SKA constructs radio telescopes, looking deep into universe

With communication and funding, the SKA Organisation began the process of building radio telescopes in hopes of expanding our knowledge of the universe.


Aiming to create more jobs and discover unknown parts of the universe, construction of the largest and farthest-seeing radio telescopes has commenced across the globe after 30 years of intergovernmental planning.
Construction has begun on a new group of radio telescope arrays that is called the Square Kilometer Array Observatory (SKAO), with the arrays housed in Australia and South Africa.
These are set to be the largest radio telescopes ever built.
Additionally, they are capable of seeing farther into the universe than any other preceding radio telescopes.
Radio telescopes differ from the more commonly known Hubble and James Webb telescopes, which are reflecting telescopes located in space.
“Radio telescopes are designed to gather and focus radio waves coming from various sources in space, which include certain galaxies and nebulae, pulsars and many others,” science teacher Kristi Ansert said.
Ansert teaches the high school’s astronomy course.

According to Ansert, some also believe that “intelligent life beyond Earth may also use radio waves to signal their existence, as
we have as a civilization.”
The SKAO is considered “unprecedented” in the world of radio telescopes.

“SKAO is unprecedented in terms of its footprint across the globe. Scientists have used individual radio telescopes positioned across the globe to work together to view distant objects in space before, but the SKAO will be comprised of two different array sites, SKA-Low and SKA-Mid, arranged on two different continents,” Ansert said.
SKA Organisation Council chairperson Catherine Cesarsky feels the same way.
“The SKA telescopes will truly revolutionize our understanding of the universe,” Cesarsky said. “They will allow us to study its evolution and some of its most mysterious phenomena in unprecedented detail, and that’s really exciting for the scientific community.”
According to the SKA Organisation, some of the radio telescope dishes from both locations can work together and function as one large telescope.
These unprecedented telescope arrays can show scientists more of the universe that went previously unseen, due to their ability to function as one large telescope.
“Having a single-structure telescope this large is impractical and impossible, but manipulating the SKA sites to act like this allows for the study of extremely distant objects in space, allowing us to peer back into our universe’s infancy,” Ansert said.
To avoid signal disruption, the SKAO telescopes are being built in secluded locations, which happen to be around local indigenous communities.
The SKA Organisation is working to include locals in the telescopes’ construction processes as a way to create more jobs.
“We are about to begin building the world’s largest radio telescopes, and here in Australia, we are doing it with the support and close cooperation of some of the oldest astronomers in the world, the Wajarri people,” SKA-Low site construction director Antony Schinckel said. “I am excited to start constructing the SKA-Low telescope on this ancient land, so ideally suited for radio astronomy.”
According to SKA Organisation Director General Philip Diamond, major projects like these telescopes require many years of planning and preparation before construction can begin.
“I am ecstatic. This moment has been 30 years in the making,” Diamond said. “Today, humankind is taking another giant leap by committing to build what will be the largest science facility of its kind on the planet, not just one but the two largest and most complex radio telescope networks, designed to unlock some of the most fascinating secrets of our Universe.”