The construction of the largest observatory in the world has begun. It will be able to provide scientists with more detailed images than Hubble.
Engineers have begun construction of the Square Kilometer Array (SKA) Observatory, which is set to become the largest radio telescope in the world. Preparations for its design have been going on for almost 30 years. The work will be carried out at two sites in Australia and South Africa, where separate parts of the radio telescope network will appear.
The telescope can detect radio signals over a wide frequency range from 70 MHz. Its total area of observation will be one square kilometer. Instead of operating with one large antenna, it will consist of a precisely engineered network of antennas spread across two sites. The SKA-Mid array, which will be located in the Karoo Desert in South Africa, will use 197 antennas, each 15 meters in diameter, for listening to the mid-frequency bands. The SKA-Low array listening to the lower frequency bands will consist of 131,000 antennas located in western Australia north of Perth.
“Today, humanity is making another giant leap forward, committing itself to building the largest scientific facility on the planet. It is not one, but two of the largest and most sophisticated radio telescopes designed to reveal some of the most fascinating mysteries of our universe, ”the scientists said in a statement.
The array will be able to detect objects that are at such a distance that radio waves will take 13 billion years to reach Earth. This will allow a glimpse into the earliest stages of the evolution of the Universe.
“The device will play an important role in many areas, including astrophysics, cosmology and fundamental physics,” said the researchers. “It will be able to answer some unresolved questions about the evolution of galaxies and provide a unique opportunity to begin studying the source material underlying the formation and evolution of objects.”
SKA will be able to provide higher-quality images than the Hubble Space Telescope.