Official opening of the SKA’s Global HQ

It’s an exciting week for two of our neighbours; today the Global HQ of The SKA (Square Kilometre Array) officially opens in the grounds of JBO……hot on the heels of Jodrell Bank Observatory gaining UNESCO World Heritage status. (With bluedot Festival next week)h

Close to 200 guests attended the event including representatives from across the SKA’s many partner countries. The event included a ceremonial handover, with a commemorative key made from an original panel from the Lovell – the key having an etching on it of a trace taken on the Lovell of the first pulsar co-discovered by Prof. Dame Jocelyn Burnell, the renowned astrophysicist Prof. Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell, who gave the keynote speech.

Panoramic view of the completed SKA GHQ at Jodrell Bank. Credit: SKAO/Juande Santander-Vela

‘Operated by a partnership of countries from across the world, the GHQ will be the home of the SKA Observatory, only the second intergovernmental organisation to be dedicated to astronomy in the world. It will eventually house up to 150 international staff leading the SKA project and allow to remotely monitor the status of the SKA telescopes 24/7 from its Operations Monitoring Centre. Considered a nexus for astrophysics in the 21st century, the facility will facilitate a global collaboration in radio astronomy, receiving prestigious international visitors and experts.

The SKA project is an international effort to build the world’s largest radio telescope, led by the SKA Organisation – soon to become the SKA Observatory. The SKA telescopes will be constructed in Australia and South Africa; with a later expansion in both countries and into other African countries. It will address fundamental gaps in our understanding of the Universe.

The Square Kilometre Array (SKA) project is an international effort to build the world’s largest radio telescope, with eventually over a square kilometre (one million square metres) of collecting area. The scale of the SKA represents a huge leap forward in both engineering and research & development towards building and delivering a unique instrument, with the detailed design and preparation now well under way. As one of the largest scientific endeavours in history, the SKA will bring together a wealth of the world’s finest scientists, engineers and policy makers to bring the project to fruition.

Unprecedented Scale

The SKA will eventually use thousands of dishes and up to a million low-frequency antennas that will enable astronomers to monitor the sky in unprecedented detail and survey the entire sky much faster than any system currently in existence.

Its unique configuration will give the SKA unrivalled scope in observations, largely exceeding the image resolution quality of the Hubble Space Telescope.

It will also have the ability to image huge areas of sky in parallel a feat which no survey telescope has ever achieved on this scale with this level of sensitivity. With a range of other large telescopes in the optical and infra-red being built and launched into space over the coming decades, the SKA will perfectly augment, complement and lead the way in scientific discovery.’ More….SKA organisation

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