Science Buzz

Square Kilometre Array — world’s largest radio telescope project

Square Kilometre Array radio telescopes

The Square Kilometre Array (SKA) project is a group of radio telescopes operating out of South Africa and Australia, with its headquarters at the Jodrell Bank Observatory in the U.K.

The SKA project will study the Milky Way in great detail. Since our home galaxy’s view is better from the Southern Hemisphere, the arrays are being constructed there. 

The telescopes will scan the skies faster than any of its kind, mapping out all visible galaxies up till the edge of the universe in more detail than ever before. Survey data from SKA will provide insights into the early days of evolution of our galaxy. The telescope, expected to begin operations by 2029, will also search for signs of life beyond Earth by looking for planets that orbit stars in habitable zones. 

In total, the SKA telescope arrays will comprise 197 large parabolic mid-frequency radio antennae in South Africa and 131,072 low-frequency antennae in Australia.
The SKA will be the most powerful telescope ever built, and one of the world’s largest collaborative research projects with 16 consortium members, thousands of researchers and the world’s fastest supercomputers.

The Indian Pathfinder research partner for the SKA project is Pune’s Giant Metrewave Radio Telescope, operated by the National Centre for Radio Astrophysics (NCRA) of Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR). The SKA India consortium consists of over 20 colleges and universities across India that will participate in the SKA project.