the power of a single telescope with a huge one kilometre collecting area and would be pretty much impossible to build…today’s computers wouldn’t be powerful enough to cope with the massive influx of data SKA will generate…at least 10 x more than the whole of the current internet is capable of. The hope is, that by the time SKA is launched, “Moores Law” will save the day, in that it predicts that computer power doubles every 18 months…paws crossed!

  6. The science technology behind this I do not understand, but the inspiring significance of this is exciting. I looked at the photos on Skydrive of the slide, they are sooooo cool. Wonder of wonders, Icewolfie!!! Can’t wait to see what we may find up there.
    10 x’s what the current Internet is capable of….wrapping my mind around that…
    We are but tiny drops in a vast sea!
    You are a scientific Alpha Female Wolf …indeed!!!
    Warm feathery Rx

    • Hi Raven, I was rather hoping you would be flying high above that vast sea you mention! Wouldn’t like to think your feathers were soggy and ruffled 😉 Pleased to know the skydrive photos were of some interest. Personally I don’t always find it very easy to get those slideshows working, but that’s probably my connection again. I have to agree with you, 10x’s what the current internet is capable of is pretty mind bending! Hope Moores Law lives up to expectations when the time comes or we might never know what’s up there! Icewolfie hugs x 🙂

  7. will the real aliens please stand up! often felt alien myself…or perhaps it was alienated
    however, this IS an interesting event; massive ears will be tuned to the cosmos for sounds of life

    maybe then they will began to hear echos of humanities distant past

    Thanks for the timely collective of curious information Wolfie

  8. are you doing a uni in this subject icey you certainly know a lot hope icey is behaving and not out hunting malefriday night revellers if you are hope you sharpened your teeth give them a nasty nip if they misbehave xxjen

    • Is Icy not always behaving? lol 😉 Actually going out to hunt wasn’t necessary this Friday night as the male came to me! No…not the way you’re thinking you wicked wicked little vampy!!! My teeth were positivly gleaming at around midnight when he felt the need to attempt the up close and personal bit 😉 A nasty nip indeed was dished out!! It would have impressed even a seasoned vampy’s biting skills!!

  9. Hey Wolfie .. Have not seen you in a long time now .. miss you ..
    Have a nice week Hugs Nicki / Night Lady

    • Hej Nicki, Jag missade dig också … Jag hade alltför många olika platser att besöka.
      Du gillade Webs jag gillade WordPress …
      Jag trodde inte att du skulle märka om jag inte besöka Webs.
      Du hade många vänner där.
      Men din e sa att du var tillbaka på WordPress:)
      Jag är mycket glad över att ha min mycket kära vän tillbaka!
      Välkommen hem Nicki:))
      Stora kramar … Wolfie:)

      • Hej Igen Wolfie..
        Jodå jag gillar webs men webs är ingen blogg det är en hemsida..
        Men så lite folk kom dit då blev sidan tråkig..
        Men jag togt inte bort den för att det var lite besök jag tog bort den för dom tog bort utrymme från sidan,,
        Vi fick ha 20 sidor på webs men nu sa dom vi fick bara ha 8 sidor 😦
        Då är webs inte längre bra..Kanske kommer Night Lady till blogger / Blogspot sen..
        Nicki stannar på wordpress och på twitter,, Kram på dig / Nicki

    • Dåliga nyheter för “Webs” .. bra för WordPress!
      Bra att ha dig tillbaka min söta vän från Sverige:)

  10. Greetings Wolfie, With the Allen dish array closing in Northern Cali because of funding problems; this project will help those with a need to know find hope with a possible discovery of life elsewhere. Enjoyed your blog. May you enjoy every day!

    • HooOOOOOWWwwwwwLLLLLLLooooooo 4 1 Love! …. where there is life there is hope! So we watch and we wait 🙂 Much blog-hopping catch-ups to be done on the part of Wolfie…lol…so hope to see you on yours very soon! Have a great day too 🙂

  11. Hi Wolfie – very interest post as always.
    I guess they will be able to spot you no trouble – what with your amazing amino acids and such.
    Anyway, syncronicity of a sort – a phrase sprang to my mind just before coming here. When I asked for a GST receipt for the cancelled stay at the hotel the desk clerk looked at me like “I was a Martian asking to pee in her pocket”. And, then there was all this alien stuff. Perhaps the bubbles from last night are still in my system – lol.

    • Yo Pat! Welcome back to the Icy Realm my good friend of the land of a billion sheep!”!!;)
      You’re right of course, no trouble spotting an Icewolf…lol…we glow in the dark!
      Don’t go bursting the bubbles in your system will you?…lol…”like ‘I was a Martian asking to pee in her pocket’ Love it!! 🙂

  12. This sounds fantastic, hopefully it will actually get built

    • Welcome back! Your return visit is most appreciated, as is your interest.
      I think it will get built but can’t help wondering whether we will be able to build a powerful enough computer system to cope with it, in time…the challenges of the future! 🙂

  13. For some reason your posts have stopped showing up in my Reader. Hopefully re-subscribing will cure the problem. excellent post here, Wolfie!

    • Oh dear!! Hope that did solve the problem…there have been a lot of glitches kicking around recently of varying natures since W/P upgraded the site…teething prob’s I guess, soon be back to normal hopefully 🙂 Thanks for the visit, shows true dedication to find your way here in no-show in reader circumstances! I am honoured 🙂 And welcome back! Your were missed…the buckly shiny jacket you so like to wear was starting to go out-of-shape from lack of use!…but I am sure it will be fine now you are back and undoubtedly putting it to very good and regular use!!

  14. Hi Europa 🙂

    Sound great..Before reading your post, I thought that this is Solar power project 🙂

    Very good, The SKA Telescope will bring us new information on cosmos..

    2024..Still long way to go.. The question now is who will win the bid South Africa or Australia? 🙂

  15. HoooOOOOOWWWWWLLLLLoooooooo Mundhir 🙂
    Very good of you to flyby on your Solar Sail lol your expert and knowledgable views and thoughts on these Icy-Realm cosmic posts are always very welcome By 2024 you might just be working on SKA yourself!! Anything is possible…so long as we have “Clear Skies!” lol 😉
    Got the impression that S Africa are the most likely candidates to win the bid…but time…and clear skies 😉 will tell!

  16. Hej Wolfie…
    Nu finns jag också på blogspot men jag har problem med profilen där jag blir galen..Blogspot är okay men dom krånglar och gör problem av småsaker…Kram Nicki

    • Hej Nicki:)
      Jag vet hur du känner för bloggare
      Sammantaget tror jag det är mycket bra
      men ja … det verkar ha problem …
      som att inte kunna se dina anhängare …
      som har hänt flera gånger
      och blockerar dem vid denna tid också.
      Mycket irriterande!
      Kram Wolfie

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