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Australia and India collaborate on world's largest telescope project

Source: SKA CC BY 3.0

The Square Kilometre Array project is an international effort to create the largest telescope in the world.

Australia and India have come together to work on world's largest radio telescope being constructed in Australia and South Africa.

The Square Kilometre Array (SKA) project is an international effort to build the world’s largest radio telescope, led by the SKA Organisation based at the Jodrell Bank Observatory near Manchester, UK. 

The SKA is a collection of telescopes, called an array, to be spread over long distances which will be constructed in Australia and South Africa; with a later expansion in both countries and into other African countries.

Twelve countries including Australia, Canada, China, France, India, Italy, the Netherlands, New Zealand, South Africa, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom are currently involved in this project.

Some of the world’s finest scientists, engineers and policymakers and more than 100 companies and research institutions have come together for the design and development of this telescope.

Work on the architectural design of a fundamental part of the software for the Square Kilometre Array: the nervous system of the Observatory, called the Telescope Manager, was formally concluded earlier this month by the Indian-led international Telescope Manager (TM) consortium. 

The international consortium was led by India’s National Centre for Radio Astrophysics (NCRA) and comprised of nine institutions in seven countries.

TM Consortium Lead Professor Yashwant Gupta from NCRA "sincerely thanked all the members of the international team for their hard work over the past few years that made it possible to achieve this important milestone."

The consortium was formed in November 2013 and was tasked with designing the crucial software that will control, monitor and operate the SKA telescopes. TM brought expertise in the field of Monitoring and Control for large-scale, complex systems and design of user interface experience.

SKA Project

Professor Yashwant Gupta told SBS Hindi that SKA will be the most powerful telescope in the world when it is ready.

"The intention is to make a radio telescope that is 10-30 times more powerful than the current radio telescopes that are present around the world so that we can study the universe in more detail. This is such a big telescope that one country alone could not have been able to make it that’s why this is an international collaboration."

"Whenever we make a newer, more powerful telescope, we discover things about the universe which were beyond our imagination. This is also called serendipitous discovery. So even that possibility is there. Astronomers around the world are hoping that when SKA is completely ready it will revolutionize the world of astronomy."   

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