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They started building the world’s largest radio telescope

They started building the world’s largest radio telescope

Dec 6, 2022 – 10:20 a.m

After thirty years of planning, construction of the Square Kilometer Array (SKA) telescope in Australia and South Africa has finally begun, BBC News reports. The low-frequency segment of the giant telescope will be the first, and the medium-frequency segment in the country will be the last. The project was covered by eight countries, representatives of each of which attended the opening ceremonies.

SKA is one of the most important science projects of the 21st century, and it will be the largest radio telescope in the world when it is built in 2028. It will deal with the biggest questions of astrophysics. It will thoroughly test Einstein’s theories and even search for extraterrestrials.

“This is the moment when everything becomes real,” said Phil Diamond, general manager of the Square Kilometer Matrix. It was a 30-year process. The first ten years were all about developing concepts and ideas. The second ten years were spent on technology development. Then the last decade was about detailed planning, securing sites, negotiating with countries, as well as getting the right financial support.”

Photo: Issa Alexander/Reuters

The telescope will initially consist of just under 200 parabolic antennas and 131,000 dipole antennas. The system will operate in the frequency range from 50MHz to 25GHz. In terms of wavelength, this ranges from centimeters to metres.

This allows the telescope to detect faint radio signals from sources billions of light-years away from Earth, including those emitted in the first few hundred million years after the Big Bang. One of SKA’s most important tasks will be to trace the entire history of hydrogen.

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