Astronomy Now Home
Home Magazine Resources Store

On Sale Now!

The October 2014 issue of Astronomy Now is on sale! Order direct from our store (free 1st class post & to UK addresses). Astronomy Now is the only astronomy magazine specially designed to be read on tablets and phones. Download the app from Google Play Store or the Apple App Store.

Top Stories

Earthshine used to test life detection method
...By imagining the Earth as an exoplanet, scientists observing our planet's reflected light on the Moon with ESO's Very Large Telescope have demonstrated a way to detect life on other worlds...

Solid buckyballs discovered in space
...Astronomers using NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope have detected a particular type of molecule, given the nickname “buckyball”, in a solid form for the first time...

Steamy water-world gets the Hubble treatment
...Hubble Space Telescope observations of a 7 Earth-mass planet find an unusual water-rich world swathed in a thick, steamy atmosphere...

Square Kilometre Array: site selection due imminently
Posted: 27 March 2012

Bookmark and Share

The next generation of radio telescope, the Square Kilometre Array (SKA), will be hosted by either South Africa or Australia and New Zealand, a decision that is due in around two weeks time.

“We are undergoing a revolution in radio astronomy,” said keynote speaker Michael Kramer from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy and the University of Manchester’s Jodrell Bank during the National Astronomy Meeting 2012’s opening lecture this morning. “We are on the verge of confirming some of the most revolutionary theories of the last century and we need big machines to do that!”

Around 3,000 dishes will make up the Square Kilometre Array. Image: SPDO/Swinburne Astronomy Productions.

The SKA will be able to answer wide-ranging questions covering the Universe’s early structure, dark matter, galaxy formation, pulsars, gravitational waves, cosmic magnetism, black holes and the detection of organic molecules in protoplanetary discs – possibly even life beyond Earth.

The array, as its name suggests, will create a telescope with a collecting area equivalent to a dish of one square kilometre. Comprising around 3,000 dishes reaching 3,000 kilometres from a central core, three antenna types will provide continuous frequency coverage from 70 MHz to 10 GHz, in order to meet the science demands of the project.

SKA will use technology already demonstrated by pathfinder projects such as LOFAR, the Low Frequency Array, which is spread across the Netherlands and northern Europe, but the enormity of SKA requires many new technology considerations. Kramer reports that the SKA will produce on the order of one exabyte of data per day, enough raw data to fill 15 million 64 GB iPods, and more than all the information collected by humankind so far.

The location of the 1.5 billion euro project will be announced by the SKA Site Selection Group in the next two weeks, and will take into account physical characteristics of the site, power supply and distribution, and the long term sustainability of the sites as radio quiet zones.

Stay tuned to for future updates.

The Planets
From tiny Mercury to distant Neptune and Pluto, The Planets profiles each of the Solar System's members in depth, featuring the latest imagery from space missions. The tallest mountains, the deepest canyons, the strongest winds, raging atmospheric storms, terrain studded with craters and vast worlds of ice are just some of the sights you'll see on this 100-page tour of the planets.

Hubble Reborn
Hubble Reborn takes the reader on a journey through the Universe with spectacular full-colour pictures of galaxies, nebulae, planets and stars as seen through Hubble's eyes, along the way telling the dramatic story of the space telescope, including interviews with key scientists and astronauts.

3D Universe
Witness the most awesome sights of the Universe as they were meant to be seen in this 100-page extravaganza of planets, galaxies and star-scapes, all in 3D!


© 2014 Pole Star Publications Ltd.