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India's Role in SKA: World's Largest Radio Telescope



  Feb 01, 2024

The Square Kilometre Array: India’s Role in the World’s Largest Radio Telescope



The Square Kilometre Array (SKA) is an ambitious international endeavor to create the world’s largest radio telescope. India’s recent commitment of Rs 1,250 crore highlights its significant role in this global project. Here’s an overview of the SKA and India’s contribution:

Overview of the Square Kilometre Array

Location and Structure: The SKA is set to be built in Australia and South Africa, comprised of two separate arrays operating across different radio frequencies. The project’s headquarters are located at the Jodrell Bank Observatory in the UK. Phases of Construction: Construction began in December 2022 with SKA1 and is expected to be operational by 2029. Capabilities: Once operational, the SKA will be the most powerful telescope, outperforming its predecessors in speed and detail, offering unprecedented insights into the universe.

India’s Contribution and Role

Monetary Investment: India’s investment of Rs 1,250 crore demonstrates its commitment to this international project. Research Collaboration: Indian institutes are playing a crucial role in the pre-construction phase and will be integral in the SKA project’s research efforts. Indian Pathfinder: The Giant Metrewave Radio Telescope, operated by Pune’s National Centre for Radio Astrophysics, serves as a significant research partner.

Scientific Objectives of SKA

Exploration of the Universe: The telescope will map galaxies at the edge of the observable universe, providing insights into galaxy formation and evolution. Studying Cosmic Phenomena: SKA will focus on the ‘Dark Ages’ of the universe, dark matter, and dark energy, enhancing our understanding of these mysterious aspects. Search for Extraterrestrial Life: Part of its mission includes searching for life beyond Earth by analyzing habitable zones around distant stars.

Global Collaboration

Consortium Members: The project involves 16 countries, each contributing to different aspects of the telescope’s development and research. Extended Network: Additional dishes are planned in neighboring African countries to improve data accuracy and resolution.

Design and Appearance of SKA

Construction Sites:

The sites will feature an array of parabolic radio dishes and unique dipole antennae, designed to pick up faint radio signals from distant cosmic sources. Components: The SKA will consist of 197 parabolic antennae in South Africa and over 130,000 low-frequency antennae in Australia, strategically placed to maximize signal detection.

The SKA project, with its state-of-the-art design and international collaboration, including India’s pivotal role, is poised to revolutionize our understanding of the universe.

SRIRAM’s


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