Square Kilometre Array Observatory Plans to Build World’s Biggest Telescope Pushing the Global Telescope Market

  • Analysis
  • 26-February-2021

The world is slowly entering a stage where large telescopes will work together to try their hand at solving mysteries that have troubled the universe for centuries. As a big step in the industry's advancement, Square Kilometre Array Observatory (SKA) held a council meeting. After that, it declared that it would contribute efforts towards building the biggest telescope on Earth in the coming decade. This telescope will be the first of its kind and will comprise a vast formation of radio receivers.

This development may bring a positive light to the Telescope Market as this technology will have the ability to answer fundamental astrophysics questions that befuddle the world today. Such as how did the first stars come to shine in the universe? And basic questions like Are we alone in this universe? SKA is expected to have unprecedented sensitivity that would be able to pick up any extra-terrestrial transmissions.

The international treaty that supports the new observatory recently came into force, and subsequently, its first council meeting was held online. It was unanimously decided that this project which has been in a row for 30 years, will be the first to be pushed forward. Regarding this, the council has passed a series of regulations, procedures, and policies that will make this observatory brought up in reality. SKA’s construction and operation expenditure is expected to reach €2 Billion.

Council’s next step would be to build the telescope, and tenders are going to go up in July, with ceremonies to be held around the end of the year. The telescope will integrate a combination of parabolic antennas (dishes) and dipole antennas which look like traditional TV aerials. The objective is to construct a useful collecting area that would measure thousands of square meters. If engineering sensitivity is accomplished, the telescope will have the power to perceive even very faint signals which may come from cosmic sources billions of light-years far from the planet. Moreover, this ability would also include those signals that were released as and galaxies started to form.

The council meeting was attended by countries that took the initiative to ratify the SKA treaty, i.e., South Africa and Australia (host nations), the United Kingdom (headquarters of the organization), the Netherlands, and Portugal. Representatives from Canada, Japan, France, South Korea, Switzerland, China, and Sweden were also present as observers since they haven’t completed the process of ratification in their own countries.
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