Expert commentary about Australia today completing ratification of the SKA Observatory Convention, making Australia’s involvement in the world’s largest science facility official.

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This significant milestone paves the way for the establishment of the SKA Observatory, the intergovernmental organisation responsible for building and operating the world-leading SKA radio telescopes.

Ratification affirms Australia's support for the project and is the culmination of many years of work. Australia was selected as the host country for the low frequency part of the SKA in 2012.

Dr Douglas Bock, Director of CSIRO Astronomy and Space Science, and Australia's science representative on the Square Kilometre Array Board said:

"The Square Kilometre Array is an international scientific collaboration of global significance and I am looking forward to Australia continuing to be at the forefront of discovery. Australia's ratification of the SKA Convention is a crucial step towards the formation of the SKA. CSIRO is proud that our Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory will host the low-frequency SKA telescope on behalf of the SKA Observatory."

Dr Sarah Pearce, Deputy Director of CSIRO Astronomy and Space Science and Australia's chief science negotiator of the international SKA Convention, said:

"This is a truly exciting day for Australian science. We started negotiating the SKA Convention five years ago, and it's been a real privilege working with our partners worldwide to reach this important milestone."

Australia has now joined South Africa, Italy and The Netherlands as Convention signatories. Once the United Kingdom completes its ratification process, the SKA Observatory will be created and can approve the final telescope designs.

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Images

  • An artist's impression of the future Square Kilometre Array (SKA) in Australia, showing 132,000 low frequency antennas (resembling metal Christmas trees) in groupings across the outback in Western Australia.

    An artist’s impression of the future Square Kilometre Array (SKA) in Australia. Up to 132,000 low frequency antennas (resembling metal Christmas trees) will be built at CSIRO’s Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory in outback Western Australia  ©SKA Organisation

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Gabby Russell

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