CSIRO and the Square Kilometre Array

The Square Kilometre Array is a global science and engineering project to build the world's largest radio telescope, and we're helping to design it.

We’ve been involved in the Square Kilometre Array since its inception. Now, we’re working in partnership with industry, science organisations and governments both locally and internationally to design it.

An artist's impression of the Square Kilometre Array's antennas in Australia. © SKA Organisation

What is the Square Kilometre Array?

The Square Kilometre Array, or SKA, is a next-generation radio telescope that will be vastly more sensitive than the best present-day instruments. It will give astronomers remarkable insights into the formation of the early Universe, including the emergence of the first stars, galaxies and other structures.

Consisting of thousands of antennas linked together by high bandwidth optical fibre, the SKA will require new technologies and progress in fundamental engineering. The telescope’s design and development is being led by the international SKA Organisation, a not-for-profit company that has its headquarters in Manchester, UK.

In May 2012, the SKA Organisation announced that the SKA will be located across two main sites: the CSIRO-run Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory and surrounding Australian Radio-Quiet Zone (WA), and southern Africa.

Developing new technologies for ASKAP

We’re developing the Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder, or ASKAP, radio telescope at the Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory. As well as carrying out cutting-edge science in its own right, ASKAP is allowing us to test new technologies for the SKA.

Designing the future of radio astronomy

We’re playing a key role in designing the SKA through several research and development consortia:

  • We lead the largest consortium, SKA Dish Array, which is responsible for designing the SKA antenna dishes and receivers, and the development of specialised receivers called phased array feeds.
  • We also lead the Infrastructure Australia Consortium, which is in charge of designing and costing critical SKA infrastructure at the Australian SKA site.
  • We are a key partner in the Assembly, Integration and Verification Consortium, and involved in several other SKA consortia.

Collaborating for the SKA

Australia is one of 11 SKA Organisation member countries. Along with the Australian, New Zealand, and Western Australian Governments, CSIRO is a principal partner in Australia’s involvement in the SKA. We’re also working closely with industry to provide innovative, cost-effective solutions for both ASKAP and the SKA.

We acknowledge the Wajarri Yamatji people as the traditional owners of the Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory site.

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